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Friday, 21 October 2016 10:18
A Little Culture With Your Thai?
MALTA — There are about 100 people from Thailand living in Saratoga County, according to Lek Cameron, owner of Bua Thai Sushi at 1103 Ellsworth Boulevard in Malta. Although far from their homeland, many will light a candle at a Buddhist temple in the region in honor of the recent passing of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13 at the age of 88. Walking into Bua Thai Sushi at first feels a bit like walking into any Thai restaurant, but the detail in the décor and the friendly staff highlight a sense of the beauty and humor of a warm and welcoming culture. Images of traditional Thai celebrations adorn the walls, including one of the popular Songkran Festival held on April 13 each year, the Thai New Year. “It is very beautiful in Thailand,” said Zelly Kas-Runkel, one of the staff. “We splash water and celebrate – it is very wet. Here, we even throw a little water on our customers. They enjoy it and throw us back the water. It is supposed to be good luck.” Cameron studied customer service in college in Thailand, and met her husband at a hotel where they worked. They came here in 1997. Her son just turned 18 and is a senior at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. She had started her restaurant with a partner in Lewiston, but when she wanted to move here, her partner kept the old restaurant and she began fresh with Bua Thai Sushi. Customer Adrienne Hamilton of Ballston Spa said she loves to get take-out at Bua Thai. “It’s hard to pick a favorite dish,” she said. “I love all of their curries, their pad Thai, the Thai iced tea, I could go on and on. Any good Thai restaurant better have their pad Thai on, and does it deliver!” Cameron says it is all about customer service and fresh ingredients, as well as the talents of a remarkable chef. “We don’t use dry noodles,” she said. “It makes a big difference. We have long lines at lunch for Thai food.” She said the line would go quicker if more people would order sushi, which would divvy up the workload in the kitchen at the busy lunch hour. They offer a popular Sakura roll with avocado, spicy crab, salmon and tuna. She is equally proud of her sushi chef, and together, the Bua team has had a successful first year. “I give customers good quality food that is not overpriced,” said Cameron. “If we have a special that is not on the menu, and you come back and want it, we will make it for you. We have lots of regulars and free delivery no more than 4 miles away. For local people, I give 10 percent off to people living here in Ellsworth Commons. I have lots of coupons out there, too.”