Cafe Reviews

Chanpen Thai Cuisine Comes Back to the Valley: This Time, to South Phoenix (Ready or Not)

If Chanpen seems like the only Thai restaurant in South Phoenix, it's probably because it is.

See also: - Muy Gigante: La Merced Supersizes It in Mesa - Federal Pizza: Empire-Building on Central Avenue

At one time, the restaurant was in Glendale. That is, until owner and chef Chanpen Ramonaitis (whose Thai name is Tuk) was called back to her home outside of Bangkok and was forced to sell it. But recently, Chanpen's come back to the U.S.; and she's re-established her home of satisfying classic Thai dishes and signature creations in a location where most folks ask for sweet-and-sour chicken, not papaya salad.

Sounds like school's in session -- Thai cuisine style.

Here's an excerpt from this week's review:

"Given Chanpen's talents in the kitchen, few entrées on the menu fail to satisfy. But if you've come to Chanpen, you've come for the specials, more unique offerings and improvised dishes listed behind the counter and changed weekly. There may be a simple but satisfying eggplant stir-fry, in which large pieces of the dark purple and delicately sweet vegetable mix with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and basil in a garlic-heavy sauce; or Chanpen's version of drunken noodles, the Chinese-influenced stir-fried and distinctively spicy noodle dish which, interestingly enough, she makes with spaghetti.

'It's usually made with rice noodles,' says Alan, 'but the less-sturdy spaghetti makes it taste like a spicy chow mein.'"

Hungry for more? Read my full review of Chanpen Thai Cuisine in South Phoenix.

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