A line forms on the Madison Avenue sidewalk outside Thai Thai before the restaurant opens on a Saturday morning. The casual Lakewood eatery’s menu of traditional Bangkok street food always draws brisk business.
But devotees are here for one reason: owner Kiwi Wongpeng’s monthly bubble tea event. Limited in number and fantastically themed, the creamy concoctions come topped with doughnuts, mermaid tails, cotton candy or other confections.
“It’s unique and fun,” says Wongpeng. “I make them based on what’s trending at that time.” Take the Stranger Things bubble tea arriving in July, topped with an Eggo waffle and timed for the third season premiere of the Netflix hit.
It started with a tie-dye, unicorn-themed bubble tea topped with a sprinkle doughnut, sour gummy worms and lollipops — a prototype she never meant to sell.
But after jokingly posting it to social media, her friend, late local journalist Nikki Delamotte, encouraged its wide release. The experiment exploded.
The dishes also dazzle, with popular picks including pad kee mao ($9.95), chili-spiked noodles, and kra praow ($9.95), hot basil chicken over jasmine rice. Diners can dabble in rarer Thai dishes such as the roasted duck noodle soup ($9.95), with an herb-spiked broth simmered for close to six hours. Plus, heat lovers can find some of the spiciest local Thai dishes here.
While the daily menu has more traditional bubble tea flavors, Wongpeng is constantly workshopping special recipes, including vegan options such as mango tea. “This year, I focused on making them healthier,” she says. “But they’re still pretty.”
13735 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-961-9655, facebook.com/thaithailakewood