Asia Station brings heat to downtown’s south side

AZ Daily Sun, Mountain Living Section, April 16, 2023

Story and photos by Gail G. Collins

The allure of Asian cuisine is wrapped up in its exotic, sensory elements. Some are subtle while others are stimulating. Spare meat punctuated with tastes and textures create engaging and vibrant dishes.

Freshness abounds in the veg, garnishes and flash of preparation from raw to ravishing. Ingredients, such as galangal, chili oil, peanuts, coconut milk, fish sauce, lemon grass, basil and tamarind are layered with spices and sauces. These components build appeal, aroma, and often, art.

Flavors are traditionally grouped into categories such as hot, sweet, sour, spicy, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent and umami. This broad array of notes builds a delicate harmony. The term fusion was coined in an effort to describe this Asian impact on the West.

Asia Station opened in 2018 in downtown’s south side to deliver this fusion of flavors. Serving Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, owners Kampy and Ladda Khonphian aim to offer a little bit of everything. In essence, park at Asia Station and savor the best of Asia.

“We have kept the menu choices to what people like and have toned the heat down a little,” Ladda says. “But for those, who love their spices, this is the place. We’re the hot spot in town.”

The hottest chili used in Ladda’s kitchen is the Thai bird’s eye. This distinctive red chili is small in size, but high in heat.

The couple is Thai, she from the rural northeast, while Kampy hails from Bangkok. Speaking of Thai people, Ladda says, “We are all about food—we cook and eat 24/7. In the country, we grew our own food—fresh chicken and eggs daily—cooking for friends and family with love and care.”

This principle guides recipes at Asia Station, where Ladda runs the kitchen with help from their son, Vincent. Asia Station makes every dish daily with no MSG, utilizing mushroom seasoning to supply a savory umami factor. Scratch sauces present unique profiles for each dish from dips to curries.

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First Friday gets a facelift:  April’s ArtWalk to breathe fresh air into the monthly event

AZ Daily Sun, Mountain Living, April 2, 2023

Written by Gail G. Collins

As spring’s light glows in early evening, the silhouetted San Francisco Peaks afford a dramatic backdrop. Nestled below, downtown Flagstaff generates an energy all of its own, buoying people’s spirits. Heritage Square rocks with blasts of brass, and bodies sway to the beat as little ones dance and clap. A boy tugs at his mother’s arm and points at his drawing on display. Lively lit galleries beckon. There is art to admire—paintings and photography, jewelry and glasswork, wood and ceramic, crafts and creations. Some shops offer a treat or a sweet sip, while others stage a musician on guitar. At the corner, a tourist studies a map and points out a historic hotel, neon letters glowing. A happy babble floats upward from crowded streets, and First Friday ArtWalk is in full swing.

First Friday ArtWalk is held monthly, presented by Desert Financial Credit Union in partnership with Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance and Creative Flagstaff. The venue welcomes and hosts activities with variations of music, art and food. The next event will be held on April 7, 2023 from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m.

“We are coming into a robust year for ArtWalk, and April ends up being the big kick-off for activities,” says community engagement manager Liz Hewat. “People are ready to be out and about.”

As always, 20-30 businesses and galleries participate in ArtWalk, offering integrated venues for pop-up art exhibits, handcrafted items and entertainment. “It’s a great event, community-driven,” says Hewat. “ArtWalk has been around in some capacity since the 90s—the gallery owners established the event.”

Continue reading “First Friday gets a facelift:  April’s ArtWalk to breathe fresh air into the monthly event”