A taste of Bangkok: Authentic flavors in Upland

Riceberry Thai Kitchen is bringing a taste of Bangkok to Upland. (Photo courtesy of Riceberry Thai Kitchen)

Five years ago, my wanderlust flew me to Bangkok, Thailand. As a self-proclaimed foodie and California native, I possess a strong affinity for beautiful beaches and food you remember long after you’ve revelled in their excellence.

With my adorations in mind, traveling to Southeast Asia was an ideal way to fulfill my desires while experiencing a new and exciting culture. As is the case for most of us tech-savvy mortals, Google had become my best friend in the weeks leading up to my departure to identify the best option for Thai street food.

My search led me to Yaowarat Street Market in Thailand, also referred to as Thailand’s Chinatown. It was the second evening of my trip when I ventured out with anticipation for this magical place. Historically, it has tempted locals and foreigners alike with its food for over 200 years.

The wait was worthwhile, and the food was remarkable. It’s safe to say I left Thailand a little fatter and much happier after having the opportunity to delight in the many flavors of such a beautiful country.

As a new student at the Claremont Colleges, my foodie status lives on. Claremont has become my oyster to explore, and I mentally began my quest a week ago during politics class. While discussing the U.S. Constitution, I started reminiscing about the exotic tastes of nam pla, curry, mint, and coconut.

It wasn’t long after that I discovered Riceberry Thai Kitchen in Upland. In an unassuming shopping center, it occupies a small space outfitted in modernity. I always hear that good things come in small packages, and Riceberry is no exception.

Crispy banana rolls served with coconut ice cream. (Photo courtesy of Riceberry Thai Kitchen)

It was lunch hour when I visited and was lucky enough to take advantage of their specials that are available between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. I thought: “$10 for three entrees and free egg rolls? I’m in.”

I tried the pad see ew, pineapple fried rice, and red curry, and with every bite, I was transported back to that memorable night in Bangkok. The flavors were robust, authentic, and truly reminiscent of a chef who mastered their craft. My dishes were served with a heart-shaped side of rice. It was a nice touch that solidified my love for Thai cuisine.

Following this beautiful meal, satisfying my sweet tooth with Riceberry’s Banana Rolls –– banana egg rolls topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup –– seemed like the proper thing to do. Can you hear my heart singing? They were that good.

As one could guess, I returned home with leftovers to last a couple of days. I’m already plotting my next trip to Riceberry to try their vast array of smoothies and other delectable Thai dishes.

With food so good that it inspired this article, I thought it was only right to acknowledge the owners of Riceberry: Naphat Tang and Aya Kambur. According to Kambur, they took ownership of the establishment seven months ago with the hopes of bringing a taste of Bangkok to Upland.

“We want to increase exposure to Thai cuisine,” Kambur said when I spoke to him. To do so, he is offering a 10 percent discount to all students of the Claremont Colleges with a college ID from now until Oct. 31.

Well, Riceberry, you have succeeded in your goal. Upland is now rich with the taste of Bangkok. My stomach and my heart both thank you. 5Cs, don’t wait any longer. Venture out to Riceberry to relish the savory taste of Thai cuisine right in your backyard.

Nikki Selassie is a writing and rhetoric major at Pitzer College. She suffers from a recurring case of wanderlust and enjoys all things related to food and the outdoors.

Yellow Curry with Riceberry rice. (Photo courtesy of Riceberry Thai Kitchen)
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