Guess what I did today? I ate Thai Food. Coconut rice! Pad Thai!
And I didn’t even have to go to Skagway. All I did was walk along the river to Rotary Peace Park, where a little red trailer was serving a small selection of the food I’ve missed since moving here.
It’s called the Thai Box, and it’ll be here all summer.
I’m visiting them on their second day open, and based on what I overhear from the people standing around the trailer eating noodles from personal-sized boxes, they’ve already developed a following. “Chris and I just love Thai,” says Shea Hierlihy, watching her partner while he takes orders and charms the customers. That’s his role in their new business venture, and he’s good at it. He’s often carrying people’s food out to them when they don’t hear their name called, and he graciously lets a couple latecomers order past closing time.
She’s the chef. “We were always talking about the lack of Thai food in town,” says Hierlihy.
So they started experimenting at home, eventually working up to a weekly Pad Thai Tuesday with friends. Early last year the food truck idea materialized. “We slowly became more and more serious about it.”
Hierlihy has always wanted to own a food truck. They found the retro red trailer in an online ad and picked it up on their way home from Calgary, where Hierlihy got her Red Seal in January. The Thai Box was born soon after.
Their first day open they sold out of everything after only a few hours. “I was a bit ambitious at fi rst,” says Hierlihy. “I wanted to serve everything.”
Meaning, they had a pretty extensive menu for their small space — everything from curry to Tom Yum soup to chicken satay with peanut sauce to stir-fry. These are all things she hopes to see back on the menu in the future, but for now they’ve streamlined things in order to keep up with prep.
On the day I go their menu features pad Thai, glass noodle salad, and a daily curry — yellow with chicken and coconut rice this time. They also have hand rolled spring rolls, but they were sold out when I arrived. “We’re making spring rolls almost constantly,” Hierlihy says. “Every time we make a huge batch we can’t possibly sell out of, we do.”
Through a trailer window I can see the labour-intensive and delicate process of a fresh batch being rolled.
To drink they have Thai iced tea and coffee; the tea is brewed strong with star anise and cinnamon added.
I enjoy my Thai food with a friend and my dog on a picnic table in the late afternoon sun. Afterwards we even get to go across the road to Riverside Grocery for ice cream. It’s perfect.
Right now the Thai Box is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. It’s proven necessary to close in the afternoons for prep.
They are also planning to take their Thai-food-on-wheels on the road to the summer festivals. And they’re looking for a prep cook.
For now, says Hierlihy, they’re relying on the support of some “very helpful family members, paid in food.”