Anny Sooksri delivers! Only now instead of the U.S. mail, it’s tasty Thai-inspired specialties served up at her four Salt Lake restaurants.
Anny left Thailand and eventually settled in Utah, securing a job as a postal clerk. “I always wanted to help people, to feed them,” she says, “So my mail cart was filled with spring rolls and other snacks for my colleagues.” Anny spent 10 years at the post office, advancing to supervisor. She enjoyed the job, but her real love was food. “You have to do something you like, so I left my job and opened a restaurant.”
Anny has always been a foodie. Early years in Thailand were spent enjoying the colorful flavors of street food, cooking with her grandmother and helping a neighbor make desserts for market. She converted a burger joint in Murray into her first restaurant, Tea Rose Diner, where she serves delicious Thai curries, stir fry and noodle dishes, along with some American staples. “It was tough at first,” she remembers. “I started with only a grill, two burners and a flat burner.” It took a couple of years to figure it out, but she developed such a loyal following, her customers jumped in and helped, offering to chop vegetables, wash dishes and bus tables.
Her reputation grew and she opened her second restaurant, Chabaar Beyond Thai. As its name suggests, its broad menu includes curries, Thai specialties, Thai or traditional breakfast items, plus favorite American and European dishes with a Thai spin, like the Crunchy Catfish Salad, Waffle and Fried Chicken or Bangkok Burger. Everything is always fresh, never pre-made. Anny earns raves from patrons seeking authentic Thai cuisine and an organic approach of using herbs, teas and select spices to improve health.
“Noodle Soup is a popular street vendor food in Thailand—it’s what I think of as fast food,” says Anny. Her Siam Noodle Bar in the IMC Murray Hospital features an authentic menu of classic noodle dishes like Tom Yum, Pho or a selection of curries and rice bowls. Diners can also build their own bowl, choosing the type of noodle, broth, protein and three vegetables. All broths are gluten-free. It’s fresh, fast, and possibly the best hospital food you’ve ever had.
Fav Bistro, the newest addition to Anny’s family of restaurants, builds on her successful recipe of good, fresh food and her passion for cooking and taking care of people. Featuring Thai fusion cuisine, the eclectic menu is a combination of Anny’s favorite concepts and flavors—it’s like a party for your mouth. Try the Red Curry with Soft Shell Crab, the Canadian-influenced Steak Massaman Poutine or the Scallop Green Curry. Whichever restaurant you choose, save room for dessert—Anny offers sweet sticky rice served with mango and a Thai Cloud Scone with sweet cream dip, which is as lovely as it sounds.
Want to try Thai at home? Lucky for us, Anny shares her recipes online and bottles her sauces for at-home cooks.
By Corinne Humphrey