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11:32 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Chew on This: Authentic Thai food at Dee Thai Express

Akaga Bernard, center, co-owner of Dee Thai Express, stands with fellow co-owner Jane Buaket, right, and Bernard’s sister Nady Noensathan. Dee Thai Express opened their doors on West Sheldon Street on July 14. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Akaga Bernard, center, co-owner of Dee Thai Express, stands with fellow co-owner Jane Buaket, right, and Bernard’s sister Nady Noensathan. Dee Thai Express opened their doors on West Sheldon Street on July 14. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Dee Thai Express opened their doors July 14, but the restaurant already has a number of customers who show up on a regular basis, according to owner Akaga Bernard.

Bernard owns the business with partner and cook Thitiporn Buaket.

"She's a good cook. She cooked for me in my apartment and I loved it," Bernard said. "People like her cooking. It makes me happy to hear from people who eat here and tell us how good it is. We have one couple who has lunch here everyday."

It was then the two decided to open their own restaurant and focus on authentic Thai food, including authentic Thai coffee, which is served in the morning, Bernard said.

Open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Dee Thai Express is at 520 West Sheldon Street. Call the restaurant, 928-515-2435, for take-out orders. Dee Thai is closed on Sundays. A website for the restaurant is currently under development.

In Thai, "dee" means "something good," Bernard said, which fits the restaurant well.

"If it's a good thing, you say 'dee,'" she said.

Besides living part time in Thailand, Bernard also worked for a Thai restaurant while residing in Portland, Oregon. She moved to Portland from Thailand in 2007.

"Thai food is very popular," Bernard said. "We try to create a comfortable atmosphere for our customers."

The menu

Dee Thai Express offers a variety of menu options for its customers. Favorites at the restaurant include the Pad Thai, made with a choice of beef, chicken, pork, tofu or shrimp in stir-fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, tofu, green onion, egg and topped with ground peanut. The Spicy Noodle dish, called "Drunken Noodle," is another favorite. Drunken Noodle features a hot and spicy stir-fried flat noodle with garlic, chili, tofu, egg, bell peppers, onion, broccoli, basil, and made with a choice of chicken, shrimp, beef, pork or tofu.

"It's a good meal," Bernard said.

Their curry dishes are another popular choice, she added. Curry choices include Panang Curry, made with carrots, bell peppers, peas, sweet basil, and coconut milk with a choice of meat. Green Curry, Yellow Curry, Massaman Curry, and Red Curry can also be found on the menu.

"Green Curry is very popular here. It has a lot of vegetables," Bernard said.

Other menu options include Thai Style Noodle Soup, made with Thai rice noodles, bean sprouts, onion, cilantro and roasted garlic with a choice of chicken, shrimp, beef, pork or tofu. The Thai Style Dry Noodle, features a choice of beef, shrimp, chicken, pork or tofu on Thai rice noodles with bean sprouts, onion, cilantro, and roasted garlic. The popular Pad Se-Ew is made with flat rice noodle, pan-fried, with sweet soy sauce, egg, broccoli and carrots and a choice of beef, chicken, pork or tofu.

Pad Puk, featuring stir-fried seasonal vegetables with a choice of meat, is another customer favorite.

Bernard encouraged customers to try the spring rolls appetizer as well, which features crispy fried rolls with cabbage, carrots, glass noodles, celery, black mushroom and sweet and sour sauce.