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Amelia Islander

Thai Spice Café

Dec 10, 2019 01:48PM ● By Tom Barrett

A few weeks back, I had an opportunity to catch up with a wonderful friend and enjoy the flavors of Southeast Asia without leaving the island. These days, the wandering Girl Hobo, also known as Karen Miller, can be a little hard to pin down, but we had the chance to meet over dinner at Thai Spice Cafe on Sadler Road, across from the Publix Shopping Center.

Fernandina Beach has long offered wonderful seafood, and through the years, different foods from around the globe have trickled into town. It wasn’t until 2018, however, that a taste of Thai cuisine made it over the bridge.

We snuck into the Thai Spice Cafe right before the rush on a fast-paced Friday night. Karen and I settled in and spent the first ten minutes or so talking without ever glancing at the menu. When our server returned, we ordered drinks and got down to business. We had the opportunity to speak with owner and manager Amy Duong, and at her suggestion we decided on an order of their Golden Money Bags.

Our drinks arrived, a Chang beer from Thailand for me and a glass of Pinot Grigio for Karen, and only moments later our appetizers arrived. The Golden Money Bags are wonton skins stuffed with cream cheese and real crab with a hint of curry, and fried golden brown. Unlike its cousin, the crab rangoon, the Golden Money Bags are not pre-fab buffet fodder, but crunchy little drops of molten goodness.

For our entrees, our host Amy suggested the Crying Tiger and Roasted Duck Curry. If you love Thai food and your significant other is a culinary stick-in-the-mud, the Crying Tiger is the perfect dish for them. An authentic meal from northeastern Thailand known as “Seur Rong Hai,” the Crying Tiger is charcoal-grilled steak marinated with traditional herbs and spices. My steak was served with grilled mushrooms and onions and roasted asparagus, and a side of fried rice. If you’re into spicy and looking to cry, you will want to ask for added heat; while delicious, the fare at Thai Spice Café is tailored to a more sensitive clientele.

Karen enjoyed the Roasted Duck Curry, a treat from central Thailand. The duck is served in a broth that is at once savory, spicy, and sweet, with fresh tomato, peppers, onions, and steamed potato. When I think of Thai food, this is exactly the dish that pops into my head. I loved the curry broth, and when Karen was finished, I gobbled it up with her leftover steamed rice.

As we finished our meal, we were surprised with dessert. What a surprise, indeed! On our plate were four pieces of banana, wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and fried until golden brown. The bananas were served with green macha powder ice cream, a drizzle of honey, and toasted sesame seeds. This was a real showstopper. The rich flavor of the banana with the crispy crunch of the wrapper made for a memorable treat.

Thai Spice Café is a welcome addition to the Fernandina Beach food scene. They are located at 1460 Sadler Road and open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.