The Cuisine Scene
Brenda Hill

One of my favorite restaurants, Papaya Bay in the Tower Center on County Line Road, has some exciting new changes: a new name, Chanida, and new specials at incredible prices.


It’s still a calming oasis with their three-tired petal fountain, carved wood décor, and soothing background music, but now, in addition to the main dishes that I love, their Lunch and Happy Hour Specials are unusually good values. 


For about the same price as a sandwich and fries, Chanida now offers freshly prepared lunch specials from 11am - 3pm seven days a week. You have your choice of about eighteen dishes for $6.95 including Orange Chicken, Thai BBQ Chicken, Sweet & Sour, Beef Broccoli, several curry dishes, and more, all prepared with fresh vegetables and your choice of chicken, beef, pork, and tofu. All the lunch specials include a cup of their special soup, and that day it was Tom Kah Gai, a creamy soup of coconut milk with chunks of chicken, lemon juice and mushrooms, a green salad, steamed rice, the main dish, and 2 crispy wontons.   


I love eggplant, so I chose the Spicy Eggplant. The soup arrived, then the main dish. Chunks of eggplant, sliced tender chicken, carrots, red and green bell pepper, mushrooms, all served in their special house sauce with a touch of sweetness, made an excellent, satisfying meal.  


On their Orange Chicken special, I counted sixteen large chicken rounds on the plate. I tried a bite, and for the first time, I loved orange chicken. Usually it’s much too sweet for me, but Eddie and Poo, the owners, believe in quality, so while there was a touch of sweetness from the orange, it was just enough. The nuggets, made from pure chicken breasts, were encased in a crunchy coating glazed with orange and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Truly delicious.


If you simply can’t make it to the restaurant for lunch, try one of their new Happy Hour Specials, served from 2pm to 5pm. For $6.95 you have a choice of nine different dishes served with steamed rice. And for $11.95, you can choose one of my all-time favorites, Coco Salmon, a tender filet of salmon with curry sauce, red and green bell peppers, snow peas, and basil leaves over steamed spinach. It’s one of three specials offered, and I hope one day to try the other two, but when I’m there, I can’t resist the salmon.


And don’t worry about the curry dishes. You can have your choice of 1,2, or 3 Stars, with 1 being the milder, which is my choice.


Their vegetarian Spring Rolls, Vegetable Tempura, and several other appetizers are offered at the Happy Hour price of $3.95, while their famous Money Bags, Fried Calamari, and Apollo Shrimp - deep fried shrimp wrapped with marinated chicken are $4.95.


The Coco Salmon is also on the dinner menu for $13.95, along with two pages of poultry, beef, pork, and seafood dishes including Shrimp with Snow Peas for $11.95. What a treat for shrimp lovers. Extra large shrimp - no skimping there - are stir-fried with snow peas, mushrooms, baby corn, and water chestnuts in their special sauce served with steamed rice.


They even offer several vegetarian dishes.


No matter what I decide for dinner, I always order their Appetizer Platter for $9.95, a crunchy combination of spring rolls, shrimp tempura, calamari, vegetable tempura, and their special money bags, labor-intense small pastries in bag shapes filled with minced chicken, corn, crushed peanuts and spices. The tops are tied with another long, green spice, also edible. The gathered tops are crunchy, similar in taste, I thought, to a wonton.  


Desserts are just as delicious. My favorite is the Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango for $5.95, a lite, refreshing finish to a wonderful meal. 


For those of you in the area who can’t leave the office, they now offer a limited local delivery. Call to see if your home or business is in their area.


Till next time, bon appetit y’all.


Chanida Thai Cuisine

34664 County Line Road #15 & #16

Yucaipa, CA   92399