(Tomy Thai has changed owners and moved to 1736 State of Franklin, across from Earth Fare, in Johnson City TN)
After exploring history in Northeast Tennessee, head over to Johnson City (was Kingsport) to one of the best restaurants in the entire Tri-Cites area!
Tomy Thai opened up about the same time we moved to the area. California natives, we were used to great food, fabulous restaurants and people with a passion for food.
Truly great ethnic food is a rarity in the Southeast, and has often left us hankering for home, until we walked in to Tomy Thai. From the moment you enter, the friendly staff, cranberry walls, beautiful interior and gleaming granite tables tell you this restaurant is going to be different.
Owner Touty Oudom is a delightful whirlwind of energy. She is quick to tell you that everyone who walks into Tomy Thai should be treated like family, just like she invited you over to her house for dinner. She would like to bring the big city into the small town.
Touty is brimming with enthusiasm for great Thai food, in fact, she loves food beautifully prepared with thought and flavor. She has taken her mothers recipes and included them in the Tomy Thai menu. The first few months they were open, her mom came to the restaurant daily and made sure that the delicate Thai dishes were prepared properly.
Authentic Thai food is an art. All food is prepared fresh daily, with vegetables and meats being ordered almost daily. Every dish is prepared from scratch and there is absolutely no MSG or preservatives in anything served. Nothing frozen or canned either, just fresh ingredients, prepared in a healthy manner (well, unless you are deep frying it!)
We arrived on a warm winter night after visiting museums in Southwest Virginia (about an hour away). We sat down with menu, determined to break out of our mold. If we go without curry too long, we find we crave it. We had determined to only get ONE curry dish tonight, and try some other dishes our LivingHistorySites.com would to read a review on.
We settled on the Vegetable Rolls for an appetizer. Each day, Tomy's makes over 100 spring rolls by hand, with freshly made ingredients. Served with Tomy Thai's sweet sauce, they are lightly fried little pieces of perfection. Garnished with a pretty cucumber and carrot slivers, we wolfed these down. Excellent!
Touty also brought us out her special Crab Rangoon. Wow! Beautifully presented wonton skins stuffed with real crabmeat, carrots, scallions and cream cheese, and served again with the sweet sauce. Delicious!
Next came our entrees. With the help of our server, and asking him what the most popular dishes are, we settled on Spicy Fried Rice and chose chicken. Each entree allows you to decide between vegetable, tofu, chicken, pork, beef, duck or shrimp. The Spicy Fried Rice was excellent, with touches of chili paste, garlic, egg, onions, scallions and tomatoes. We ordered it mild, but found we loved adding generous spoonfuls of the chili paste on it. The longer we live in Tennessee, the more we crave hot food!
Of the curry selections, we went back and forth before ordering Phanaeng Curry. Be still my heart. Tomy Thai makes one of the BEST curries in all of the United States. Delicately flavored curry in a rich, creamy coconut milk with spices, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, string beans, bell peppers, peas and carrots. Served with brown or white rice, the Phanaeng Curry is a dish that is pure comfort food. Every bite is soothing and delicious and pure joy, if food can inspire joy! For us, it is a taste of home that is actually better than what we ate back home!
We also tried an entree, the Phat Pek Borapa, which is Stir Fried Sweet Basil with beef.The entrees also come in the meats listed above, plus scallops and calamari. We opted for the beef, sauteed with basil, hot and spicy paste, onions, little button mushrooms, along with red and green peppers. Served with rice, it was delicious. We had ordered it mild and found we really liked spooning the chili paste on it, heightening the heat without killing the delicate flavor.
By this time we were utterly stuffed, but Touty brought out her special Fried Bananas with Honey for us to try. Topped with with cream and drizzled lightly with honey, the fried bananas were an unusual treat that was the perfect end to the ultimate comfort food!
LivingHistorySites.com highly recommends trying Tomy Thai in Johnson City, Tennessee, it is in our top restaurants in all of the Tri-Cities area! Race fans here for the Bristol Motor Speedway, anyone exploring history in Northeast Tennessee, and folks visiting the beautiful Tri-Cities area should make it a point to visit Tomy Thai. And tell them the folks at LivingHistorySites.com sent you!
Tomy Thai 1736 State of Franklin, Ste 4, across from Earth Fare, in Johnson City TN, 37604