Thai theater is highly stratified, from Khon, classical masked dances for the royal court, and Lakhon Nai, stylized plays for the nobility, to the ancient Nang shadow puppets and the folk-art of Lakhon. The food at Char Thai is closer to Likae, the popular live theater enjoyed throughout the countryside. Char's cozy neighborhood location, unpretentious decor and consistently heartwarming food make it the popular choice for an authentic and inexpensive ethnic lunch or dinner. The 80-item menu offers practically every appetizer, soup and entrée anyone could want, even if they've lived or traveled extensively in Thailand. Most basic dishes offer a choice of beef (neau), chicken (gai), pork (moo) and sometimes shrimp (koong). There are lots of noodle dishes and substantial choices for vegetarians, too.
Thai China Palace, 4853 E. Speedway Blvd., 881-5068
3. Karuna's Thai Plate, 1917 E. Grant Road, 325-4129