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Tam Rachatanavin, owner of Thai Taste in Carbondale, has garnered an adoring following of regular customers since opening in 2004, and continues to grow his patronage by adding to the current menu offerings while keeping familiar favorites. The bustling restaurant, located on the bottom floor of a splendid historic building on the corner of Illinois Avenue and Main Street, has a light and airy dining room, with high ceilings and two walls of picture windows. The breezy atmosphere is a fitting juxtaposition to the spice of the authentic Thai dishes served up for lunch and dinner at this Southern Illinois favorite.

With spice levels from one to ten, one being mild and ten being the spiciest, patrons enjoy favorites like Pad Thai and fried rice, served with tofu, chicken, pork, beef or shrimp. Hearty portions, in rich sauces, are aplenty in the many entrees available, like chicken cashews, Pad Pak and pepper steak, all adorned with a variety of fresh, colorful vegetables and exciting flavors. Green bell peppers, broccoli, onions, ginger, bamboo shoots and straw mushrooms are just some of the components of the many noodle dishes, with either flat flour noodles, thin rice noodles or egg noodles. Warm, comforting soups include selections like Tom Yum, which boasts spicy and sour notes of lemongrass, lime juice, and citrus leaves, as well as Pho Tak, with the smooth flavors of coconut milk, mushrooms and fresh cilantro. Thai curry dishes are an extraordinary treat with red, green, and yellow curries combined with a variety of herbs, spices and vegetables.

Fresh specials appear periodically, like Pad Thai nachos and passion fruit coconut cheesecake, to keep diners excited about what new offerings will appear at each visit. New and notable menu items include freshly made crab rangoon and a variation of the appetizer called crab rangoon dip, which is the rangoon filling, sautéed and served with wonton skins in chip form. Diablo chicken wings are a spicier version of Thai Taste’s existing wings and appeal to the most adventurous eaters with a much more fiery sauce. Another exciting change at Thai Taste is the full menu being available during both lunch and dinner. The lunch special is still a fan favorite, where dishes come with a choice of the soup of the day or an extra egg roll, but dinner entrees are now available at lunch, including soups, salads and curries.

As always, the full selection of beer and wine is available whenever Thai Taste is open, for a festive libation to pair with any meal. Kids can find something to enjoy with the appetizer chicken satay, fried tofu or plain fried rice. Whether for lunch or dinner, Thai Taste has something to please every customer, whether looking for a mild, warm noodle dish or a spicy adventure.

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