Authentic and Original Thai Cuisine Offered At New Restaurant
Story by Marcia Arpin, Photos by Kevin Dempsey
Since 2016, the Golden Flower Asian Grocery Store has been stocking its shelves with items from China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. This small store has a surprisingly large variety of items not available anywhere else in Thunder Bay. Although owner Paw Nay Htoo was hopeful to expand from her current location, the past two years of COVID closures made her pause and rethink. Instead, she struggled with how to stay open and keep her employees working.
“Owning your own business is stressful and prices are rising. It was hard to predict what will happen. It felt like a roller coaster,” says Htoo. Despite all the changes and pivots, this entrepreneur set to work brainstorming, and ultimately cooking. What evolved from the past two years of dreaming is Thai Bay, located at 65 Court Street South, where Htoo uses products from her store in the kitchen downstairs to cook a menu of her family favourites.
Htoo’s family is originally from Burma and she grew up in Thailand. In 2004, she and her husband decided to immigrate to Canada. With plenty of restaurant and business experience, Htoo opened the take-out restaurant in December 2021, offering “grab-and-go” foods made on site. She and her staff are excited to serve what she says is the most authentic and original Thai food Thunder Bay has to offer.
The menu has many mouth-watering selections. There is such a variety of dishes, in fact, you could eat from the menu four or five times a week without ever having the same thing twice. From soups, such as the creamy tom yum or the tom ka gai, to green and red curries, there are endless tastes to try. Htoo has filled each meal with her best ingredients and offers generous portions. Htoo suggests trying the basil stir fry or the cashew stir fried rice, as they have quickly become customer favourites.
Htoo (whose name translates to “flower of gold”) loves to stay busy and welcome more customers to try her dishes. She is a wonderful host and loves to share her knowledge and her culture. She has a special connection with her customers, and Thai Bay is her latest way to nurture them and invite additional people to the store. She is grateful for her success and hopes this little space of specialty groceries and yummy food will never be a secret.