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by Bob McClain
2-26-09
Bambu Story

A Tri-umph of Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese Cuisine

Pho "Fuh"

This restaurant is owned by someone whose personal story is as interesting as the restaurant itself. The owner, Yin Thong, came to a foster home in the US when she was 16 after spending a year in a refugee camp in Hong Kong. That’s where she had been moved to from her home in Vietnam. But she’s actually ethnically Chinese because her family had moved to Vietnam from China. And did I mention she didn’t speak a word of English when she got here? Whew.

So what does a young woman who becomes a successful mortgage broker do when she wants to take clients out to lunch at an upscale restaurant that serves authentic Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine? Why she opens one of course!

While the restaurant looks upscale, with a clean, modern Asian feel and décor, as far as Yin Thong is concerned, it’s all about the food.

“I wanted a classy, upscale restaurant with the kind of authentic Asian food I love where I could take my clients,” she told me. “Opening my own restaurant seemed the only answer.” She also wanted to create a place where other business people could bring clients or customers for a refreshing change.

In addition, she’s hoping to bring the rest of her siblings to the US. And with a successful restaurant, they would have jobs waiting for them when they got here.

But let’s talk about the food. I have a real predilection for Vietnamese food so we tried the Crispy Egg Rolls first. They are crisp, tightly packed, and light. A wonderful way to start a meal. For a first timer, Yin recommends the Thai Spicy and Sweet Blast Curry. She says even people who don’t like curry enjoy it. Her boyfriend recommends the Pho with Chicken since he starts every day with a bowl. She can also make any meal a vegetarian meal. Just ask your server.

Entrée prices are reasonable, ranging from $9 for Chow Mein to $15 for the Sizzling Duck. The bar offers a small selection of red and white wines, plum wines, sake and beer. Happy Hour is Monday thru Saturday, 2pm-6pm. The Happy Hour menu is on the website. They are located at 1715 Beam Ave. in Maplewood. Phone: 651-747-1000. Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:30am-9:00pm; Friday-Saturday 10:30am-10:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-9:00pm.

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