Authentic Thai food will keep you coming back for more
If you want to enjoy authentic Thai food on Okinawa, Siam in Nanjo City is a good choice.
Restaurant owner Yasushi Inoue and his Thai wife Nok have run the restaurant for 20 years with the goal of inspiring locals with their taste of Thailand dishes.
“We have kept providing an authentic Thai taste, instead of an Okinawan flavor,” Inoue said. “I feel our customers have gradually gotten used to the taste.”
According to Nok, the recipes and cooking techniques they use at Siam are those of her grandfather, who served at Thailand’s Imperial Palace as a food taster. Basically, he tested the food before royalty was served in case someone tried to poison the food.
Her grandfather was also an accomplished cook, and passed on his recipes and cooking secrets to his daughters. Today, Nok and her husband hold the recipes and secrets.
Among Siam’s 24 regular menu items and daily special dishes, “khao phat” (fried rice), “tom yum goong” (shrimp soup), “pad thai” (fried rice noodle), green curry and stir-fried chicken and cashew nut are some of the most popular dishes, according to Inoue.
“Thai dishes can be enjoyed for their hotness, sourness and sweetness all at the same time,” Inoue said. “That is very unique and attractive to customers.”
Siam uses a wide variety of herbs, spices and leaves. A mixture of kaffir lime, Thai lime and lemongrass is used Siam’s tom yum goong soup and green curry to make the dishes aromatic and spicy. Fresh Thai basil is also used to add fragrance in the green curry.
Inoue pointed out that the herbs they use are cultivated in their home garden, and vegetables are bought daily from Okinawan farmers.
The restaurant can seat 32 people. However, Inoue said that since the restaurant is very popular among locals, it is often fully occupied after its opening at 11:30 a.m.
“More than 80 percent of our customers are local repeaters,” Inoue said. “I think people feel at home and special in our restaurant.”
As a matter of fact, Inoue said one local has been visiting the restaurant every week for 19 years, ordering yum goong and khao phat every time.
“We are try not to let our customers wait too long, even the shop is fully occupied,” Inoue added.
As Nok speaks English, she can explain the dishes in detail to those in the military community and will take reservations. Nok said that many U.S. service members are repeat customers and they would love to see more.
Despites the popularity, the restaurant is not easy to find as it is situated off the main road.
Use your vehicle navigation or call the restaurant for directions when you reach Nanjo City Hall, City Gymnasium or other landmarks near the restaurant.
Thai Restaurant Siam
OPEN Tue.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 - 10 p.m.
Location: 136-1 Fusato, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City
Website: shamu94.ti-da.net/ (Japanese)
This review was first published on Stripes Okinawa website on Oct. 27, 2015.