A chef whose dishes proved popular at a Lancashire market has branched out on her own with a new Thai food restaurant.

The Rak Thai based, in Whalley Banks (near Lidl), is being managed by Sirinthip Gaines, better known to many as Ann, who spent seven years as a chef at the Thai Shack stall in Rawtenstall market.

She said: “We were due to open earlier in the year but the lockdown put things back.

“I spent seven years working for someone else and then built up my confidence to open up my own place. We only opened our doors this week so haven’t done much publicity.”

Thai cuisine tends to fall into four categories: tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), and gaeng (curries). The menu features some famous Thai dishes such as ‘pad thai’ as well as house specials with a ‘spice guide’ – mild medium or hot.

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Thai cuisine is renowned for being healthy as it is based on vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh herbs and spices. Ann said there was certainly a demand for Thai food in Blackburn and customers would be pleasantly surprised. Ann says she was taught by her mother who helped perfect her unique recipes.

She said: “Thai food is very healthy and all our meals are made fresh and on order. Our authentic meals are cooked with rapeseed oil and I think people will love it.

“I think it is a little bit different for the town too as there are not many Thai food places about.

“All food is halal and that includes the chicken and beef dishes as well as the sauce. I have sourced this specially from local wholesalers.”

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Ann said: “We can’t do take out at the moment and I have had a few customers call. There is plenty of seating inside and a family room in the back for larger numbers.”

The restaurant is open daily Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 10pm and eat-in only at the moment.