The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 137
Ironically, pad thai isn't considered food in Thailand.
"Wait a minute," I say to Lenoel, confused. "What
do you mean, pad thai isn't food?"
"No. Not food," she laughs at my dumbstruck expression. "It's street food. It's more like a snack. We get pad
thai from street vendors and it's only like three bites! But
here, pad thai is famous. American people love it. I don't
understand why!" She laughs again, shaking her head.
Food or no food, Red Jasmine's pad thai is famous in
the valley, winning platinum for Best Pad Thai in last
year's Roanoker Magazine Dining Awards. My husband,
a self-proclaimed pad thai connoisseur, proclaims Red
Jasmine's pad thai some of the best he's eaten since his
days as a medical student living in St. Louis, where we
dined weekly at The King and I, an epic Thai restaurant
on Grand Street.
While Lenoel is proud of her pad thai, she loves when
customers branch out and experience the breadth of
her homeland's offerings. I personally enjoy the creamy,
tropics-inspired Masaman Curry with chicken-one of
Red Jasmine's mild curry options, and Excited Chicken-a bounty of fresh vegetables (grown and given by
local customers when in season) with tender chicken in
a well-balanced, mildly-spiced sauce.
One of my spice-loving foodie friends says his favorites include Chicken Satay, Amazing Duck, Green
Curry and Thai Silk noodles. He cites with each dish
similar sentiments to mine about Red Jasmine's dishes:
food cooked to perfection, sauces that delight, with ingredients chosen and prepared perfectly for soaking up
flavors. He calls it "Thai comfort food." I agree.
Red Jasmine celebrated its 10-year anniversary this
spring. Lenoel says she's feeling established, citing her
loyal customers who have made Red Jasmine the success it is.
"I think I broke the curse," she says and smiles.
Sun - Thur: Lunch 11:30 - 4pm; Dinner 4 - 9pm
Fri - Sat: Lunch 11:30 - 4pm; Dinner 4 - 10pm
210 S. Pollard Street, Vinton, VA 24179
Top: Owner Phasook "Noot" Lenoel. Lower: Golden Bags appetizer.
JULY/AUGUST 2017 | 105