Many foods of diverse cultures can now be found all over the world but it still sounds weird to travel to one country for some of the best type of food from another country. This would be the case here however as a Thai restaurant in Puerto Rico is a must stop for traveling foodies. One-Ten-Thai is the destination to get familiar with.
Larry Olmsted, special for USA TODAY
The scene: The northwest tip of Puerto Rico is one of the world’s surfing hotspots, ringed with great beaches from Rincon on the west side to Isabela, site of the World Cup Surfing Championship, on the north. In between sits the city of Aguadilla, the tourism heart of this wave-mad region. Carretera (Highway) 110, one of many small winding coastal roads in the area, is lined with surfer motels, inns, campgrounds, bars, shops, and improbably, the most beloved Thai restaurant in Puerto Rico, named for the road it sits on.
One-Ten-Thai occupies a two-story pastel red house with a large balcony on the front, with raised garden beds for the kitchen on one side and a huge beach parking lot that is perpetually jammed on the other. An old milk truck on the property serves as the walk-in cooler for beer kegs. There is a fair amount of outdoor seating and you pass the bustling tables on your way in, but the sparse main dining room has just six tables. Indoor dining maxes out at 42, and it is always packed, so One-Ten-Thai does a brisk to-go business, much of which is consumed by people eating in their cars. This indoor /outdoor vibe is enhanced by frequent festivals, holiday parties and concerts in the parking lot, which can attract over a thousand guests. With the tropical climate, waves crashing in the background, and people changing in and out of wetsuits in the lot and all along the street, surfing is an integral part of the dining experience at One-Ten-Thai. Eleven-time World Champion Kelly Slater and many other pros come here during big nearby tournaments,
Reason to visit: Sweet-potato coconut soup, Pad Kee Mao, Thai pork dumplings, beer
The food: Everything about the place, from its home-grown herbs to its small dining room, hands-on husband and wife owners, and après-surf crowd reminded me of another surprisingly located find in my travels, Teton Thai in Jackson, Wyo., which I wrote about in this column last year. When I bring this up, owners Andy Klein and Nastassia Cruz mention that before moving to Puerto Rico, they worked in Wyoming, ate regularly at Teton Thai and were inspired by it.
But in contrast to Teton Thai’s obscure authenticity, One-Ten-Thai features more common and recognizable Americanized Thai dishes, upping the ante with ultra-fresh local ingredients. Several staples, including basil, Thai basil, bok choy, and lemongrass are grown on site. Says Klein, “they all grow great here, and we use them natural and fresh.” More common produce like sweet potato and pineapple come from neighboring farmers, and straight-from-the-ocean seafood from local fishermen.
Despite the name, the main menu is more Southeast Asian inspired than pure Thai, with Vietnamese and Cambodian influences. My favorite things were…[Read Full Article Here]