Talk of the Table: PAI Northern Thai Kitchen

There’s no better way to get to know a city than to eat your way through it. So each month, we’ll be shining a light on the deliciously inspired restaurants across Toronto that have teamed up with UberEATS to bring good food to the people.

It all started on an elephant. Jeff was backpacking and on one special day, he found himself comforting a terrified stranger on an elephant ride. Since then, Chef Nuit Regular and her husband Jeff are celebrated for bringing Northern Thai cuisine and hospitality to Toronto. The popularity of their restaurants (PAI Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai, and Sukhothai) began with the opening of the humble Curry Shack in the small town of Pai, in Northern Thailand.

Having learned to cook in her mother’s kitchen, Chef Nuit left her career as a nurse in Thailand to share her passion and life experiences through family recipes. Acknowledging the authenticity of her cooking, the government of Thailand awarded PAI Northern Thai Kitchen the prestigious Thai Select Premium designation.

We sat down with Chef Nuit and Jeff to learn more about their unique story.

Q: Tell us the story of how you met.

Jeff: “I was backpacking through Northern Thailand and decided to go for an elephant ride one day. I was paired with a scared nurse who had never been on an elephant before… the rest is history.”

Chef Nuit: “I don’t remember it quite the same [laughs], but yes, we fell in love in Thailand. I was a nurse when we met, but when we decided to build our life together we started by opening up a restaurant called ‘The Curry Shack’, which was a huge hit with backpackers and locals in Pai. My brother still runs it to this day.”

Q: What’s the philosophy behind Pai’s cuisine? 

Chef Nuit: “Pai is inspired by a simple town and lifestyle. When people walk into our restaurant, we want them to feel like they’ve been transported to Thailand. The details matter to us- from the music, to the decor, to the type of oyster sauce we use. To that end, we don’t use any substitutes for Thai ingredients- if we can’t find it, we just don’t make the dish. Authenticity is extremely important to us.”

Q: Other than your own, what restaurants are you loving in Toronto right now?

Jeff: “Between running our restaurants and raising our kids, we don’t have a lot of date nights, but when we do go out, we love DaiLo and Mamakas Taverna.”

You can get PAI’s authentic Thai cuisine delivered through the UberEATS app all week. Their Red Curry Chicken with Squash is also available for Instant Delivery today from 11am-2pm.

PAI is located at 18 Duncan Street in Toronto.

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Som Tum Tad / Papaya Salad : Shredded green papaya with tomato, long green beans, and sauce.

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