Keo explains that "Even on my day off, I go to the farm to
pick the herbs and spices, especially the mint and basil.
which wilt if picked too early. I'm tempted to skip it
sometimes, but I don't because many of my customers
appreciate and expect the fresh herbs in my dishes."
What is the secret to the success
and the unique appeal of Keo's Thai cuisine?
"It's in the herbs and spices" according to Keo
Sananikone, author of the international best selling
Keo's Thai Cuisine cookbook and owner of the
restaurant of the same name. And to assure that
these ingredients are always available and of the
quality he demands, for over three decades Keo has
been growing the herbs and spices himself.
Keo, nowadays as much farmer as restaurateur, has
two farms on the North Shore of O'ahu. At these
farms he grows Thai fruit trees, vegetables,
flowers, as well as every single herbs and fresh
spices used in his restaurant. Most of the flowers,
potted trees, and plants in his Honolulu restaurant
also come from these farms, in addition to the fifty
pounds of basil and thirty pounds of mint picked and
delivered every evening.
||Love Thai food? See why "Keo's Thai Cuisine" is on the international best-seller list.
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Keo. who holds a degree in architecture from the University
of Washington, learned about farming through borrowing books
from the public library and through trial and error. He now
thinks of his farming as a `necessary hobby'. saying "When
you grow your own, you can afford to be picky."
Keo's enviable reputation has spread both locally, by
word-of-mouth across the island, and in the national and
global press. You can ask almost anyone on the island about
this gourmet eatery, which caters as much to locals as it
does to visiting celebrities.
Unquestionably one of the most well known and most beautiful
restaurants in Hawaii, its interior is not only lavishly
decorated with colorful orchids and other Hawaiian flowers
and plants, but also displays part of Keo's impressive
collection of Thai and local art, including woodcarvings,
original paintings and embroidered tapestries.
The result: a restaurant that has been written up in the New
York Times, Los Angeles Times and in a range of national and
international publications including Newsweek, which
describes Keo's as "One of the choicest dining spots in
Keo explains the business philosophy that has made his
restaurants an enduring success for over seventeen years: "
I offer great food at affordable prices, served in an
interesting and attractive setting by a friendly but
professional staff who are dedicated to treating every
customer like a star!"