Across the street from Flying Star Café on Menaul is a humble little Thai restaurant with bright, fresh food and distinctively friendly service. This week I had the opportunity to chat with the enthusiastic owner, Peerayut “Gol Gol” Prasomphon.
What does the word Krung mean?
It's an ancient word that means city.
Ah, where are you from, I mean where did you grow up?
Thailand. I'm from the Northeastern part of the country.
Is the food different there from say, Bangkok?
Where I'm from we have an influence from Laos. Northeastern food is one of the most famous [regional styles]. I think it's tastier. We have a lot of salads. We use a lot of sticky rice.
What makes your restaurant different from other Thai restaurants in Albuquerque?
What I try to focus on is, I try to be relaxed, to treat customers like a family. Our decorations here are more like a home. Our food is great. The other chef and I we have 15 years experience. I believe that our customer service is good too. I think that's what sets us apart.
Are you new to Albuquerque?
I've been here for awhile. My brother Phonlawat and I came here in 1992 as students. We liked it and we just decided to stay. I married a girl from Laos but she's been here all her life. I used to be a restaurant manager and cooked at the Hawaiian restaurant. My other chef worked at some other Thai restaurants.
Which dishes on the menu are you most proud of?
The pad thai and the chicken satay—it's our own special recipe. Also, our catfish curry. And now we have a salmon curry, too.
How long have you been open.
We opened on New Years Eve.
It took me a while but I finally ate at Krung Thai last week. I loved your coconut ice cream with sticky rice and roasted peanuts. Do you make that ice cream yourself?
We special-order it from California.
Putting it together with sticky rice and peanuts, is that traditional?
Yes. We mix the rice with coconut milk and cook it with some sugar. A lot of people don't know how to make sticky rice but there's a special way to do it. If you do it wrong, it'll be loose. We steam it.
One last question: How did you get your nickname, "Gol Gol?"
A friend of mine called me that after a cartoon character and everybody else started calling me that too.