Thai native starts new mobile kitchen in Kennewick

Thongploei “Kwan” Bridge has been cooking since she was a teen in her native Thailand. She’s been sharing her food with friends and family and in restaurants ever since. Now, she’s brought her special touch to a kitchen in the Tri-Cities. Bridge and her husband, Cameron, have opened a new mobile kitchen, Thai Co. The Iron Wok, serving lunch and dinner four days a week in Kennewick. You can find their 31-foot motorhome-turned-restaurant parked at 7425 W. Clearwater Ave., in the lot of Bella’s Office Furniture just east of Columbia Center Boulevard.

Kwan Bridge is originally from Surin, the southeast province of Thailand, where she lived until she was 15. Then, she went to work as a housekeeper and cook in Bangkok to support her family. The family loved her food and sent her to school to learn English. In 1992, she moved to Hawaii with her 6-year-old daughter and several years later married her husband, who was stationed there with the Navy. After he retired from the military he began working in Pendleton. That’s where Kwan started her first food truck in 2003. “(It) was successful enough that we thought we could make it work as a restaurant,” she told the Herald.

But the costs of a full-service restaurant proved too much. “Even though closing the restaurant doors was hard to do, we learned a lot and didn’t give up on my dream of opening another Thai food truck,” she said. She went to work in the kitchens at Wild Horse Casino, learning from its executive chefs. Five years ago, she started working in various Thai restaurants in the Tri-Cities. “Then early this year, with my husband’s support, we got a wild idea and ran with it,” she said.

They bought the motorhome and converted it into the mobile kitchen. She does all the cooking, her husband is the business manager and their daughter, Tawan, helps with the website and social media.

The menu changes daily but every day they offer some of their most popular dishes, such as pineapple curry chicken, Phad Thai with chicken, salad rolls with peanut sauce and fried spring rolls. Entrees start at about $11. They accept takeout orders and plan to cater private parties and events. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. They are closed Sunday through Tuesday. Phone: 509-788-8212

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