850 White Station
by Michael Donahue
Somewhere over the Rainbow I decided, “This is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in a long time.” I’m referring to the Rainbow Panang Curry at Mosa Asian Bistro.
Owner Eddie Pao said the coconut curry dish, which is made with 25 ingredients, is their best-seller.
“They sell most of it to me,” joked server Patrick Le, who orders it a couple of times a week. “It has a tangy kick unlike any other curry.”
“It surpassed the Szechuan, the most popular dish for 20 years,” said Pao’s son, Alex.
I’ve known Eddie since he opened his first restaurant in Memphis forty-something years ago on Summer. I did a story about his career as a motion picture director in Taiwan. Alex said he and his wife recently gave Eddie several framed photos from his days as a director. One pictured a young Eddie directing a kung fu actor. “My dad had long curly black hair,” Alex said. “I’ve never seen an Asian guy who has long hair like that.”
Eddie compared his Rainbow Panang Curry to a movie that becomes a classic.“
Part of his legacy is introducing eclectic, authentic Asian cuisine to Mid-Southerners,” Alex said.
The basic ingredients in Rainbow Panang Curry are snow peas, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and baby corn. The sauce includes lemon grass, cilantro, coconut milk and coconut cream. “It’s our most expensive sauce to produce,” Alex said. “The price of coconut milk goes up and down.”
A French chef, who was visiting Memphis, taught Eddie to make panang curry. “He gave Eddie the template and he filled out the rest,” Alex said.
Eddie named it “Rainbow” because of the colors. And, Alex added, “It has so many flavors.
People write a line or two on their credit card slips about how much they like the dish, which sells for $11 at lunch and dinner, Eddie said. He remembered one that read, “I’ve never had this dish in my life. Thank you very much.”
Mosa Asian Bistro, Eastgate Shopping Center, 850 S. White Station in Eastgate Shopping Center; 901-683-8889