Hello everyone! I’ve traveled from the golden state back to the Queen city. Hope you are all doing well. How’s your summer so far? I know I must’ve said it the previous many summer, but it’s been HOT! I went from desert dry hot back to humid-steamy-swamp hot :O Quite a summer I tell you!
What do you usually have when it’s hot? Salad? Cold-pressed juice (the fancy thing nowadays)? European cold soup?… Or nothing at all because you just don’t have the appetite and might as well just skip meal and save money?
The other day A. wasn’t feeling well and I did not feel like cooking or eating anything ‘too American,’ I thought of Rai Lay , a Thai restaurant I’ve heard few weeks ago that opened at South End right next to the Aveda Institute (good price good haircut!). A. has never been a big fan on Thai food, while on the hand I LOVE Thai food and would always crave it at least once a month. It was hot, and I was in desperate need to have by Thai food fix, so I proposed while we try to hit some Pokestop at South End, we go try Rai Lay to see how authentic the food is…
When you go to Rai Lay, remember the ‘supposed to look like front door’ is locked. Instead, you have to swing by the enter the restaurant at the corner. I know it’s a bit tricky and a little annoyed when you just want you enter for some Thai food… but now that I tell you in advance just keep that in mind 😉 The food is worth the little twist and turn 😛
Rai Lay is a small restaurant, but the ambience is great. We arrived early in the evening when it’s still pretty bright out. The bar looked nice, but the tables were arranged a bit crowded. Originally we were a little skeptical wondering why the waitress tried to lead us to sort of the ‘back’ of the restaurant, but to our surprise, Rai Lay actually has a few nice booth hidden towards the end of the restaurant. Booth is always my first choice, and that made me happy we had a nice and private spot to ourselves to enjoy Thai food!
A ‘pro’ to do research before going to try a new place, I’ve decided what I want for the night, but still wanted to see the actual menu to see if anything might change my mind. I have to admit I am indecisive when it comes to trying something new… In the end I stick to my original plan and ordered Basil Chicken, which according to description sound exactly like what I have been terribly craving for since my last trip to Asia. A. was not quite sure what he’d order because he’s not a big fan of Thai food. Eventually, I convinced him to also get the Basil Chicken dish and guarantee him I believe this dish will change his mind about Thai food. Haha I know, it’s a big promise when it was also my first time at Rai Lay! But somehow I just feel like this restaurant might somehow have the basil chicken I need… in my life 🙂
A. and I ordered the special $5 sangria to share. Normally not a big fan of alcoholic beverages, I thought it was quite tasty. The flavour and the arrangement made it seem appropriate to go with the Thai food we are about to have.
Ta-da! Basil chicken!!!
I was super excited because the dish looked exactly the same as the one I’ve seen on Yelp. More importantly, it’s the Basil Chicken I’ve been craving for 😀 I knew as soon as I saw the dish that I’ll be able to finish that big bowl of rice because I LOVE this!
It was A.’s first time trying the dish. I was obviously anxious to know what he thought of it since I ‘guaranteed’ he will like it. I was right though – A. said it was good and he really enjoyed the meal. It “hit the spot” for him. Hooray!
One thing I forgot to mention is you can also change your level of preference for spiciness at Rai Lay. I originally wanted to go for a 0 but was recommended by the staff to try level 1. A. thought it was perfect spicy level for him while I think next time I might opt for level 0. If you are a big fan of spicy food, feel free to be adventurous to go up to level 3 or 4. I heard they get pretty spicy… 😉
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience to dine at Rai Lay. I will definitely come back whenever I crave for Basil Chicken. Perhaps at some point I’ll also be adventurous to try their Tom Yang soup noodle 😉 I would also love to try the Thai style shaved ice dessert next time if I remember to save some stomach for dessert 😛
If you happen to be in Charlotte / South End in the summer, give this place a try. When it’s hot, Thai food will always be a good idea!
Rai Lay Thai Cuisine
1520 South Blvd. #130
Charlotte, NC 28203