I enjoyed a wonderful meal with a friend on a recent Friday evening at a family-owned Thai restaurant in Kingsport. The eatery, Thai Noodle Town, is tucked into a strip mall at Exit 1 off of Interstate 26, just off Stone Drive in Kingsport. Getting into the parking lot from Stone Drive can be a little confusing, so just keep that in mind.
The restaurant’s dining area, which is arranged around an open, corner kitchen area, offers a decidedly casual, home-like feel and permits diners to watch the progress in the preparation of their food. The kitchen bar is painted bright lime green and the dining area walls are powder blue. Seating is available at tables. Decorative touches include whimsical mobiles featuring little multi-colored elephants and beads. Interesting fabric hangings and travel posters depicting Thai scenes are displayed on the walls. We found out later that one of the women working at the restaurant created the beautiful embroidered and quilted wall hangings. There’s even a woven-rattan takraw ball, used in a foot-volleyball-like sport popular in Thailand, suspended from the ceiling for ornamental purposes among several mobiles. A shelf behind the kitchen counter also displays a collection of elephant figurines, which are symbols of strength and wisdom in Thai culture.
We began the meal with some appetizers. Available options include Spring Rolls, Satay Chicken, Crab Rangoon, Tofu Triangle, Fresh Summer Rolls, Shrimp Wraps and Pork Dumplings. We chose the Fresh Summer Rolls and Chicken Satay.
The Fresh Summer Rolls provided a delightful start to the visit. These treats feature shrimp, lettuce, green apple, pineapple, celery, cilantro, carrots and mint and basil leaves enclosed in rice wrappers and served with a delicious sweet chili dipping sauce. The crispy green apple and fresh mint really gave this appetizer a little something extra that helped it really stand out.
We also enjoyed the Chicken Satay, which featured three skewers of marinated grilled chicken served with a tasty Peanut Dipping Sauce.
With these morsels to whet our appetites, we turned our attention to the restaurant’s selection of entrees. We also asked our server for his personal recommendations. He was a little hesitant, but we did manage to coax some suggestions from him.
The menu features warm salads, soups, noodles, curries and pan-fried dishes. Some of the selections that temped me included the Larb Chicken, which is minced chicken with roasted rice powder, lime juice, chili and Thai herbs served on a bed of lettuce, as well as the Pad Thai, which is stir-fried rice noodles with homemade tamarind sauce, egg and green onions.
Finding myself in a mood for some spice, I focused on the curries. Those listed on the menu include Red, Green, Massaman and Panang. I chose the Green Curry with Chicken.
My friend contemplated dishes such as the Drunken Noodles and the Pla Sam Rod, which is a deep-fried fish topped with ginger, bell peppers, pineapple, onions, scallion, carrot and sweet chili sauce, before he ordered the Thai-style Fried Rice with chicken, egg, carrots, green cabbage, onions and green onions.
The restaurant is family-owned and operated, and each meal is made from scratch, so do allow some extra time for preparation. We filled in the time by ordering soups to enjoy as we waited for our main dishes. I chose the Tom Yum Goong, which is a hot and sour coconut soup with shrimp spiced with lemongrass and lime juice. My friend chose the Tom Kha Gai, which is a chicken coconut soup with galangal (a spice in the ginger family), lemongrass and lime juice.
We both thought the soups tasted fantastic. They were full-bodied, bursting with flavor and quite aromatic as well. Both were garnished with some fresh herbs. We enjoyed every last spoonful while waiting for our meals to arrive.
My Green Curry offered a wealth of flavors, but the spice wasn’t at all overpowering. The dish featured tender chicken, bamboo shoots, peppercorns, carrots, bell pepper and basil sauteed with coconut milk and a green curry paste. This curry is served with a mound of white rice.
My dining companion’s Thai-style Fried Rice was a hearty dish made with chicken, egg, carrots, green cabbage, onions and green onions. Many of the dishes at Thai Noodle Town can also be prepared with shrimp, beef or pork, as well as chicken.
We both enjoyed our first visit to Thai Noodle House and hope to make returns in the future. With food this good, it’s definitely worth the drive to Kingsport. If you go, please let them know they were recommended.
AT A GLANCE: Thai Noodle Town, 800 Stonegate Road, Kingsport. 765-0614. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Entrees $10.95 and under. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available.