SEMINOLE BEACONBeacon Publications: April 6-April 12, 1995, Page 16 Viyada Thedvisarn, left, and Sungkard "Udi" Thanupakorn are your hosts at the new Thai-Am #2 in Madeira Beach.The Lunch Bunch traveled to Madeira Beach to sample a group favorite recently, namely, Thai food. Right up front, members of the mysterious Bunch wanted readers to know that Thai food is not—repeat, not—Chinese food.Natives of Thailand use a variety of spices in their dishes, some that Americans are familiar with, and combinations and varieties that Americans have never tried. The result? Delicious!Thai-Am #2 is a second restaurant owned by Sungkard Thanupakorn, known as Udi, and his brother, who immigrated to the United States in 1980. The original Thai-Am is on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg.When the Lunch Bunch visited, we were warmly and humbly greeted by Udi’s fiancé, Viyada Thedvisarn. She immediately brought us an appetizer. Satay ($4.95), chicken strips on wooden skewers grilled with coconut milk and curry powder served with peanut sauce and a cucumber salad.A tiny hibachi was placed on the table and Lunch Bunchers placed their chick en on it to grill it further. The cucumber salad is to eat after a dish to cleanse the palate and ready it for the next installment.Many times, Thai food is very spicy, but Lunch Bunchers elected the mild form of each dish so that one wasn’t mistaken for another with a lingering spicy taste. However, we do point out that the medium version is preferable for those who love spicy food, and the hot is delicious to those claiming to have a “cast iron” stomach.Next, Viyada brought us a beef salad ($4.95), grilled beef slices marinated with Thai herbs and spices. One of the most popular herbs at our table was lemon grass, a taste delight unlike anything American.This dish was followed by Hot-Sour Shrimp Soup ($3.50-6.95) served In an unusual circular tureen sporting sterno flames at the center. The soup was a delight - with plump, tasty shrimp seasoned with lime juice, lemon grass, hot peppers and straw mushrooms.Viyada then served us the Thai version of iced tea and iced coffee, a super-sweetened, thick version made even better by adding sweetened cream.We munched on Spring Rolls, the Thai version of an egg roll, with flaky wrapping and crisp vegetables and noodles inside.Then our hosts Udi and Viyada brought Panang Curry ($7.95), beef or chick en slowly simmered in creamy coconut milk, panang curry and herbs and spices. Another house specialty followed - Steamed Seafood ($11.95) — assorted seafood marinated with curry sauce and coconut milk, steamed over a bed of cabbage and basil leaf and served in a unique foil wrap ping.We sampled Peanut Curry Spare Ribs ($9.95). pre cooked spare ribs sautéed with peanut curry sauce over steamed mixed vegetables. The peanut sauce is a taste delight and should be tried at least once in every one’s lifetime.We enjoyed Spicy Fish (market priced), a whole deep fried fish or fish filet topped with the house chili sauce ... tender and very tasty. Rice was cooked in coconut milk, too.Since this was the first taste of Thai cuisine for some Lunch Bunch members, Udi and Viyada enjoyed bringing several delights to the table just for tasting, like Tamarind sauce. The Tamarind is a seed, explained Viyada with hand-drawn pictures. And its sauce is an unexplainable delight. Lunch Bunchers tried to explain it with references to apple butter, applesauce and other smooth saucy American favorites, but we still couldn’t come close. Try this delicacy with shrimp, chicken or fish.Fried bananas ($2.75) and hot Jasmine tea topped off the meal. The bananas were wrapped in flaky pastry and topped with sesame seeds—to die for!Thai-Am #2 also serves dishes made with duck, a variety of noodle dishes and fried rices. Their lunch buff6et is extensive and varied and is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a cost of $4.95 per person. Early bird special combos at $5.95 are served from 5-7 p.m. They also have an extensive vegetarian menu.Thai-Am #2 is open six days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. They will deliver with a $10 minimum order. Call them at 398- 9700.Members of the Lunch Bunch don’t claim to be culinary experts or professional critics, just ordinary people who like to tell Beacon-Leader-Bee readers about their dining experiences. Look for further adventures of the Lunch Bunch. Who knows, they may be headin’ your way!