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Lotus: one of Hamilton’s best spots for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine

Hamilton’s food scene has no shortage of options for flavourful, comforting, and authentic Thai cuisine; but one beloved spot out in Stoney Creek has managed to stand out.

Lotus Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine, located in an unassuming strip mall on Mud Street West, is frequently cited as one of the city’s best spots for traditional and modern dishes like stir fries, curries, noodle dishes, pho, and much more.

Under the ownership of Flora alongside her husband – both of whom have familial roots in Vietnam – Lotus officially opened its doors in 2015, driven first and foremost by a dedication to offering both exceptional Thai and Vietnamese cooking harmoniously hand in hand.

“We worked alongside a Thai chef who taught us all his recipes and techniques,” says Flora. “He has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry and taught many chefs in Ontario. Our Vietnamese side is from my parents, who naturally taught us what they learned before retiring.”

Flora is also quick to point out that – while there are some similarities between the ingredients and flavour profiles used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking – the restaurant has made a focused effort to carefully honour each cuisine’s respective traditions.

“People might think we’re a fusion of both regions, but we stay faithful to what my parents taught me and what my mentor taught me. We like to keep our recipes authentic in both areas.”

That commitment has certainly paid off. In just over six years of operation, Lotus has cemented itself as a go-to for those who love Asian cuisines, thanks to menu that’s expansive enough to feature plenty of choice, all while remaining focused to a degree that each dish can maintain the quality and care that Lotus lovers have come to expect.

What stands out as much as Lotus’ food is their love and support for all things local; something that became even more prominent with a fun initiative they spearheaded during the pandemic.

In collaboration with their social media specialist, Chan Thach, Flora and her husband launched ‘HamOnt Resto Bingo,’ a social media contest that allowed Hamilton foodies to compete for a huge prize of over $3,600 in gift cards to independent local restaurants, while supporting those restaurants at the same time. It’s an idea that’s taken off all over Canada as a fun means of helping restaurants out during difficult times.

“[Chan] participated in one in Calgary,” explains Flora. “We loved following along watching her play the game on her social media. I asked if we could do this in Hamilton, and we ran with the idea.”

For the game, 25 of Hamilton’s best restaurants were loaded onto a ‘Bingo’ card and Hamiltonians had one full month to order food from as many as possible to fill up their card, with more restaurants supported equalling more entries into the draw.

It was a smash hit, attracting dozens and dozens of competitors city-wide throughout the month of May; including a handful who successfully supported all 25 restaurants and completed their full Bingo cards.

The game was especially valuable given the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impacts on the hospitality industry, encouraging city residents to eat local and pour their spending money back into the local economy at a time when that support was more needed than ever.

For Lotus, hosting this initiative was a unique way to give back to the community they love and the city they’ve called home for most of their lives.

“We want to thank our regular customers who supported us throughout the years, especially during this pandemic. We weren’t sure how we would pivot and make things work, but our community always supported us regardless of our challenges during this pandemic,” says Flora.

“They always made an effort to order takeout, even during the lockdowns and every new customer who trusted us that first time by letting my family feed theirs. We are a tiny family-run business and know without our regular customers, we would not have been able to stay open this long without them.”

With such a community-minded approach to their business – and terrific food on top of it all – it’s no wonder Lotus Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine has become such a beloved piece of Hamilton’s food scene.

Read more about Lotus Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine and check out their menu on their website.

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