Chef Miranda originally learned to cook from her parents back in Thailand. She first moved stateside in 2005 to try her hand as a chef in the kitchen of a popular seafood and steakhouse in the culinary mecca of New York City. After a few years, she then made her way to the diverse metropolis of Houston where her heart has been ever since. Despite a computer science degree, programming was never in the cards for Loetkhamfu.
“This is my passion,” she says about food. “I love it so much.”
Thai lovers have probably already tried Kin Dee in The Heights, which Miranda Loetkhamfu co-founded as their Executive Chef. she decides to open her own With Four Region, she wanted to create a small concept that truly represents a quartet of areas in her home country, including Bangkok, North Thailand, the Northeast (Esan), and also Southern Thailand.
Each category of cuisine possesses its own unique identity, many with strong, spicy flavors. Being sure to try all of them is much of the fun!
When Loetkhamfu gets asked which of her culinary creations people simply have to try, her immediate response is, “I would love it if they tried all of them!”
During Four Region’s soft opening, the Tamarind Pork Ribs were met with rave reviews. This appetizer includes marinated pork ribs with tamarind sauce and fried basil on top. You can’t go wrong getting one or two orders.
Whoever is a duck lover should also take note of the “North” section on the menu and order Larb Kuar as a main dish. With stir-fried minced duck, Thai chili powder, crispy ginger, and shallots on top, plus vegetables and sticky rice, the entree transcends being delicious.
“For someone who comes into the restaurant and wants to order a dish not found in other Thai restaurants, I would recommend going for the northern and southern dishes,” the chef states.
However, for those who are more traditional, the Bangkok menu includes delicious versions of favorites such as Pad Thai and Panang Curry, made to order at the spice levels of each guest’s choice.
“We’re trying to not make people feel guilty about drinking, so taking a more healthy approach about it,” Loetkhamfu laughs.
With a stunning interior, comfortable seating, and even a full patio for outdoor dining, Four Region is rapidly making its impact in the local neighborhood while also attracting Thai food aficionados from all over the city.
“I had the vision to start this in a prominent dining area and suburban community, so that’s why I picked the Spring area,” Loetkhamfu says. “It’s a restaurant where you can relax, enjoy good food and a drink.”
Chef Miranda Loetkhamfu knows firsthand how a Thai restaurant can rely on staples like pad Thai and curries to fuel its success. Kin Dee, the Heights favorite she opened in the middle of the pandemic with friend and business partner Lukkaew Srasrisuwan, is thriving and expanding with other concepts.
With the grand opening of Four Region Thai in Spring over the weekend, however, Loetkhamfu wanted to fulfill another mission: to introduce customers to dishes of her native Thailand with recipes not always found at similar restaurants in Houston.
“Different parts of Thailand have their own food many people don’t know about,” Loetkhamfu said. “I want to surprise people and show something new in my restaurant.”
In a city full of Asian-owned businesses, Four Region Thai, 8220 Louetta, joins a growing number of kitchens showcasing a wider breadth of cuisines, whether it’s Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese or other Thai establishments, such as James Beard Award-winner Benchawan Jabthong Painter’s Street to Kitchen.
But Loetkhamfu said her aim is to bring on more heat, chiles, fish sauce and a host of Thai spices and herbs in every dish.
“It’s OK to challenge people a little,” said Loetkhamfu, who was born in northern Thailand but grew up in the southern part, where she said the food packs more heat and is full of seafood options.
The Bangkok section of the menu features the more common dishes found at Thai restaurants: crab fried rice, curries, pad Thai and stir-fried vegetables for those with vegetarian diets.
Plates available in the “North” part of the menu don’t hold back on the Scoville scale. Khaw soi ga, a hearty soup with egg noodles swimming in a golden turmeric-tinged broth, and larb, a dish of stir-fried minced meat, are not uncommon at similar Thai restaurants.
But Loetkhamfu’s num ngeaw, a bowl of rice noodles dotted with fork-tender pork ribs swimming in a tomato-and-curry broth, is rare. She also added sah nuer, thinly sliced filet mignon doused in chile paste, because it’s her father’s favorite dish.
The dishes from the Northeast, which represent the Esan region, focus on salads and soups full of spices and fresh herbs thrown in.
For the South, two chile-packed curries are balanced with a more mild option, the moo hong, where cubes of fatty pork belly are slowly cooked in sweet soy sauce with spices like coriander and star anise.
A liquor license was approved last month, which allowed Loetkhamfu to serve cocktails that also incorporate Thai ingredients. A spin on gin and tonic includes peppercorns and cloves, while a rum-based drink includes lychee and coconut.
Loetkhamfu moved to Houston in 2007, but she started off running a Thai massage business in River Oaks before opening Kin Dee in the Heights with her partners.
Address: 8220 Louetta Rd # 100, Spring, TX 77379
Tuesday - Thursday: 11AM-3PM, 5PM-9:30PM
Friday: 10AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM