Photography by Lia Morris
Update April 2019: Soi No. 9 has a brick and mortar located at the UT Health and Sciences Center – 910 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38103.
It’s time for school again, and the busses are making their rounds. Kids dread the sight of them, but there is one that everyone likes to see—Soi Number 9. This bright orange converted school bus is a food truck that specializes in authentic Thai food.
Chef and owner Tim Vimonnimit grew up in southern Thailand and started cooking with his mother at the age of six. A classically trained Thai chef, Tim has worked in the restaurant business for over 40 years both here in Memphis and along the coast in southern Thailand. (Some of you may remember Tim from Bhan Thai.)
So what does Soi Number 9 mean?
Tim explains, “Bangkok is a food lover’s paradise where the absolute best culinary experience is found at roadside vendors. Soi is the Thai word for ‘street.’ The number 9 (๙), pronounced gao, which happens to be the number of our late and beloved King Rama, is also the Thai word for ‘going forward.’
We are Soi Number 9, representing authentic and progressive food loved by pauper to prince, from our soi to your street!”
When asked how cooking in a truck compares to cooking in a restaurant, Tim says, “The confined space on a food truck makes me even more focused on my prep and storage. The food truck is an extremely efficient setup.”
He also likes being able to travel to his customers rather than waiting on them to come to him. “Another advantage of having our food truck is being able to move around the city—sharing our menu with folks in Cordova all the way to Harbor Town,” he says.
The menu is a mix of rice and noodle bowls, with a daily appetizer or two like spring rolls and dumplings. There are drinks too—Thai iced coffee, Thai iced tea, bottled water and sodas. Finally, they have coconut sticky rice with fresh fruit for dessert. (Get dessert!)
Everything on the menu is worth trying, but if you’re conflicted, I recommend the spring rolls as an appetizer and the basil chicken entrée, made with stir-fried ground chicken, fresh cilantro and Thai basil served with Jasmine rice. Tim says,
“Soi Number 9’s best seller, hands down, is the Thai Basil Chicken. It’s a staple recipe in most Thai kitchens. We were thrilled that Memphians love it as much, if not more, than Thais!”
Vegetarians should try the Khao Soi Noodles with tofu. These are egg noodles in a yellow curry base topped with tofu, pickled greens, onions and lime.
Soi Number 9 can often be found at Memphis Made Brewing Co., Clark Tower, Overton Square, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Campbell Clinic, and The Cove bar. Check out their social media pages (@soinumber9 on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) to locate them Sunday through Friday.
Lia Morris is a student at Christian Brothers University, server at The Cove and lover of all animals. Follow her on IG: @901trashqueen.