Wichuta Nuanta — or Noi — moved to Prince Rupert in 1997 from her home country of Thailand. Last year

Wichuta Nuanta — or Noi — moved to Prince Rupert in 1997 from her home country of Thailand. Last year

STORY AND VIDEO: Aroy is Thai for delicious

In the village where she was raised, at mealtime, family and friends sit together on a mat surrounding an array of colourful dishes


“I’m okay because at that time I have no boyfriend when I stay in Canada, just simple life: go to work, come home, for seven years,” she said.

There were only a couple families from Thailand then, and they were close. One of her friends asked why she hadn’t met any Canadian boys yet, and that she knew of a single man in Thailand who she might like.

They were introduced through letters and photographs. Sak decided that he wasn’t going to send a photo that only showed his best attributes, he wanted to show Noi the real deal.

“I sent a really bad picture to her. Before I think I’m going to send her the really handsome photo, but no, I want the real picture. I don’t have any hair. I’m getting old, 27-years-old and I thought I’d be a monk,” he said with a grin, pulling off his baseball cap and rubbing his head.

After a few correspondences, Noi decided to move back to Thailand — but not before getting her Canadian citizenship, just in case. She didn’t think she could only get to know the man through letters. She wanted to be with him in person to make sure they were right for each other.

When she returned, Noi, with finely tuned English skills, found a job as a receptionist dealing with foreigners. Sak worked as a manager at a supermarket in Bangkok, a change from growing up on a rice farm.

After two years, they married, and then Whitney was born in 2007. “After that, I find out that Thailand is not good when you have a kid. You have to have more money to support your kid. If you want a good life, you have to get a better job,” Noi said.

As a family, they moved back to Canada. Their daughter was able to get citizenship right away, but Sak had to come on a visitor visa and then apply as a landed immigrant. For the first year, Noi was the breadwinner for the family to show to immigration officials that she could support them.

Once again, she dove back into the food and beverage industry. At No. 1 catering, she assisted the chef with meal preparation, and after her husband received his immigration papers, he started working at Galaxy Gardens.

The couple had their second daughter, Sydney, in 2012 and has since taken the children back to Thailand to explore their roots. But despite the rain, and lack of beach access, they say the children prefer the North Coast to Thailand.

“Last summer we went back, and they said it’s too hot for them. They’re used to the weather here,” Noi said, adding that they were also annoyed with the insects that wouldn’t leave their little legs alone.

The city is home for them now. Noi wanted to be her own boss, and when the restaurant was opened in October last year, she got her wish, although it’s a lot more than she bargained for.

“Maybe they tie my leg in here. I can’t go nowhere now,” she said with a laugh.

Running the only Thai restaurant in the area, Noi wants to create an authentic experience for her guests. Her mother-in-law sewed the checkered tablecloths, the TV on the back wall flashes images of Thailand or cultural dances.

The ingredients come from special orders to Vancouver, or from Thailand. For patrons who find the dishes too spicy, Noi will make them a drink made from bael, a fruit from South East Asia that tames the heat.

Although, the restaurant doesn’t go as far as mats on the floor where people share multiple dishes, Noi finds more and more people opening their minds to try unfamiliar dishes.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Cancer Care Unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, April 14, will benefit from a $100,000 donation from Prince Rupert Port Authority towards renovations. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Port Authority donates $100,000 to hospital renovations

Cancer Care Unit at PRRH to undergo upgradesat PRRH to undergo upgrades

Teresa Van sorts bottles at the April 10 Rainmakers Interact Club bottle drive to earn funds for six Seabin garbage collection units for harbours and waterfronts in the local region. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Bottle drive successful with more collected than can be sorted in one day

Rainmakers Interact Club supports local community with funds toward ocean garbage collection units

Flights are to resume to Prince Rupert and Sandspit airports under an Air Canada and federal government $5.9 billion agreement that was reached on April 12. A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
$5.879 billion agreement between Air Canada and Fed’s will assist YPR in re-opening

Prince Rupert Regional Airport to reopen flights by June 1st, if not earlier

BC Housing townhouses on Kootenay Ave. were demolished during March to make way for new affordable residential units by Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Despite a recent reduction in units project will still be able to house many

Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society says 60 units is still the plan

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read