Rai Lay brings authentic Thai street food to South End

rai lay
Photo Provided by Rai Lay Thai of Charlotte

It’s no secret that Thai cuisine is a go-to comfort food. With rich, satisfying fan-favorites such as Shrimp Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice, Thai food has become the very definition of edible therapy. For this reason alone, the recent addition of a new Thai spot in Charlotte’s South End is a victory far too delicious not to share.

Named after the breathtaking beach, Rai Lay Thai cuisine is nested in the heart of South End. The upscale-meets-comfortable spot features a full bar with specialty cocktails, like the Sake Cucumber Crush: a refreshing mix of Thai basil, cucumber, Ty Ku cucumber Sake, Tanqueray gin, and a splash of soda.

The bar also holds a generous selection of beers on tap, sporting local brews like Old Mecklenburg. The non-alcoholic Thai Iced Tea is another drink to consider, as the orange creamsicle-like taste is a guilty pleasure worth indulging in. The sweet-tasting drink is served in a mason jar, adding to the drink’s charm.

To start your course at Rai Lay, try one of the many appetizer options. The Fried Spring Rolls or the Edamame are classic choices, as they compliment a wide array of Thai plates. For those looking to branch out, however, the Papaya Salad offers an abstract mix of chili-tossed papaya in a fresh fish sauce—the result is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

The lunch menu features Thai street food classics, such as the much-loved Basil Chicken and a variety of fried rices, among others. For dinner, the restaurant offers a hearty selection of dishes, from the stir-fried Drunken Noodles to mouth-watering vegetarian option Veggie Lover (Pad Prick,) a blend of seasonal veggies and steamed rice.