New Thai restaurant open at new location

Lynnsey Veach, City Editor

At the new Siam Thai restaurant, only a short walk across from Old Main, the new owners are encouraging the Eastern and Charleston communities to walk in and give their menu a try. Mappaka Pounginjui and Juthamas Wangmune have teamed up to own their new restaurant, open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Siam Thai restaurant offers dine in and carry out services to customers, and Pounginjui said she hopes to see new faces during their first weeks of business.

Pounginjui, an Urbana resident, said she has no problem driving to work every morning in hopes to make her new business a success.

Pounginajui has only had a year of experience as a restaurant owner, but said she does have many years of experience in the restaurant business.

Wangmune is not only the co-owner of the restaurant but also the only cook. She said she’s had over 15 years of experience in the restaurant business.

Pounginajai said she wants community members to know this is a completely new restaurant, despite the fact that it has the same name as the former restaurant at that location.

Pounginanjai also said she hesitated to keep the same name as previous owners, but “we liked the real Thai name.”

Pounginanjui said she wants people to know that the Facebook account with the name Siam Thai Restaurant is the former owners’ Facebook page, so the reviews and comments on that page do not reflect the current establishment.

Seleney Garcia, a Charleston resident, said she keeps coming back to the new restaurant because she has enjoyed their menu a great deal.

“I usually just get the chicken friend rice, or the veggie spring roll,” Garcia said. “But the best part is the sweet and sour sauce or the peanut butter sauce.”

Garcia said this is a perfect restaurant for her since the menu fits her vegetarian diet.

Mollie Siu-Chong, a Charleston resident, said she has come back many times with her husband since the opening of the new restaurant.

Co-owners Mappaka Pounginjui and Juthamas Wangmhne greet incoming customers Sunday at their resturant Siam Thai's Kitchen.
Co-owners Mappaka Pounginjui and Juthamas Wangmhne greet incoming customers Sunday at their resturant Siam Thai’s Kitchen.

“We’ve had Thai food across the country, including big cities, and we can say that Siam Thai’s food is some of the best we’ve ever had,” Siu-Chong said. “Basically it’s not just good authentic Thai food for a small town, its great Thai food period.”

If customers want to personalize their Thai dish, they have the option of picking a one to five level of spiciness, with one being the least spicy, and five being an extreme spicy.

“We encourage customers that are interested in trying a dish that is spicy to order our curry that is served with steamed jasmine rice,” Pounginanjui said.

Pounginanjui said she doesn’t want customers to order anything off their menu and then be unhappy with the amount of spiciness, so customers can ask for a new dish with no charge.

Pounginjui and Wangmune both said they enjoy talking to their customers the most, and having a new restaurant that has new faces walking through the front door.

Siu-Chong said she recommends community members to give this new restaurant a chance, even if they tried it under the previous owners. She said she has not tried a dish that did not get her approval, and recommends the Pad Tha, Pad See Ew with beef, crispy chicken on rice and the green curry.

“The new owner has also been warm and friendly and we simply cannot recommend the new and improved Siam Thai enough,” Siu-Chong said.

Siam Thai is located on 453 Lincoln Ave. near Positively Fourth Street and Ike’s and right across from Old Main.

Pounginjui said anyone interested in placing an order can call (217)-345-0313.

Lynnsey Veach can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].