Staff Photo: Deanna Allen
The pad Thai, front, is one of the most popular Thai noodle dishes and the most popular item on the menu at KoKai Thai Bistro. Rice noodles are stir fried with egg, green onions, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts and can be topped with shrimp. The Thai boat noodle soup, back left, is another popular menu item, as well as the panang chicken curry, back right.
KoKai Thai Bistro
5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd., B-21, Norcross
• Open since: 2009
• Fried tofu Deep-fried tofu served with a sweet and sour sauce topped with crushed peanuts, $4.95
• Tom yum Spicy lemon grass soup with chicken, lime juice and mushrooms, $10.95
• Thai salad Crispy tofu on a bed of mixed greens, onions, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers served with a homemade peanut dressing, $6.95
• Shrimp pineapple fried rice Fried rice with shrimp, pineapple, egg, onions, tomatoes and scallions topped with cashew nuts, $8.95
• Masaman chicken curry Potatoes, onions and roasted cashew nuts in masaman curry served with rice, $6.95
• Location: KoKai Thai Bistro can be found in the Carter Oak Crossing shopping center off Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross.
• Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday
• Owner: KoKai Thai Bistro is family owned and operated, with Paitoon Pengsuk of Alpharetta, a native of Thailand, at the restaurant’s helm.
• Atmosphere: The simple yet chic dining area, heavy on use of the color white, has a slightly industrial look. While the atmosphere is casual, the bistro is full service and cloth napkins are laid out on each of the tables.
The counter where customers can pick up take-out orders hearkens in appearance to the carts from which street vendors in Bangkok sell many of the dishes one will find on Kokai’s menu.
The patio alongside the establishment is a recent addition to the building, with its colorful, striped awning providing shade for customers to enjoy their meals outdoors.
• Menu: KoKai serves made-from-scratch food one would find sold by sidewalk vendors on the streets of Bangkok. The Pengsuk family recipes are made with traditional Thai herbs and homemade sauces giving customers an authentic Thai experience.
The most popular menu items at KoKai correspond with some of the most well-known Thai dishes: the pad Thai — rice noodles stir fried with egg, green onions, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts — and the Thai boat noodle soup — sliced beef, meatballs and bean sprouts in a spicy stew broth.
The basil fried rice made with egg, onions and green beans in a spicy chili paste and the panang chicken curry — bell peppers, kiffir lime leaves and basil in coconut milk with panang curry — are also popular dishes, while customers often order the basil roll appetizers — shrimp, rice noodles, basil leaves and fresh vegetables wrapped in rice paper — and the nua nam tok — grilled flank steak with rice powder, chili, red onions, scallions and lime juice served with fresh cabbage.
KoKai also serves salads, rice plates and wings, both traditional and boneless, available in three flavors: original KoKai (a homemade spicy chili sauce), sweet Thai chili and teriyaki.
Beverages include sodas, bottled water, a variety of Snapple drinks, Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee.
• Things you might not know: KoKai is the first letter of the Thai alphabet and also translates as chicken in English. Check out the custom paintings created by Chamblee resident Bon Kumsaitong hanging on the walls inside the bistro that reflect the name.