Olas Altas Farmers Market: Narisa’s Thai Cuisine

It seems that I have been involved in making and selling Thai Food since I was a little girl in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. My mom had a restaurant that also catered to School lunches and I remember helping her during my spare time from primary to the end of high school. It seemed like work at that time but I now realize how much she taught me during those formative years, from preparing the intricate Thai sauces to the fine selection of spices and herbs to the final preparation of regional Thai dishes. Not only did she teach me how to cook but I also learned a lot about food management, food preparation and most important how to sell and serve the customers. It all served me well in later years.

After high school I felt I had had enough of cooking so I attended the local Chiang Rai Teachers College for two years, graduated and got my first job teaching at a local school where I taught for several years.

In 1986 I returned to the food industry by accepting a position as food & beverage manager at a new five star hotel in Chiang Rai. My responsibilities included managing and organizing banquets, weddings, business and social functions and overseeing the various restaurants in the hotel. After six years and an enjoyable working experience I returned to school to further my teaching education at the Chiang Rai Rajabhat University graduating with a bachelor degree in special education.

I returned to teaching physical education at a private school in Chiang Rai for several years. During this period I met my present husband Joseph, who was an English Professor at the university in Chiang Mai. We eventually got married and moved to Chiang Mai. While in Chiang Mai I registered at the Chiang Mai Polytechnic College to study and obtain various certificates in Food & Nutrition, Thai Cooking, International Foods, Painting & Dyeing Batik.

In 2008 my Husband retired and decided to move permanently to Puerto Vallarta where my new venture in Thai Cuisine began. I noticed a total lack of Thai cuisine in PV so it was a natural decision for me to put all of my past culinary knowledge and experience to practical use by providing some authentic Thai dishes to the local residents and visitors under the name of Narisa’s Thai Cuisine.

It all started by joining the Farmers Market at Paradise Community Center in Old Town eight years ago where Joe and I offered a limited range of authentic Thai dishes, expanding to a full menu as time progressed. The introduction of Thai food to the local market was an instant success. When the Paradise Community Center closed we moved to the new location with Old Town Farmers Market subsequently renamed the Olas Altas Farmers Market.

The secret in preparing authentic Thai food is the use of authentic ingredients specifically spices, herbs and sauces.

This was my biggest challenge since most of the required ingredients were not available in PV or in Mexico. With lots of effort and research we managed to source the necessary ingredients as well as to grow some of the critical herbs ourselves. It was difficult but very rewarding as we can now provide a full range of dishes with a true authentic Thai taste and flavor. The most rewarding part of my work are the many comments I receive from my customers praising the authentic taste of my Thai food and dishes.

For many years my cooking was limited to our small kitchen in our house. As my business grew my kitchen expanded into the living room and other areas. Two years ago I moved into a commercial unit that allowed me to set up a modern kitchen with plenty of space for cooking and food prepa- ration and with sufficient additional space to open a permanent restaurant to serve my devoted customers all year around. The restau- rant is scheduled to open in April 2018.

It has been an enjoyable and gratifying experience to watch my dream grow from a simple idea to the present capability where we can offer a full range of authentic Thai dishes from the traditional favorite Pad Thai and Cashew Chicken to the various Thai curries, Tom Kha Gai, green papaya salad, crispy egg rolls & fresh veggie rolls, special salads and desserts. It is even more gratifying to feel that I am producing a product that people really enjoy eating.

Narisa ́s Thai Cuisine is now serving at the Olas Altas Farmers Market on Saturday and the Marina Malecon Farmers Market on Thursday evenings as well as providing home delivery and pick up service from the permanent location at 1239 Columbia (near Honduras). You can reach Narisa at 322 888 9840 and 322 222 8331 and thaicuisinepv@gmail.com.

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Celebrating twenty years of publishing weekly in Puerto Vallarta! Since 1997.