10 years of truckin' at Taste of Thai

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BRATTLEBORO — Taste of Thai will soon turn 10.

The food truck, which serves a mixture of Thai and Laos cuisine next to the Mobil gas station at Exit 3, opened in late August of 2009.

"We were just going to take a chance," said Noulieng Keopraseuth, who runs the business with his wife Som and daughter Emily.

He recalled starting with about two customers the first day, then visits picking up as his family kept truckin'.

Now, Keopraseuth estimates serving between 50 to 80 people on average each day. And he said he hopes the business will last another decade or two.

"She might take it over," he said of his daughter. "If not, oh well. She knows everything about it."

Keopraseuth said his father sold Thai food at a flea market in Newfane about 30 years ago and taught him everything he knows about cooking before he died three years ago.

"He did a lot for me," said Keopraseuth, who escaped communist Laos before coming to America.

The food truck is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday most weeks. It does not open when schools are closed due to bad weather.

Occasionally, the truck will be taken to festivals. It will be at the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival in Bennington on Aug. 31 and the New England Street Food Festival at Kampfires Campground in Dummerston on Oct. 5.

Orders can be designed around allergies, diets and spiciness. Customers are asked to assign a number rating for how spicy they want their food.

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Keopraseuth said pad Thai, drunken noodles and basil chicken seem to be the most popular meals.

Taste of Thai was named one of the top six places to get bubble tea in Vermont on bestthingsvt.com. Writing for the website, Jeremy Perkins called the truck's tea "humble and delicious."

Inside the food truck can get very hot at times, so the family uses fans and will take breaks outside to keep cool.

Keopraseuth said a food truck is easier to run than a restaurant but it is still a lot of work.

"You can take off here and there," he said.

Keopraseuth does not see the local rise in food trucks as a threat to his business. He said people who came with others to Tito's Taqueria, which had been next to Taste of Thai but has moved to Black Mountain Square on Putney Road, would eat at Taste of Thai.

Keopraseuth encourages others to start their own food truck.

"I try to tell my friend to do it," he said.

Keopraseuth said most customers are local residents or businesses and he has noticed business slightly increasing over the years. He described Brattleboro as "a good little town."

"My kids were born here and they don't want to go anywhere," he said.

The business has a website at tasteofthaivt.com and a page on Facebook. Orders are taken in person or by phone.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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