Our Food Philosophy

The menus at Saffron are rich in authentic Thai cuisine, designed seasonally and prepared fresh everyday.

Your Health is Our Priority

The menu I created for Saffron is based on an ancient Thai philosophy in which dishes are prepared especially for the diner’s good health and well-being. This philosophy explains that good food nurtures our health by maintaining a balance of our body’s elements: earth, water, wind and fire. Food prepared with this philosophy keeps us in equilibrium with nature.  This means cooking with seasonal and, if possible, local ingredients. Food, according to the Thais, is our preventative medicine.

Since ancient times, Thai recipes were created with the concept of balance not only in flavor, but also the medicinal properties of the ingredient. I follow this philosophical teaching and when possible will select the appropriate ingredients to create menu and special dishes from both ancient and popular Thai dishes. I modify recipes to suit not only the health and well being of you, Saffron’s guests, but also for suitability to our San Diego climate.

In addition, the Thais believe that delicious foods should exude a sense of “sanuk” – fun and joy. With these two philosophies as the foundation, Saffron’s table is yours. You become a member of our family.

At Saffron, your health is truly my priority. Following in the footsteps of ancient Thai cooks who were given the freedom to re-invent their version of a common recipe, I have done the same. I alter seasonings, and substitute herbs and spices used in some of the commonly known Thai dishes in an effort to make them better for you. For instance, I use what I consider to be a healthier choice for basic staples such as oil, soy sauce and sweetener.

Only Rice Bran Oil.  Saffron uses rice bran oil for our stir-fries and noodle dishes. This is one of the best cooking oils because of its healthful and nutritious benefits.

100% Coconut Cream and Milk.  Our canned and carton coconut cream and milk are made with 100 % coconut with no additive and minor preservatives. They are the best quality on the market.

Better Soy Sauce.  It was not a simple decision for me to stop using foreign made soy sauce because I knew it would alter the taste and flavor of the dishes. However, I was concerned with the quality of the ingredients used in many foreign soy sauce brands and uneasy with where and how they were produced. After much research, I decided that my customers’ health and well-being comes first. Therefore, I replaced all foreign made soy sauces except for sweetened soy sauce made in Thailand with American made gluten-free soy sauce. Saffron dishes do not use oyster sauce, considered to be one of the main seasoning flavors for several noodle and stir-fry dishes. I suggest you read the label on the can or bottle of oyster sauce and see for yourself.

Less Refined Sugar.  We also use less refined sugar in our cooking. With exception of sweet pepper sauce and chutney, there is no sugar added to any of our freshly made dishes. When a traditional recipes calls for sugar, we use agave, maple syrup, honey or palm sugar instead.

No MSG.  We never use MSG. It is my belief that if you start with the very best ingredients, you do not have to modify foods with these types of ingredients to make them taste better.

Technically, we try to adhere to the ancient methods of Thai cooking. We meticulously pound and grind most of our seasonings. We buy the freshest quality rice noodles, high quality Thai jasmine rice from Thailand and encourage our patrons to eat more red organic rice from Thailand.

We believe that healthy dishes should not be boring, but mouth-watering, delicious and fun. Therefore, all our dishes such as curries, salads, salad rolls and egg rolls are made fresh everyday. The made-to-order dishes follow the Thai concept of  “aharn thum sunk” or “made to order.” This means freshly made according to the customer’s order. Although we have a basic menu, we are frequently asked by customers to alter and cook the dishes to their liking, either for taste preferences or health reasons. Most of the time, we are able to accommodate these requests.

Through my 50 years as a cook, I have seen alarming changes in our diets. At Saffron, my health and yours are my priority. Saffron’s dishes, each in and of itself, is a lesson in good healthy eating. They are a statement that food can be healthy, delicious and affordable. Because of this, Saffron is unique and unlike any other Thai restaurants in San Diego or anywhere in the world for that matter. I am proud to take part in your quest for good health and well-being.

Su-Mei Yu, Chef & Founder of Saffron

To Our Vegan & Gluten-Free Friends

All our stir-fried, noodles, and rice dishes can be made with mushroom oyster sauce and or gluten free soy sauce upon your request.