Remembering Thai Kitchen’s Lisa Suanpirintra Ruhl

Lisa Suanpirintra Ruhl died last month in her native Thailand and was remembered in ceremonies this weekend in Seattle. She was a pioneer. A pad Thai pioneer, if you will. Somebody who loved to cook and loved to feed people and loved to help spread the good word about Thailand and Thai food. Her brother Jack estimates she had some kind of connection with most of the Thai restaurants in the Puget Sound region. "About 75 percent," he estimates. "I'm very proud of my sister. Thirty years ago she was the one who introduced Thai food to American people here in the Pacific Northwest." We can at least say for sure Lisa was one of the first. And certainly the first on the Eastside. Her "Thai Kitchen," which opened in 1981, is still in operation in Bellevue, run by her daughters Tammy and Cindy.