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Madam Mam’s veteran opening new Austin Thai spot as 'ghost kitchen'

Matthew Odam
Austin 360
Pad Thai from Charoen Express.

Austin has no shortage of quality Thai takeout options. Charoen Express adds to the list. But, while you may eat food from the Thai restaurant, you’ll never eat at the restaurant. That’s because the new concept is a ghost kitchen, meaning the restaurant operates only in delivery and takeout capacities. 

The ghost kitchen, named after the Thai word for “prosperous,” comes from chef partner Char Chongchitmate, former chef at Thai Lada on Parmer Lane, one of my top 10 Thai restaurants in town. 

Chongchitmate says the decision to operate as a ghost kitchen was driven by the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Charoen Express serves a menu of curries, noodles, soups and specialities like crab Rangoon, omelet pad kra prow, pad Thai and mango sticky rice. 

“While Charoen Express may be a delivery-forward concept, this is not fast food,” said Chongchitmate, who served as a general manager at Madam Mam’a before helming the kitchen at Thai Lada on Parmer Lane. 

Charoen Express is available through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, ChowNow and Chowbus, all of which are linked on the Charoen site, but if you wanna save the restaurant some money on commission fees with third-party delivery companies, you can pick up directly from the Charoen Express location inside Cloud Kitchens at 5610 N I-35. 

Charoen Express is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Ordering for takeout and delivery can be done at charoenatx.com