Authentic Dishes, Intimate Dining Define Suwan Thai
By Wendy Pollitzer
March 3, 2011
Last week the Lunch Bunch traveled to the village of Port Royal and ate at one of the best-kept secrets in the Lowcountry…Suwan Thai. Owned and operated by Tassana and John Champatong, Suwan offers authentic Thai entrees prepared with fresh ingredients. And the décor adds to the flavor of the restaurant. If the food isn’t authentic enough, the atmosphere yields a sense of being in the home of the chef. Is there such a description as Victorian Thai? Laura Baker? Carol Waters? If so, then that’s what the interior of Suwan looks like! And it feels so comfy.
John met April first and thought she was a bit of an anomaly. We all know April to be a Meat and Potatoes girl, but John didn’t know that about her upon their first introduction. He then figured she didn’t like to stray much from mainstream cuisine, so he chose a classic Thai, but semi-American dish for her-the Cashew Nut Chicken over Jasmine Rice. He chose correctly, because she loved it!
I asked John to choose for me as well. I wanted something made especially spicy; so he recommended the Green Curry. And, he was right again. In fact, my dish was the favorite of the table! The Green Curry is a definite Must-Have at Suwan!
Barry ordered the Beef Panang, while Pamela opted for the Ginger Chicken, both over Jasmine Rice. They were equally pleased with their selections.
The sisters chose genuine Thai entrees. Kim got the Pad Thai, and Elizabeth asked for the Drunken Noodle. I tasted both, and we all agreed that both were prepared exceptionally well, noting the distinct flavors.
All of our meals were accompanied by Chicken Coconut Soup and a Spring Roll. Come with an empty stomach, because you will leave replete with great food.
We ended the meal with four desserts: homemade coconut and mango ice cream, purple sticky rice and coconut custard on sticky rice-all Must-Haves at Suwan! My goodness, I have never tasted such unique and delectable desserts. If you have a large group, you must get all of these for the table to share!
And I recommend large groups. Suwan is a great place to entertain a supper club or Girls’ Night Out. Just make sure you read the Chalk Board!
When we sit down to a Thai meal, we are experiencing the many different styles and flavors of the country: The curries and seafood of the South; the courtly dishes of the North; the herby, earthy recipes of the Northeast, with their river fish; and the sheer inventiveness of the fertile Central region.
While ninety percent of Thailand’s population is Buddhist, the population of many of the Southern provinces are predominantly Muslim, whose ancestors immigrated into the area from the Indian subcontinent over the past two thousand years. Therefore, of all the regions, the foods here bear closest similarities to Indian food. So southern Thai tends to be heavy, rich, pungent, intense and very hot and spicy. I did a little research, and the variety of Thai cuisine is fascinating.
As we were settling up, Tassana just happened to mention that her son was a celebrity. Get this…He is a mega star in Thailand! He’s on a TV show equivalent toFriends here. His character is like Joey’s. His name is Two Popetorn. Google him; he’s awesome! Tassana joke that he had 900,000 friends on Facebook, and she only has 17. She was a hoot!
Celebrity son aside, John and Tassana Champatong were famous for their cooking and hospitality! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to coming back! Trust me, once you’ve been, you’ll definitely go back for more!
UPDATE: PS- Be sure to try the Oyster Pancake appetizer!!!! Simply Amazing.