Mum Mum: The New Taste of Thai

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By Helena Tavares Kennedy

Mum Mum is located across the street from the Hylton Performing Arts Center and offers catering and private event rentals.

Mum Mum is located across the street from the Hylton Performing Arts Center and offers catering and private event rentals.

Across the street from the Hylton Performing Arts Center, Mum Mum Thai restaurant is convenient for anyone attending a show there, the George Mason University students or professors who are just a short walk down the street or the employees of businesses in the area.

TK Chin, Mum Mum’s owner, opened up Mum Mum in May 2015 as his second restaurant in the Manassas area. He called it Mum Mum because it means “let’s eat” and was his son’s first word. He opened Zabb Thai restaurant off Sudley Manor Drive near Costco in Manassas nine years ago. He worked for many years in Thai restaurants before owning Zabb Thai and Mum Mum, so he has quite a bit of restaurant experience.

But Mum Mum is not your typical Thai restaurant and definitely doesn’t look like one. While it’s a bit hidden in a small shopping center across the street from Hylton, as soon as you step inside, you are welcomed to an open floor plan with huge windows and gorgeous views and a beautiful modern ambience with sleek wood furniture and details. As Mum Mum’s tagline says, it’s the “new taste of Thai.”

Mum Mum is not your typical Thai restaurant with 80 items on the menu. The owner & chef, TK Chin, offers about 20 items to ensure the best quality and freshest ingredients.

Mum Mum is not your typical Thai restaurant with 80 items on the
menu.

Chin is the chef and creates the menu himself, which means sourcing meats, eggs and vegetables from as many local farms as possible and getting highest quality he can find. He is able to do this because instead of offering the usual 70-80 items on a Thai Mum Mum The New Taste of Thai menu, he offers about 20 items. Chin is able to ensure those 20 items are of the best quality and freshest ingredients.

“Because I offer less items on my menu than most Thai restaurants, I am able to upgrade the quality of the ingredients and make them fresh when customers order them,” said Chin.

Mum Mum’s menu also changes seasonally so that the freshest in-season vegetables and ingredients are used. In the spring and summer, the menu might have more salads and stir fry dishes than usual, whereas in the fall and winter the restaurant tends to offer creamier, hearty and spicy items, including soups, which customers crave in cold weather.

“I don’t want customers to get bored, so this way I am able to change the menu with the seasons’ best ingredients and offer new and exciting options,” said Chin.

The most popular dish at Mum Mum is Pad Thai, which is often the case with most Thai restaurants. However, Mum Mum’s Pad Thai is probably very different than what you usually get at the usual Americanized Thai restaurants.

“We put red tofu, pickled radish and tamarind sauce in our Pad Thai, which is the real, authentic way of making it, but most Thai restaurants here in America don’t use those ingredients; instead they have Americanized the dish using vinegar instead, for example. Ours is the real thing, the most authentic Thai version of Pad Thai,” said Chin.

Moke-saru is a menu item you may never have heard of, but it is also popular as Mum Mum is the only Thai restaurant in the area where you can get this unique dish. It is a marinated spicy, salty flavorful beef wrapped in a banana leaf and is an authentic Thai recipe that Chin brought over from his Northeastern region of Thailand.

The best part of creating Mum Mum for Chin is “the chance to represent real authentic Thai food using the best available ingredients.”

When customers come expecting the usual food you can get at any Thai place, but are pleasantly surprised at the unique items and flavors, this is especially rewarding.

There are often decent lunch crowds because of businesses and employees from the area that like to visit Mum Mum, but attracting a dinner crowd has been a challenge for Mum Mum. If you happen to be going to a Hylton show or are in the area, it’s a definite must to visit. In fact, it’s worth a special trip from wherever you are just so you can try real, authentic Thai food that is cooked fresh when you order it. If you are skeptical, or aren’t sure what you’d order, check out Mum Mum’s amazing Yelp reviews where customers rave about the restaurant and share details about items they’ve ordered.

Another tip: Ask the servers about the menu before you order. They are extremely knowledgeable and can give you some guidance. For example, if you know you like pot belly, but aren’t sure if you’ll like the authentic Thai version, ask them. They will be able to describe what’s in it, how it’s cooked and answer your questions. Or if you don’t like really spicy foods, ask for help guiding you towards non-spicy foods. The key is don’t be afraid to try something new, but definitely utilize the knowledge of the staff to help guide you towards something you’ll enjoy and want to come back for again.

You can see both lunch and dinner menus on Mum Mum’s website (mummumrestaurant.com) or contact the restaurant for information on catering or renting out their beautiful space for private events, such as weddings, birthdays, graduations and corporate events and parties.

Helena Tavares Kennedy (hkennedy@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance writer and nonprofit communications director who has lived in Manassas for over 15 years, and who is always on the search for new authentic restaurants in the area. 

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