The Thai New Year will make a splash all the way from Northern Thailand to two exotic restaurants in Kihei and Kahului.
Thailand Cuisine's owners, Kong and Vanh Lavongtheung, will be ready for the traditionally wet-and-wild celebration, known as the Songkran Festival.
"It's a big, four-day water fight," says Vanh. "In Northern Thailand, they close all of the streets and all the people celebrate and squirt each other with water pistols."
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Alex Wong and Vanh Lavongtheung of Thailand Cuisine restaurants in Kihei and Kahului will offer lots of tempting cuisine for Thai New Year from Tuesday to Friday.
But at the couple's restaurants at the Maui Mall in Kahului and the Kukui Mall in Kihei, it will be a dryer affair.
"This year, we'll celebrate in Kihei by offering complimentary Thai spring rolls when you dine for lunch or dinner," says Vanh, "In Kahului, we will offer special desserts."
Walk into either restaurant and your taste buds and senses will be transported straight into the Thai rain forest. First, you'll be intoxicated with heady aromas of tamarind, lemongrass, coconut, chilies, garlic and ginger.
Then your senses will be heightened further by the authentic Thai outfits worn by the staff and the rich wood veneers, artifacts and memorabilia that fill the rooms.
"We grow all of our own herbs at home," says Vanh. "Our Thai menu features healthy and fresh vegetables and lettuces, too."
Remember, Thai cuisine may be ordered mild, medium or spicy. Those who prefer it hot know that cucumber slices work as a cooling agent as do imported Thai beers, wine and Thai iced tea with sweetened condensed milk.
Angel wings are a popular appetizer. Deboned chicken wings are stuffed with carrots, onions, bean thread noodles, shiitake mushrooms and kaffir lime leaves, then deep fried and dipped in sweet and sour sauce.
Personal favorite appetizers are the tender satay on bamboo skewers dipped in Thai peanut sauce; Siam toast mounded with a mixture of crab and ground pork; and green mussels delight, steamed to perfection.
Lovers of Thai curries may choose from green, yellow, red, Matsaman or Panang versions with proteins from chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or fish in the mix.
Yum Nuer is a house specialty salad of grilled sliced beef seasoned with kaffir lime leaves and mint, which you wrap in butter lettuce leaves like a Thai burrito.
Thai red curry duck is fragrant with fresh basil, coconut milk, bamboo shoots and red peppers. And vegetarians will find over 20 entree choices to get their fill. Can't decide what to order? Try the family dinner selections.
And, top it all off with house-made coconut ice cream, or fried bananas wrapped in pastry drizzled with honey. Just leave your water pistols at home and "Thai one on" dry.