Continuing to Prove its Authenticity over the Years
2 min read
In the mood for good Thai food made from recipes perfected over generations? Just visit Lanna Thai, where the menu goes on for miles and the food is so tasty that you’ll come back for more. Originally opened in 1998, Lanna Thai is flourishing under second-generation owner Tana Karnchanakphan, whose parents founded the restaurant because they wanted the tastes of home to be available in Tulsa.
“It just feels like home when you’re able to order what you could have in your grandmother’s kitchen”
The restaurant’s décor reflects that sense of home; the seating is open, breezy and inviting, the service friendly. The decorations consist mainly of Thai pieces that were originally in the Karnchanakphan’s home. There is even an antique Thai wagon decorating the entrance area.
Lanna Thai’s success comes from its authenticity and variety of dishes. Their chef, Benjawan Sangduangdee (aka Chef Ben), hails from Thailand and learned to cook in her family’s home. All the recipes she uses are her own. Everything is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients, and dishes can be designed to any customer’s liking—spice levels, meat choices, vegetarian and vegan options are all available. “You never get bored here because there are so many options,” says Karnchanakphan.
Lanna Thai’s menu reflects every region of Thailand, making it ideal for a food adventurist like me. “There are some dishes that are more adventurous, but at the end of the day we make everything that we would eat at our dinner table, so you really can’t go wrong,” Karnchanakphan assures me. Having eaten their pad Thai many times (it’s excellent, with a delightful blend of peanut sauce and spicy bite), I was glad to sample other dishes they have to offer.
First, I tasted the Yum Yum, a salad of iceberg lettuce, red onion, carrot and cucumber in a lime juice dressing, topped with grilled meat. I opted for their grilled beef, which was well-marinated and juicy. I’d recommend it for days when you want to eat light, or for those who are a little skittish around Asian cooking and want to ease their way into the menu.
I also sampled their Pad Ma-Khuer, a stir-fried oriental eggplant with a choice of meat (I had their chicken, which I highly recommend), bell peppers, tomatoes and sweet basil in a fresh garlic-soybean sauce, served with steamed rice. The eggplant takes on the warm, bright flavor of the sauce and is a tasty treat. It’s one of my favorite dishes at Lanna Thai.
If you like seafood, the Pad Nam-Prik Pao Talay is a delicious combination of scallops, calamari, shrimp, salmon, bell peppers, carrots, onions and sweet basil in Nam-Prik Pao sauce (made with Thai chilis). The scallops were cooked to perfection. The calamari had a firm texture, and it took on the flavor of the sauce. The salmon was a surprisingly nice addition to the shrimp, and the sauce was slightly sweet and tangy, a perfect balance for the seafood.
Lanna Thai encouraged me to top off the meal with dessert and their Thai sweet iced tea—a milky blend much like iced chai. Its sweetness was a pleasant counterpoint to a spicy dish like the Nam-Prik Pao Talay. Dessert was a seasonal sliced mango, sweet and ripe, atop their sweet sticky rice, similar to a coconut-tinged rice pudding. The mild taste was a great way to end the meal.