Thai restaurant pleases Osan crowd
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea - Less than a minute's walk from
Osan Air Base is a Thai restaurant with a Thai kitchen staff,
English-language menus with color photos of each dish, exotic
desserts and a Southeast Asian décor that emphasizes natural wood and
traditional Thai designs.
About 80 percent of Chang Pwuck's customers are Americans, most of
them from Osan Air Base and other U.S. military communities on the
peninsula, said owner Kim Chong-pun, who uses the English name
"Catherine." The two-story restaurant is open for lunch and dinner,
from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Chang Pwuck means "white elephant," Kim said, and the
décor employs an elephant motif in the form of wall hangings,
paintings and other images. The walls and ceiling are mainly in a
natural walnut-like finish. Tables and chairs are of dark brown wood.
When we dropped in for lunch the other day we found a clean, pleasant
atmosphere and polite service.
We ordered curried prawns, served with chili paste, fish sauce,
shallots, celery, egg, Thai basil leaf, ground peanuts, chilis,
coconut milk, and bamboo shoots among other ingredients, and a
separate plate of white rice. We found the meal flavorful and
Chang Pwuck's menu indicates "level of spiciness" by the number of
chili peppers that appear next to each item on the menu.
The menu offers such appetizers as spring rolls or chicken in peanut
sauce, a variety of noodle and rice dishes and special dishes like
the curried prawns we had.
But especially intriguing was the menu of Thai desserts: tapioca with
melon in coconut milk, phuak tong kheng bhuad (pumpkin with coconut
milk and brown sugar); bhua loy nga dum (black sesame seed dumplings
in ginger sauce); and khwai kay chuam (banana with sweet syrup in
There are plenty of beverages on the menu - local and imported beers,
whiskey, scotch, coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Large groups such as those holding unit hail and farewell gatherings
can be seated in the upstairs dining room, which includes a bar. For
groups larger than 20, Kim can cater a buffet.
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Prices: Food runs from 4,000 won (about
$4.17) to 15,000 won (about $15.66); alcoholic beverages 3,000-8,000
won (about $3.13-$8.36). Nonalcoholic drinks 1,000-3,000 won (about
Specialties: Thai food, served more or less spicy at the
diner's request. Some house favorites are the seafood dishes and pad
met mamuang (stir fried chicken, pork, beef or prawns with cashew
nuts and red chili).
English menu: Yes, with color photos of each dish.
Clientele: Bills itself as a "family restaurant." Draws
couples, small groups of friends; also large parties and functions
put on by military units.
Location: From the Osan Air Base main gate, cross the
street in the direction of the Seven Eleven convenience store, but
once across immediately face left and proceed up the sidewalk that
runs parallel to the street. Within a minute's walk you'll reach
Chang Pwuck, a beige building with white trim and a large red sign.
Phone: 031-665-3131 or 011-9942-3336
Web site: None.
Speak English: Yes