If you drive down Lafayette Street, you will eventually reach the White Elephant Restaurant, a hip new dining spot in town located at 930 El Camino Real. The restaurant has been serving Thai fusion and Japanese cuisine to satisfied diners since it opened last November.
“Since we opened, many people have told us they like our food and the way we combine Thai and Japanese cuisine,” says Siripat Nuengchamnong, one of the co-owners of the restaurant. “Soon, we’ll be offering separate menus for lunch and dinner. We’re going to do family-style dining for dinner time. For lunch time, we’d have lunch specials with soup and salad coming with the meals.”
A variety of dishes bring returning customers to the restaurant. According to Nuengchamnong, their most popular appetizers are the chicken satay, which is marinated with Thai curry powder and coconut milk for a pleasant aroma, and the crab meat cream cheese wonton, made with fresh crab meat. The pad thai and pad see ew, both noodle dishes, are frequently ordered entrees. Diners also like the tom kha soup because they appreciate the flavors of the coconut milk mixed in with Thai herbs.
On the Japanese menu, sushi lovers like the Nemo roll, made with spicy salmon and cucumber, and the Poseidon roll, made with tempura shrimp, cucumber, and spicy tuna. Vegetarians like to get the crossroad roll, made with avocado, shitake mushroom, and cucumber.
Visitors to White Elephant also get to view the lovely elephant figurines scattered throughout the restaurant.
“We like the elephant- the elephant is nice, friendly, and gentle, and it is a symbol of Thailand,” Nuengchamnong says. “I know that here in America, a white elephant is a game where you can steal other people’s gifts in a gift exchange. But in Thailand, our white elephant is a rare species.”
“My boyfriend and the other co-owner, Kittisart, and I went to cooking school in Thailand,” Nuengchamnong continues. “At Mission College, I am almost done studying for my degree in the Hospitality Management Program. This program helped me a lot in my work here. My favorite classes at the hospitality program were the restaurant operations class with Mr. Haze Dennis and the basic food preparation class with Mr. Brunson.”
Someday, Nuengchamnong would like to do community outreach through her restaurant by donating food to the local senior centers or hospitals.
“Sometimes people might be interested in Thai food but they might not know what it is, so I want to show them Thai food can be very good,” she says.
Call 408-987-9373 for more information.