Thai Orchid Blossoms: An Eau Claire staple – Singha Thai – reborn

Emilee Wentland, photos by Andrea Paulseth

SINGHA REBORN. Thai Orchid – formerly Singha Thai – opened its doors recently with new management and an awesome menu full of great dishes like curry, sweet and sour stir fry, and even dessert.
SINGHA REBORN. Thai Orchid – formerly Singha Thai – opened its doors recently with new management and an awesome menu full of great dishes like curry, sweet and sour stir fry, and even dessert.

In November, Singha – a staple for Thai cuisine in Eau Claire – closed. With a sign in the window promising to be “opening soon,” the community was left unsure of when the restaurant would reopen. Lucky for them, that time has come. On May 1, the Thai restaurant reopened under new management and a new name: Thai Orchid.

The May 1 soft opening brought in a wave of customers who were eager to welcome the restaurant back into their lives (and their bellies). The number of people coming in was larger than they expected, said Carrie Cha, owner of Thai Orchid.

“For the most part everyone’s just thankful that it’s opened up again,” Cha said.

Thai Orchid’s menu is nearly identical to Singha’s, with only a few dishes added and some taken away. As far as the dishes go, Cha said the only thing they changed about them were the numbers they were listed under. If there’s something on the old menu that a customer would like, Cha said they would be happy to make it, as long as they have all the ingredients.

Cha plans to eventually introduce more traditional Thai dishes to the menu, such as different types of larb and stir fry. There are a lot of dishes typically eaten with hands, rather than cutlery, that she would also like to bring into the restaurant.

“I’ve heard from customers that people are very cultured here,” Cha said. “So I think they would welcome some traditional Thai dishes.”

Thai Orchid’s most popular dish is the curry, which Cha credits to the use of a secret ingredient. Their method of preparing curry makes it different than most curries customers would be familiar with. Cha’s favorite menu item is the sweet-and-sour stir fry, which she just learned how to make. They make the sauce with chicken broth, so it’s not as heavy as a typical sweet-and-sour sauce.

One thing people forget about when they’re at Thai Orchid is the dessert, Cha said. Thai Orchid offers a sweet mango rice, a fried banana with powdered sugar and honey, and a tri-color tapioca dessert. Eventually, they’d like to add ice cream to their menu in flavors such as coconut and mango.

Cha’s family has always been involved in the restaurant business. Cha recalls working in a restaurant since she was 13. Her parents were born in Laos; there, her mother had a booth where she sold food, Cha said.

Owning a restaurant has been eye-opening, Cha said, and she enjoys being able to serve the food she likes to the community. Opening the restaurant took longer than she originally planned because of all the certifications and inspections she went through.

“It took some time,” Cha said. “It wasn’t like, ‘OK, let’s go, let’s open it up again.’ I think that was the thought process, but it doesn’t happen that way.”

Thai Orchid is still sorting out staffing, but once they are fully recruited, they will make a Facebook page and allow call-in ordering.

Thai Orchid is located at 203 N. Barstow St. They’re open 11am-9pm Tuesday-Saturday and 11am-7pm Sunday.

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