Really good Thai food is like truffle fries or reality TV marathons -- it's highly addictive. Just ask Nuanchan (Nancy) Jitjaruek who grew up in Bangkok, cooking Thai cuisine with her mom. Jitjaruek learned by watching her mother in the kitchen, wondering how she made food like her favorite pork noodle soup or chicken prik prow taste so delicious.
"It inspired me to make this a lifelong ambition to open my own restaurant in the US and serve the food that my mom taught me how to make," said Jitjaruek.
In 2000 Jitjaruek moved to the US and opened her first restaurant Spice Thai Cuisine with business partners. Fourteen years later she is the majority co-owner of three Cambridge, Mass., restaurants, including the award-winning 9Tastes and recently opened Asian fusion Mix-It.
Jitjaruek oversees daily operations for all three restaurants to make sure every aspect meets her high standards and the employees enjoy their work, with her younger brother helping from the spring through fall. "I have found through my past experiences, happy employees make happy customers," she said.
Another thing that makes happy customers? Amazing food. Jitjaruek says the key to outstanding Thai food is fresh spices, herbs and healthy ingredients: "We have so many spices and herbs to create a variety of spicy and non-spicy food. We have different tastes of food for you to try, and not only that, we believe certain Thai food can cure headaches and other diseases, and reduce blood pressure."
Next time you're in Cambridge, you can test out the healing properties of Thai cuisine at any of Jitjaruek's restaurants. Odds are you'll discover at least one guaranteed cure-all (for your Thai food addiction!).
Opened in 2000; Capacity: 60
Atmosphere: Open and cozy, with big, beautiful picture windows and lots of natural light
Most popular menu items: Pad Thai, drunken noodle and crispy chicken
Inspiration for the menu: Serving authentic Thai food, along with custom cooking dishes for customers who require gluten-free and vegetarian meals
Future plans: A remodel after 9Tastes' remodel is done
Spice Thai Cuisine
24 Holyoke Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Opened in 2003; Capacity: 90
Atmosphere: Very relaxing with a Thai influence
Most popular menu items: 9Taste Pad Thai, Thai veggie wrap and tofu nam prik ong
Inspiration for the menu: Offering more spices and special dishes that aren't available at Spice; Nancy saw a need for Thai food in Harvard Square area, with many students there looking for a variety of comfort food that's full of taste
Future plans: A professional remodel to create a more modern Thai restaurant
50 JFK St. Harvard Square
Cambridge MA 02138
Opened in November 2014; Capacity: 75
Atmosphere: Upscale dining with a modern design, LED lighting, comfortable seating and earth-toned colors
Most popular menu items: Mix-It chicken noodle soup, Mix-It sushi roll and beef kushiyaki
Inspiration for the menu: An Asian fusion of Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian and Korean food, and offering a variety of healthy items such as sushi, noodles and grilled food
Future plans: Outdoor patio seating is coming in warm-weather months, as is a full bar in fall 2015
1678 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Watch a demo of how it works!