Spoon Thai’s Former Chef Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight

Rainbow Cuisine, just up Western Avenue, has been discovered by the foodies.

photo: rainbow cuisine

The i-san sausage balls at the nine-month-old Thai restaurant.

The Chicago-foodie message board LTHForum excels at sniffing out great food at ethnic storefronts all over the metropolitan area. So when the forum goes bonkers about a place, take notice—as with this week’s fever of posts about a nine-month-old Thai restaurant called Rainbow Cuisine (4825 N. Western Ave., 773-754-7660).

The couple that runs Rainbow, Pramote Rukprueksachart (the husband) and Wanpen Phosawang (the wife), immigrated from Thailand about 12 years ago and got food-service jobs, him as a delivery driver and her as a sous chef at Spoon Thai, the unassuming two-star spot just two blocks down Western.

“[Phosawang] basically learned how to fry an egg, initially,” says Chris Vo, Rainbow’s manager. She worked her way up to head chef, and then left a year and a half ago to open Rainbow with Rukprueksachart and the after-school assistance of their 14-year-old son.

Devoted Spoonerists will recognize the style at Rainbow, including the fermented sausage balls called i-san and Vo’s recommendation, the papaya salad. The highest price on the menu is $10.95, and it’s BYO in the 12- to 15-seat eat-in space.

If you can get a seat, that is. LTHers have stormed the place. “[Monday] morning, there were customers waiting outside the doors to have some bubble tea,” Vo says.

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