“Thai” comes first in the name of Joey Li’s new North Charleston restaurant, but he says “Fusion” is the operative word.
“We kind of jump on the trends,” Li says of his family, which has owned restaurants in the Charleston area dating back to the 1980s. And right now, eaters want a wide range of choices, so Li’s serving Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean dishes at Thai East Fusion, in addition to the standard lineup of Thai stir-fried noodles and curries.
When Li’s parents opened Tasty Wok, New China, China Warrior 1 and China Warrior 2, Chinese buffets were among the most locally-popular outlets for Asian food. Then, when diners acquired a taste for hibachi and sushi, they opened Sakura.
At Thai East Fusion, Li is the sole owner; he says his retired parents are “more like guiding me.” They’ve also supplied the family recipe for kimchi, which Li is selling as a $2.95 standalone item.
“I don’t want to give out too much about it,” he says. “We just have only Napa cabbage, since that’s the sweetest vegetable, and we mix the spices and herbs together and then we have it sit in the fridge to fuse. It’s kind of a family secret: Other people have different ways, but I see our way as keeping the vegetable firm.”
Located at 5070 International Blvd., Suite 108, Thai East Fusion is open 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 12 noon-10 p.m., Saturday and 12 noon-9 p.m., Sunday. For more information, call 843-737-4371 or visit thaieastfusion.com.