Kung Fu Plaza Adds Young Coconut to Thai Menu

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Kung Fu Plaza is the first Vegas Thai restaurant to embrace young coconut.

Kung Fu Plaza, which is the oldest and most authentic Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, is the first Thai restaurant in Las Vegas to add young coconut as an off-menu chef’s special. According to general manager, Alan Wong, the Las Vegas restaurant decided to add young coconut as part of its effort to introduce the natural health benefits of Asian cuisine.

“Young coconuts have long been regarded for their nutritious and detoxification properties because the water they contain takes nine months to be filtered and stored away in the nut,” says Wong. “The science is sound. It is more nutritious than whole milk but contains no cholesterol and is healthier than orange juice with fewer calories.”

Although it has taken longer than some have hoped, young coconut is starting to become a healthy alternative to the abundance of energy drinks on the market. The claim that it would one day outpace energy drinks originally came from Morton Satin, chief of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization five years ago.

“Coconut is the very stuff of nature, biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts, and vitamins that ward off fatigue,” Satin had said. “And it is the next wave of energy drinks.”

One of the reasons he made the claim was because coconut water has high levels of electrolytes and potassium, between three and five times more than energy and sports drinks. But unlike energy drinks, it has no chemicals or preservatives.

“I think young coconut would have taken off much faster in the United States if it could have been packaged,” said Wong. “But the almost magical properties of young coconut dissipate when the water is exposed to air. You cannot package it. You have to enjoy it fresh from the coconut itself.”

After patrons at the restaurant enjoy the fresh coconut water, they scoop out and eat the meat of the coconut. The meat is said to contain healing properties because of the high amount of lauric acid. Although lauric acid has been found to increase total cholesterol, the increase is attributed to the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. Lauric acid is proven to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system, and helps the body produce monolaurin, which research has shown to help the immune system.

“There have been many remedies attributed to young coconut for hundreds and hundreds of years in Southern Asia,” said Wong. “It is one of the many reasons that Thai cooking incorporates coconut milk into many of its recipes. But young coconut is more powerful because it is served fresh, right from the coconut.”

Wong said young coconut is often ordered with appetizers or desserts. Unlike mature a coconut, the young coconut meat is soft enough to eat with a spoon once the water is finished. Wong says his restaurant prefers to serve them fresh like they do in Thailand. Fresh young coconuts deliver more benefits.

“The real reason to order fresh young coconuts, of course, has nothing to do with all of the rewarding benefits,” smiled Wong. “They are naturally sweet and taste great. You can enjoy it without feeling guilty.”

To review a complete menu, visit http://www.kungfuplaza.com. Kung Fu Plaza delivers within a three-mile radius and is located at 3505 S. Valley View Blvd., which is just east of the Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip. For reservations, call 702-247-4120.

Founded in 1973, Kung Fu Plaza, also known as Kung Fu Thai & Chinese Restaurant to its regular patrons is the oldest and most authentic Thai restaurant in Las Vegas. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The average entree is under $10 and most patrons order family style. It is the newest of Las Vegas restaurants to become 100% Angus Beef Certified, and the only Asian restaurant to receive this certification.

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Alan S. Wong
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