Celebrate the Thai New Year at Asia Nine

Try a little bit of everything at D.C.’s authentic pan-Asian restaurant, Asia Nine.  The owner, Nuthinepan “Natalie” Tantivejakul, more uniquely describes Asia Nine as an “Asian-Asian” restaurant. “We have chefs from all over Asia, including Thailand, Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia,” she explained.

Asia Nine, your source for pan-Asian cuisine

We got the inside scoop on Asia Nine’s upcoming Songkran celebration, which focuses on their main specialty- Thai food.  Natalie and her husband, chef Boonrod “Rod” Yotmanee, are both Thai natives.  I could not ask for better people to share the Thai New Years tradition of Songkran with me.

Asia Nine pulls out all the stops for Songkran, complete with a bathing Buddha and all.  The week-long festival of Songkran revolves around honoring family.  Natalie showed me how the religious Buddha ritual is performed. She scooped a cup into water filled with flower petals and poured it over the prominent gold Buddha statue, in the middle of the restaurant. This New Years tradition is celebrated with music and most importantly- food!

The Bathing Buddha, part of the Songkran ritual

A chef demonstrated how to make Khow Greab Pak Mor, a specialty Thai dumpling.  She wrapped a blend of peanuts and salted radish in a steamed rice flour sheet.  The filling offered a sublime blend of savory and sweet flavors.

A chef steams sheets of rice flour, similar to a crepe, in the custom dumpling steamer

Asia Nine masters the classic Shrimp Pad Thai dish, but I had my eye on their sweet green curry.  The curry achieved perfect levels of heat and sweetness, giving it an A+ in my book.

As I sipped on my freshly brewed Thai Iced Tea, I kept running back to get more of their Thai rice street crackers, served with a shrimp and pork dipping sauce.

I ended my night with one of their signature dessert dishes, Bua Loi, which means “Floating Lotus”. This sweet dessert sure had me floating back for more! Mango and taro root balls were boiled and served in warm coconut milk.  This sweet and sticky creation was a great end to my Thai adventure.

Celebrate your second New Years of 2011, from April 11-17, at Asia Nine with their $39 special prix fixe menu.  With unique dishes such as the Thai Coconut Hummus, Firefly Short Ribs, and signature Black Sticky Rice Pudding- you will be coming back for more.

Want to hear the best part? DC on Heels readers get the inside scoop on Asia Nine’s special New Years deals.  If you order off the prix fixe menu, you will get a free ticket to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment.  You won’t want to solve crimes on an empty stomach, anyway! Also, with any dinner entree purchase, get a complimentary Thai Shrimp appetizer. Print the coupon here: http://bit.ly/fY0osI.

I write about food for my  foodie blog Bella Bites here in Washington, D.C. You can visit it here at BELLA  BITES. I love trying and reviewing new restaurants in DC, SF, and NYC. By the way, my name is not Bella (it’s Ariana Snow) as many of the commenters on my blog believe! Bella means beautiful and good in Italian, so the title means Good Bites, or rather Good Eats!

Special blog post by Ariana Snow

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