Flagstaff’s culinary map continues to expand and with it, so do the food options. It just so happens that adding to those options is the ethos of Asia Station, one of Southside’s newest businesses and one of only a handful of Asian-fusion restaurants in town.
Owners Kampy and Ladda Khonphian opened the 11-table eatery—located in the South San Francisco Street location formerly occupied by Streetside Saigon—on Feb. 5 and are meeting the challenges that accompany introducing a new food spot.
“The snowstorm hit on our opening day, so it made it a little challenging at first,” Ladda says.
But inclement weather won’t stop the couple, who recently celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. Both are working daily to make Asia Station something a little different from what Flagstaff currently offers.
“Our concept is street food, where when you go you can find soup, rice and many things,” Ladda says. “We already have many good Thai restaurants in town for example, so we wanted to do something a little different.”
Food from several countries, including Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam, is represented on the menu in an effort to broaden the scope for customers.
Something else that distinguishes the offerings is they were created, and the recipes devised, by the Khonphians’ circle of friends.
In other words, it came together through a community effort.
“We gathered all the ingredients and ideas from our friends here in Flagstaff,” Ladda says.
Before settling down in New Mexico, the former Dara Thai employee lived in Flagstaff for eight years, during which time she said she made many friends in town.
“And friends are forever,” she says. “They have also all supported us so much in opening Asia Station.”
One of those friends is current Dara Thai owner Suchada Tirakul who hired Ladda when she first came to Flagstaff, later sending her to Santa Fe to own and operate the first Dara Thai outside of Arizona.
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“It was so nice and she was such a big inspiration to me,” Ladda says. Kampy and Ladda ran Santa Fe’s Dara Thai for 10 years before deciding to come back to Flagstaff and open Asia Station.
Their son, Vincent, who attends a local middle school, stops by after school to eat before walking to their nearby home downtown, and says he enjoys everything on the menu.
The couple has their favorite menu items, too. For Ladda it's the Pho, a Vietnamese rice noodle dish submerged in hot broth with a choice of braised beef, pork or chicken.
“I never get tired of noodles,” she says.
For Kampy, his favorite dish is the Hai Nan chicken, a meal of steamed poultry served over jasmine rice and hai nan, or sweet chili sauce.
And, according to the couple, early customer favorites include the Salmon Soya and the Japanese yellow curry. The former features salmon, carrot and daikon root with seaweed and steamed rice in Japanese soy sauce. The latter: pork, carrots, onions and a side of rice.
“Not to mention, I have one guy who is already a regular for the orange chicken,” Kampy says.
Other menu items include duck noodle soup, miso soup, Udon, a variety of salads, several types and preparations of fish, Japanese Tonkatsu—something that is not so easy to find in Flagstaff—and more.
Several options are vegetarian-friendly, such as the spring rolls and chow mein with fried or steamed tofu and an assortment of vegetables.
“We also kept everything not spicy, so it’s good for everyone,” Ladda says.
“Instead, you can determine your own spice if you want since we provide chili flakes, paste, sriracha and other sauces at the table,” Kampy adds.
Asia Station is located at 121 S. San Francisco St. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition to their eat-in restaurant, Asia Station also offers delivery service. For more information, or to place an order, call 440-5381.