Phuket “Cake” Thongsodchareondee, chef-owner of Cake Thai Kitchen
Why he’s Food 50: For elevating Thai food in Miami with a no-frills, no-sushi slice of authenticity.
Phuket “Cake” Thongsodchareondee got his nickname for his mother’s favorite craving when she was pregnant with him. He got his first name from the island resort in southern Thailand, where his mother was living when the 2004 tsunami hit. Cake returned home, found his mother, and the two came to Miami to start over. Cake worked at various restaurants, including Makoto in Bal Harbour, until opening his own place about a year ago in a former Chinese take-out spot on Biscayne Boulevard near 79th Street. The food is not fancy, just as Bangkok street carts are bare-bones, but the flavors are legit, laced with the heady aromas of pungent fish sauce, hot chiles, fragrant Thai basil, lemongrass, palm sugar and coconut milk.
This is as authentic Thai as you can find in South Florida. In a sign of the restaurant’s success, Cake signed on with restaurateur Javier Ramirez (Alter) to open a Wynwood location soon. We can hardly wait to see what unfolds in a larger kitchen — and for our next fix of his mom’s sweet duck-egg custard with sticky rice and pandan leaf.
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Where to find him: Cake Thai Kitchen, 7919 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-534-7906 or 786-534-7912. Coming soon to 2825 NW Second Ave., Wynwood.