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The Taste of Thailand

Silk Thai Restaurant brings authentic Thai cuisine to Hagerstown.

By Beth Vollmer and photos by Ashley Bailey Photography

It has become widely known that Thai food is both healthy and delicious because it contains rice, vegetables, meat, and very little oil. Here in Washington County, tasting the authentic, savory delicacies of Thailand has never been easier than when dining at Silk Thai Restaurant and Bar. Opening in March, the food at Silk Thai offers diners a wonderfully unique experience. The food is cooked to perfection using fresh ingredients purchased from local farmers in the area whenever possible. Some ingredients imported from Thailand are curry paste, fish sauces, and spices that set apart their amazing dishes. Thai cuisine is fresh, aromatic, and savory with the perfect amount of spices, creating a delicious, earthy, and memorable adventure for the palate.

Upon arriving, I was warmly greeted by the owner, TK Chin, and immediately noticed the delicate aroma of freshly cooking basil and sweet Thai cuisine. The walls are decorated with abstract artwork and interesting knick knacks that offer the mind an escape from reality.

I was lucky enough to sample and savor several dishes on my visit to Silk Thai restaurant. I had the pad Thai with shrimp, beef with broccoli, chicken curry, and calamari along with a sweet glass of Thai iced tea. The food was spectacular, fresh, and delectable. As I tasted the chicken curry sauce, I found it had just the right amount of seasoning, making it delightfully light and airy. The pad Thai with shrimp was sweet and savory, and the fresh crustaceans were cooked to tender perfection. The heartier beef and broccoli entree features lean and tender beef accompanied by impeccably cooked broccoli in a light, yet flavorful sauce. The crispy calamari was a party in a bowl with an array of peppers, spices and the lightest, flakiest breading on earth! Silk Calamari, as it is called, is TK’s own signature dish. His secret recipe is prepared with fish flakes, Thai peppers and a lime leaf - the result is magic!

Another of the most popular items on the menu, and one I look forward to trying on my next visit, is the large flounder filet, served with a rich tantalizing panang sauce.

Authentic Thai beverages are quite popular among those who enjoy Thai cuisine. To be sure the full Thai experience is available to their patrons, Silk Thai serves sweet, refreshing Thai iced coffee and Thai iced tea imported from Thailand. Both are decadently rich, made with cream and sugar, and topped with whipped cream.

Growing up in Thailand, owner, TK’s father sold and still sells sugar and has his own sugar business there. TK is the oldest son with four younger siblings and as a youngster, was expected to take over the sugar business when he got older. At fifteen years old his dad taught him how sugar is made, how authentic and natural it is and how it comes from a local farmer.

Then, his father sent him to the U.S. to study in college and he loved the country so much that he gave the sugar business to his brother. Regardless, he learned the process of buying and selling sugar and has been involved since he was 8 years old. TK got his Bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a Master’s in management information systems from the University of Baltimore. He found enjoyed working in a Thai restaurant during college and decided that instead of going back home to take over the business, he would stay in Maryland.

After graduating, he worked in IT but wasn’t happy. When working in restaurants, he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to the management level. After learning the business from the bottom up he knew the whole business and felt confident opening his own establishment. From TK’s experience working in restaurants in college, he learned the first thing to do is care of his employees and their happiness. He takes time to spend and talk to his employees and feels that if his employees are happy, then the customers will feel the love and also be happy. The servers are cheerful and work with joy and confidence.

TK owns four other restaurants; two in Manassas, Va., one in Charlottesville, and one in Martinsburg, W.Va., with the first location opening in December 2007. The menu consists of the most popular dishes people order so it is sure to please. He loves talking to people and serving people, delicious Thai cuisine makes him happy.

He likes the customers in Hagerstown, saying they are “nice, laid back, polite, and easy to please.” He loves being in the area because he wants people to have delicious, authentic Thai food. TK believes the food, the environment, and the service are all equally important attributes to having a successful restaurant, and none of these can be overestimated in order to be successful.

Silk Thai also caters and is located at 1580 Wesel Blvd. K and is open Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 pm. 240-267-2142.

Check out their full bar for half-price wine on Sunday, and happy hour Monday – Friday 3– 6 p.m. where everything on the happy hour menu is $3.50 including wine, beer, house liquor and appetizers. Try the Thai basil mojito!