Thai restaurant in Iwakuni keeps taste of home
If you want to enjoy authentic Thai food near MCAS Iwakuni, Sawadee is a good place to start.
The restaurant’s owner, Katsura Tsumori, and his Thai wife, Weena, ran a restaurant for 18 years in Hiroshima before moving to Iwakuni five years ago to inspire locals with their authentic flavor and Thai home dishes.
Thai cuisine is known for its unique balance of hotness, sourness and sweetness. Sawadee uses a wide variety of herbs, spices and aromatics, such as kaffir lime, Thai lime, lemongrass and fresh Thai basil, according to Tsumori. “We are always trying to offer authentic Thai tastes, although we adjust the hotness according to customers’ request,” he said.
Pad Thai (fried rice noodle), gapao rice (fried rice), tom yum goong (shrimp soup) and green curry are some of the most popular dishes, according to Tsumori. “Weena mainly cooks these dishes with her home taste, and I have learned the tastes by assisting her in cooking,” Tsumori said.
“The dishes are very tasty,” says Yasuhiro Muneno, Iwakuni District Manager of Stars and Stripes, who frequents the eatery for lunch and dinner. Muneno usually orders gapao rice and pad Thai for lunch, while for dinner he enjoys Singha (thai beer) and various a-la-carte dishes. But, he never misses a chance to order the shop’s signature dish, tom yum goong, anytime he visits.
“I think everyone can enjoy the authentic Thai taste, as the dishes are not extremely hot,” Muneno said.
The large space can accommodate families. Its Thai-flavored décor, along with various Thai photos and magazines, make for a kind of exotic atmosphere that can also work well for dates, according to Muneno.
Being situated near the gate of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, more than half of the customers are U.S. servicemembers, according to Tsumori.
“Although we are not good English speakers, we do our best to talk with them, asking for their taste favorites, so that they can feel our shop at home and enjoy our dishes as much as possible,” Tsumori said.
Visit this family-run restaurant and enjoy the tastes of Thailand.