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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Dining in Germany may not bring to mind flavors of southeast Asia.

But at Kaiserslautern’s Phuket restaurant, tasty Thai food and drinks await your schnitzel-weary palate. The restaurant’s bamboo and pagoda-esque décor creates a true Thai atmosphere for your dining experience.

The restaurant is run by a Thai family. You’ll often see cute Thai children running around outside and giggling in the afternoons. Again, it adds to the atmosphere and is not in the least bit distracting. The owners are always warm and welcoming even if your child decides to have a screaming fit. As an added bonus to those of us who speak neither Thai nor German, the owners speak decent English.

As you salivate over the menu, do yourself a favor and order a Thai tea. The cool, sweet beverage is incredibly refreshing. If you’re like me, you’ll probably down two during your meal. After three years in the Kaiserslautern area, it’s the only place I’ve found that offers Thai tea like you can get in stateside Thai restaurants (if you know of others, shoot me an e-mail).

Phuket’s Tom Ka Gai soup remains my favorite on the menu. Tom Ka Gai is coconut chicken soup with strong lemon and lime flavors. It’s rich, creamy and gets really, really spicy toward the end. If you accidentally bite into one of the small red peppers at the bottom of your soup bowl, you better hope you’ve got plenty of Thai tea left because your tongue will ignite, your eyes will water and your nose will run.

That being said, the risk of eating a spicy pepper is worth taking for this not-to-be-missed soup.

As far as main dishes, you really can’t go wrong. Phuket’s Pad Thai is always a solid choice. If you judge Thai restaurants by how good they make Pad Thai, then you’ll be pleased with Phuket. My wife usually orders something different every time we go, and she’s been happy with all her choices.

Located in downtown Kaiserslautern’s pedestrian area, Phuket has street parking nearby or you can park in the Alt Stadt parking garage.

Phuket Kaiserslautern, Germany

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; Fridays and Saturdays, closing time is 1 a.m.

Specialties: A wide assortment of Thai food, including Tom Ka Gai soup and Pad Thai.

Prices: A drink, soup and main dish will run you around 10 to 12 euros.

Clientele: Americans and Germans.

English menu: Yes.

Location: 24-26 Steinstrasse.

Telephone: 0631-534-9896.

Web site:www.restaurant-phuket.net


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