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A Taste of Thai Fusion in Boise

Serving up authentic fresh ingredients of Asian food with a twist

Article by Shelly West

Photography by B & B Artistry

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall in Boise, once you step inside Taste Asian Fusion Bistro located at 1473 S. Five Mile Road, you are instantly transported to another land that is bursting with complex medleys of flavors.

Taste Boise isn’t just about the flavor though, it's about the experience.

Officially opened earlier this year, Taste is the third restaurant that co-owners Fon Tavijaroen and Toffee Dullaphan operate in the Boise metro area.

Having graduated with her master's degree in Boston, Fon traveled to Idaho to visit her cousin Toffee, who lived in Nampa and instantly fell in love with Boise. It was then that she decided that she, too, wanted to make this area her home. In 2004, they found the perfect spot to open a business in Meridian. That area was good for the entrepreneurs because 16 years ago, Meridian didn’t have any Thai restaurants.

Seeing an opportunity to grow a business in the Meridian community, the two created Sa-Wad-Dee Thai restaurant located at 1890 E. Fairview Avenue. The menu, which was created by Toffee Dullaphan, offers authentic Thai food with a bit of a twist as Fon explains, “Sa Wad Dee is authentic Thai food and the only Thai restaurant in Meridian, and we keep adding more like a sushi bar and a full cocktail bar. Because we love sushi, we figured why not add Thai sushi to the menu.”

Many years later, the two found a second location in Eagle and opened Rice, which is located at 228 E. Plaza Drive. Here, they still offer authentic Thai food, but again, with their own version, Fon says, “We offer a fusion of all Asian food because the year we opened Rice, fusion was a trend that we have continued by also offering Indian flavors.”

She continues to add, “Two years ago, we had the opportunity to open Taste in Boise. We kept the same concept as Rice, but with even more of a twist than rice, with the fusion Asian food and more modern variations.  This means that we wanted to offer something married between Thai and Italian like pasta with Thai basil sauce. The flavors are still there, but we changed the noodles to pasta, which the form or texture is about the same, and it's either pan-fried or put in a sauce. Instead of marinara sauce, we put it with a basil sauce instead.”

The menu is innovative yet still borrows from tradition, and the restaurateurs source the freshest ingredients they can.

For a starter, try the Spicy Shrimp Green Curry Naan Flatbread and is the perfect blend of Italian meets Thai. Follow that starter with the Spaghetti Curry Seafood that includes blue mussels in the shell, prawns, and snow crab on a bed of spaghetti drenched in lemon curry sauce seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and Asian herbs. If you aren’t in a seafood mood, the Vietnamese Pho Soup is an excellent choice. The slow-braised bone-in beef short ribs are served with rice noodles, Thai basil, and meatballs, in a savory broth, garnished with bean sprouts, jalapeno, and a lime wedge. Make sure to save enough room for dessert because Taste’s butter cake is not to be missed. The house-made butter cake is served warm with mango coulis and scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  

At Taste, you will also find offerings such as the Spicy Blackberry Margarita, which highlights a house-made margarita mix, muddled blackberries, Thai chilies, jalapenos, and fresh lime juice. A refreshing drink with a little kick. Another concoction of note is the Chiang Mai Cocktail featuring Elderflower liqueur, Thai basil leaves, and mint. The drinks are imaginative and exotic, which transports you to another place and time, which is especially inviting in a time where traveling to far-away lands is limited.

“When you go out, you're looking for something besides food. You're looking for drinks, fun presentation, and new experiences, not only plain water, iced tea or soda. You want something. Unique or different. Our customers are looking for a presentation that is new and innovative, not every day. So it's something fun because we are not focusing on just going out and eat. But we look to offer experiences as well because people go out to socialize and want the atmosphere as well as culture.” Fon explains.

During this challenging time, Fon and Toffee have been following the CDC recommendations closely. They currently offer limited dine-in seating, take-out, and participate in food ordering services, and if you call once you arrive, they will bring your order out to you.

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