Food Spot Metroplus

On a Thai high

STRIKING A BALANCE Some of the dishes prepared by Chef Kwanrauean Saegsiting, who has been flown in for the festival at Delhi's Kempinski Ambience Hotel.

STRIKING A BALANCE Some of the dishes prepared by Chef Kwanrauean Saegsiting, who has been flown in for the festival at Delhi's Kempinski Ambience Hotel.  

Thai food remains popular as ever. Increasingly chefs from Thailand are coming to India to present some of the best known dishes of the country

Thai food, as you would know, is my new passion. And I can see that I am not the only one with a growing interest in the cuisine of the region. If you look around, you’ll know what I mean. Almost every Asian restaurant has a Thai dish or two. Even small takeaways offer the usual green and red curries. But that’s not all. Increasingly, chefs from Thailand are coming to India to present some of the best known dishes of Thailand. And people are lapping them up.

Last week, I was invited to a festival of Thai food at Mei Kun, a multi-cuisine Asian restaurant in Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi. The hotel, in East Delhi, had flown in Chef Kwanrauean Saegsiting – a celebrated Thai chef – for a festival that carries on till tomorrow. I was told that the chef has done similar promotions at the Kempinski Hotels in Mongolia and China.

I was curious to know how the food at the festival compared with the delicious dishes that I had eaten during a recent sojourn in Thailand. And I am happy to say that the dishes the chef cooked for us were simply superb, with just the right kind of spices and flavours.

The prawn and lemon grass soup, for instance, was intense and spicy, with a thick and aromatic stock that gave it its taste and flavour. I thoroughly enjoyed the stir fried morning glory, which she had prepared with yellow bean sauce, garlic and chillies. And what was nice was the fact that the chef didn’t tone down the spices for us. The food was cooked with dollops of chillies – but they enhanced the taste of a dish, without overpowering it.

The appetisers, again, were excellent – the grilled chicken spicy salad was, well, spicy and the grilled pork neck was a dish where the meat had been cooked gently over a long period, ensuring that the meat was tender, and the juices had sealed in. The fried shrimp with garlic and pepper was crunchy and sweet, and I really liked the chicken in musamun curry. Cooked with potatoes, the dish is originally a part of Thailand’s Muslim heritage and now a veritable part of the regular cuisine. Most of you know about my fondness for pork, so it’s not surprising that I greatly enjoyed the stir fried pork which had the heady flavours of black peppercorn.

And a mango freak, I ate with relish a dish that I’d grown to really like in Thailand — sticky rice with mango and coconut milk — a very, very enjoyable dish of mashy rice flavoured with coconut milk and with juicy pieces of mango on the side.

The only difference was that the mango that the chef had used was our own langda.

The restaurant with its large Buddha statue and muted colours — has a pleasant and calming ambience. It is pretty large, with 64 covers. Of course, it is located in Karkardooma, near the Yamuna Sports Complex – which is not exactly a hotspot for the movers and shakers. But it is certainly convenient for people who live in east Delhi and Noida. A special meal at the festival is for Rs 1400-1600.

Though the chef didn’t speak much English, we happily communicated with each other. I told her all about my food journey in Thailand. I am not sure she understood everything that I said, but we parted on the best of terms. After all, we have a common passion – Thai food.

Rahul Verma is a seasoned street food connoisseur.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:13:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/on-a-thai-high/article7434390.ece

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