WARRNAMBOOL's south-east Asian food trade is booming with a woman now bringing her knowledge of Thai hospitality to the city's main drag.
Lamphai Sonsaeng and her partner have leased the Liebig Street restaurant where cafe Hunni's closed in October.
Ms Sonsaeng and a team of three have refitted the space to offer breakfast, lunch and take-away meals by the start of February before later opening an upstairs area for seated dining.
The eatery, called Madala 134, will cook traditional Thai meals such as curries, stir-frys, noodles, handmade starters, but also western breakfast options.
It will be the eighth Thai restaurant in the city, and is among a growing trend of south-east Asian eateries such as the Malaysian pop-up cafe Penang Alley, which opened last month.
Ms Sonsaeng, a south-west resident of two years, previously managed a restaurant with 13 staff in Thailand.
She's also has worked in another Warrnambool Thai restaurant and now wants to branch off on her own.
"I have wanted to say this is my shop. I love cooking for people and seeing people enjoy it makes me happy," Ms Sonsaeng said.
"I want to do it my way, it's really Thai food, it's fresh. I want to make the food that I eat every day."
She said there was a growing demand for Asian food in the city.
"People love Asian food. When I worked previously in a restaurant in Warrnambool the dishes were popular," Ms Sonsaeng said.
She said the restaurant would employ up to five staff and could employ more after the business found its feet.
First National Real Estate agent Christine Steere said the site had leased quickly due to the lower concentration of food outlets in the block, mostly occupied by retail stores.
"We needed some more food in the retail end to give people something to eat between shopping and keep them in the main street," Ms Steere said.
Ms Steere said the agency would now look to sell the leased building.
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