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Trip to Vermont becomes permanent for mobile restaurateur

MIDDLEBURY — Six years after a quick trip from her native Thailand to Vermont to visit a friend, Wanna Phasuk is still here. You’ll often find her parked outside of Vermont Sun Sports and Fitness in Middlebury serving up authentic Thai and fusion dishes from the comfort of her bright yellow and red food cart. 
Phasuk met her husband, Middlebury-native John Filan, while visiting Vermont in 2010. After going back and forth between her native Thailand and the Green Mountain State, she finally settled here and for the past four years has been adapting to and embracing the Vermont lifestyle — winters and all.
Thai@Home, the fitting name for her homey cart, is the product of Filan’s carpentry skills and Phasuk’s love for food and cooking. Chef Hasna, her name in the kitchen, has been cooking with her mother ever since she was a child living in Rayong, Thailand.
“In that time I just cooked because my mom wanted me to and so I did,” she said. “I didn’t know that it would be so good for me, and I didn’t know that I would be cooking when I grew up.”
Thai@Home opened last August, parked at the time outside of Middlebury Chocolates off Mill Street. It has since moved to Exchange Street and the parking lot of the fitness center to allow visitors more parking space. Additionally, Phasuk brings her dishes to the Middlebury Farmer’s Markets. 
Phasuk’s menu, small but diverse, is inspired by her mother’s recipes and her own experiences traveling throughout Asia. 
“Some of the food is my mom’s recipes, some I adapt for the people here, because they can’t eat food that’s too spicy. I have to adapt a little bit for that,” she said. “I add from my experiences because I like to travel and look at food and different tastes around the world.”
Dishes include best-seller Pad Thai, available with chicken or tofu; Dimsum, Chinese pork or tofu dumplings; Gyoza, a traditional Japanese dumpling and Phasuk’s declared favorite; Sa La Pao, another dumpling popular in China and Vietnam; green curry with chicken and vegetables; red curry with chicken or tofu; and, for dessert, a traditional Thai black sticky rice.
A sampling of the prices shows that the Pad Thai is listed at $8 on the menu and the sticky rice goes for $6,
Phasuk also offers a daily special that rotates among a range of traditional dishes, such as chicken teriyaki, sushi and stir fried rice. When the weather gets cold, Phasuk caters to the inevitable sniffles and colds and dishes out Tom Yum soup, or “the healing soup,” as coined by her husband. Also on the winter menu is the traditional Thai soup, Tom Yum, a mix of herbs and vegetables sure to cure any cold weather blues.
Phasuk and her husband, Weybridge residents, cook with an array of vegetables from their garden and greenhouse. 
“We grow all the vegetables there that we cook with,” she said.
Although slightly cheaper than many of its competitors, Phasuk’s dishes are only available for take-out. However, under the shade of a nearby tree, she has set up a picnic bench, built by her husband, for hungry visitors to sit and enjoy their snack or meal.
Head down to Exchange Street because a visit to Thai@Home promises to be delicious, nutritious, inviting and authentic.
Thai@Home is at 812 Exchange St. in Middlebury. It’s open Monday-Friday for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner 4 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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