Amid the traffic and stoplights of Victory Drive resides the oasis of Chiriya’s Thai Cuisine in Thunderbolt. Its bright red roof and grand indisputable sign, labeled “Thai Cuisine,” are distinguishable among locals as a restaurant that fuses Thai fare with Hawaiian influences.
Owner Chiriya Moore, who was born and raised in Thailand, immigrated to Hawaii in 1977 and remained there for 11 years. After moving to Texas and then Japan, she and her husband finally made Savannah their home, living here for about 20 years.
Moore opened Chiriya’s over 10 years ago, where it was originally located on Abercorn Street. However, 4 years ago, this Asian eatery moved to its current location on Victory Drive.
“Thunderbolt is absolutely wonderful. The community is very supportive with real loyalty,” Moore boasts about her customers.
Given her Thai upbringing and Hawaiian experiences, Moore’s menu celebrates the unity of these flavors.
“I spend my time and money hand picking good ingredients.” When you use quality ingredients, she says, “you don’t have to cover (the food) up” with anything else.
Chiriya’s specializes in a wide variety of curries including Red, Green, Panang, Yellow, Masaman, and Pineapple. Not to be confused with the thick consistency of its Indian cousin, Thai curry is a creamy soup-like dish that consists of a coconut milk and curry paste broth. Chiriya’s curries are aromatic with ground herbs, spices, vegetables and your choice of protein (including tofu).
Moore also offers slurpable noodle dishes that range from the thin rice noodles of Pad Thai to the fried ramen noodles of Chiriya’s signature dish. Each highlights flavors and ingredients that are popular among the Thai people.
Stir fried options, including the Basil Stir Fry and Ginger Stir Fry, incorporate elements from Thailand such as Thai basil and Thai ginger.
Traditional Hawaiian eats like Huli Huli (Hawaiian for “turn around”) Chicken and Kalua Pig & Cabbage grace the menu as a nod to Moore’s residency on the island.
The authenticity of Chiriya’s Thai Cuisine is irrefutable. Moore states, “I was born and raised in Thailand, I know what (the food) is supposed to taste like.”
With the support of her chef son and trustworthy family members, Chiriya’s is a family owned and operated business, offering Savannah an exclusive and unparalleled taste of “Tha-waii”. – Maria Whiteway
Runner-up: The King & I