Chef Q&A: Thai Bistro’s Lada Sripinyo
Years ago when our family moved from New York to Michigan a friend told us we had to try the Thai Bistro in Canton. Italian food. Chinese food. Mexican food. Japanese food. I’d already learned that I liked to sample a variety of flavors. But I’d never had Thai fare, with its spicy-sweet sauces, rich curries and tender noodles. The first time we went to Thai Bistro, I ordered the drunken noodles. I was hooked.
The owner and chef of Thai Bistro, Lada Sripinyo moved from Thailand to the U.S. in 1968 and at the urging of a friend opened the restaurant in 1994. “I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” explains Sripinyo. The eatery quickly drew notice and a devoted following in the area. “We opened in February 1994 and by April we were very popular,” she recalls.
For a MKES first, the digital-shy Sripinyo passed along a handwritten recipe for her Thai BBQ ribs.
What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?
Chile. Red chile, onion, garlic.
Your favorite meal to make or serve?
My favorite is ga poa guy because it’s a little spicy and it tastes really good. It’s very popular here at the restaurant.
We all have a favorite indulgence, for a foodie like you it must be something spectacular?
Dark chocolate. Not in ice cream. Either in a bar or a box, I just like dark chocolate.
What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?
I don’t know. Maybe once when I made a stir-fry and I put too much salt in it and it was way too salty. I didn’t even let people try it. I tried it and then just threw it out.
There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?
What do you suggest for first-timers to Thai Bistro? What menu item should they make sure to try?
If they like noodles then the pad thai—it’s a little sweet and it’s very popular here. You can choose whether you want it mild or spicy. If you like something with rice than the ga poa guy is very good and spicy. It comes with chicken, Thai basil, red pepper. The eggplant stir-fry with shrimp is very good too.