Students looking for a new ethnic restaurant around campus have finally met their match as Durham’s newest restaurant—Bamee/Azure—opened its doors for the first time on Monday, Feb. 27.
The “Thai street noodle and Asian fusion” restaurant, as they like to describe themselves, was a surprise to many students who were unaware of the grand opening. Although the opening was a surprise to students, the restaurant had been in the planning process for over a year.
Bamee/Azure owner Pat Teepratiganon was excited to see her business idea finally become a reality. When asked why she chose Durham as a location for her restaurant, Teepratiganon said, “I wanted to do something fun with students, like noodles.” Her friend is the owner of the Thai restaurant in Dover called Khaophums, and had suggested the college town of Durham as an ideal location for Teepratiganon’s business venture, though she said it was challenging to find a location in the town.
“It took [me] months to find a spot. Originally [I] was going to take the place of The Juicery,” Teepratiganon said. Ultimately, Teepratiganon settled on a location in Jenkins Court.
While Bamee/Azure is Teepratiganon’s first independent business venture, her family was no stranger to the restaurant business, as they used to own a restaurant in Waltham, Massachusetts, which was later moved to Arlington, Massachusetts. Teepratiganon’s mother, the executive chef of Bamee/Azure, has been cooking for restaurants for the past 25 years and is also the mastermind behind Bamee’s crispy chicken, which is undoubtedly the signature menu item of the restaurant.
The menu at Bamee offers a variety of Thai food options. Customers have the options of appetizers, noodle soups, noodle dishes, salads or rice dishes. Some of the appetizers include Tako Balls (Japanese squid balls with sriracha and barbeque sauce), Pork Gyoza (dumplings), and Healthy Rolls (spring rolls). Their website, bameeazure.com, advertises both the Clear Tom Yum Soup (“one of the most popular street noodle soup for Thai people”) and the Massaman Curry with Crispy Chicken (“Thai famous Massaman curry, crispy chicken, onion and peanuts, served with side of Jasmine Rice) as two of their main menu items.
I had the opportunity to try some of the food at Bamee during their grand opening, and I was not disappointed. I started my meal with the Pork Gyoza, which are very similar to dumplings or wontons. For my main dish I had Massaman Curry with Crispy Chicken because Teepratiganon suggested it. At first I was taken back by the idea of the curry sauce having peanuts in it, but, when I took my first bite, the subtleness of the peanuts combined with the intense flavor of the curry was a great fusion to top off the already delicious crispy chicken. The helpings are more than enough food, and I was more than satisfied by the end of my meal.
Bamee/Azure is a nice, clean and modern restaurant. For now, they are staying as a “self-service” restaurant, meaning that customers order their food at the counter and seat themselves. They currently do not offer delivery, but do offer take-out. If you’re looking to go out with friends for dinner or lunch, I highly suggest trying Bamee/Azure.