Category Archives: Travel


Thaithentic Now

Siam in Telluride, Colorado

Telluride_Main Street

It’s a challenge to articulate the distinct charm of the tiny, southwestern Colorado town of Telluride. This former mining town in the San Juan Mountains has become one of North America’s most popular ski and golf destinations. Thousands of people travel here annually for everything from skiing to film, yoga and music festivals. It’s a popular tourist destination because of it’s obvious alpine beauty but it’s the locals who maintain and preserve the authentic charisma of this town. The town of Telluride is a bit of americana, shops, offices, restaurants and bars free of corporate chain stores.

Telluride is also quite challenging to get to — it’s situated in a box canyon in one of the highest elevation towns in North America (at 8750 feet). In terms of food, It’s like being home on the range and offering the magic and worldliness of global cuisine. The public is well traveled and sophisticated enough to appreciate the blend.


One of the local institutions is called Siam, a few minutes away from the base of the gondola. They serve well-priced, soul warming, hearty Thai fare. A dreadlocked, sunglass-clad and funkily dressed Thai statuess welcomes patrons at the front door. The restaurant is warm, inviting and artfully decorated with orchids, neon lights and impressive amounts of Thai merchandise — toy tuk tuk models, elephant trinkets and colorful silk and sequin tapestries.



The menu is broken down into 4 sections: traditional Thai, contemporary Thai, hand rolls and lettuce wraps and house specials. The menu is massive, offering traditional Thai dishes like yum woonsen, pad se ew and pad ka prow and “contemporary” Thai food, like choo chi ahi and penang short ribs. Owner Jeff Badger emphasizes the word contemporary, as opposed to ‘fusion.’ The contemporary menu is an adaptation of Thai food, potentially making it more accessible to someone unfamiliar with Thai cuisine. The penang short rib entree, served over a hearty parsnip puree, for example, is the chefs’ take on meat and potatoes. The cooks, A, Sayan, Jam Long and Wandee, are all native Thais.


IMG_4587 IMG_4588 IMG_4602

The town of Telluride has 2 small (and rather pricey) grocery stores. It’s hard to find a wide selection of different foods, let alone very specific Thai ingredients. It’s incredibly impressive that Siam can source and offer real Thai ingredients — and pay homage to a traditional Thai presentation, garnishing nearly every plate with orchids and carved carrots. They source mainly from Sysco and Shamrock Food Service and Jeff generally makes monthly trips to Denver for items that they don’t stock, like palm sugar. Shamrock Food Service specializes in Asian food and stocks several varieties of soy, oyster, chili and fish sauces with brands like Mae Ploy and Golden Mountain Sauce.

Jeff, his wife Surung (from Chiang Mai, Thailand) and daughter Molly run the show, often seating 5 turns on a busy night. Always a lively scene, but also always consistent, Jeff and Molly insist that the sourcing, chefs consistency and staff continue to draw crowds to this funky Thai restaurant in arguably one of the coolest towns in Colorado.

Jillian Demmerle
By Jillian D.

Jillian is North's wife and writer, she's qualified to write about Thai cuisine after eating his Mother's homemade Thai food for a decade and annual trips to Thailand, not to mention hwe endless all-borough Thai restaurant tours in New York City. She has a corporate job that's not exciting and is also a certified yoga teacher. Jillian, North and their sweet dog, Habibi, live in New York City...and Telluride currently.


Thaithentic Now

The Thai-In Begins Its Journey in Philly

I am excited to introduce you to “The Thai-In,”  a web series focused on travel, food, people, and how Thai food and culture tie-in to all of it.  We will be exploring local foods and customs across the globe, while focusing on local eats and customs. 

As a NYC born and raised Thai-American, the food and cultures of the world have always been in my back yard. Having a chef for a father provided me with the perfect guide to learning about people and the joys of gastronomy. We had sit down dinners for most of my life and it was at those dinners where I learned that the true essence of food and dining is about people and sharing wonderful experiences with them. It became an addiction. All I wanted to do was travel, meet people, and eat. If there is one thing I have learned from all my travels, it is not to follow food and trends. Follow people, for they will lead you to great food. You will never go wrong following people as they are the greatest sources for new experiences. This is the very essence of the The Thai-In. I want to share my great experiences with all of you as I travel and eat my way through city by city, continent by continent, bite by bite, one meal and one conversation at a time. 

Our first adventure takes us to Philly. Along with Chef Chuck Valla, Thaithentic chef and master of Northern Thai cuisine, we explore just a little bit of what this very American city has to offer. Philadelphia has always held a special place in my heart as fellow sports rival town, but never would I have imagined what kind of bustling food scene existed here. The food talent in this town rivals that of NYC, without much of the trendy tax factored into your food. It’s impossible to find the best of anything as Philly is city of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood usually being the favorite spot of those living there. When we tried to explore different neighborhoods, we found something startling. Not only was the food delicious in every neighborhood, they could be as different and varied as two different cities. Here are a few of the places that we covered in this episode:

Federal Donuts

Philip’s Steaks
2234 W Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145

Taproom on 19th

Nick’s Old Original Roast Beef Restaurant

American Sardine Bar | Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant …

John’s Roast Pork

The Dandelion

Village Whiskey

Little Pete’s
219 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House 美味兰州手拉面 …

Reading Terminal Market

You really can’t really talk about food in Philly without mentioning Philly cheesesteaks as Philly is a very sandwich centric town.  However, we found something even more local and has it roots right in Pennsylvania Dutch country. We’re talking about scrapple. Scrapple is made from the unused leftovers of pork grinded into gelatinous form, then breaded and fried. Scrapple was created with the idea that the entire animal should be used in butchery so that no food would be wasted. This way of thinking is very much in line with much of Thai culinary thinking so Chef Chuck concocted a unique creation.  Behold, Thai Scrapple! Using only pork meat, pork liver, garlic, rice, and roasted rice power, Chef Chuck creates a uniquely Thai version of the Pennsylvania classic.   

The adventure continues each month and we hope you will enjoy these videos as much as we love making them.  Let us know where you’d like us to go next on The Thai-In!


Manus Chaorinuea
By Manus C.

Manus Chaorinuea is the founder of Thaithentic. He is an entrepreneur and food connoisseur. As a son of a Thai chef, he spends his time traveling, eating, and learning about different cultures. Being born and raised in New York City, he is an avid NY Rangers fan and plays goalie for an ice hockey team named Sriracha.