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Entries in Thai (5)

Monday
Apr172017

People's Palace Thai, Manila

It did not really come as a surprise, having travelled around the Philippines for 2 weeks, that the best meal I had there was (a) in the cosmopolitan capital of Manila and (b) not Filipino. I am willing to be proven wrong – I did end up in some rather provincial places – but overall I found Filipino food to be too sweet, greasy, bland or all of the above.

In some ways it is a shame that we didn’t do Manila first, when we were excited to try the local food, as I have read about some places that do modern Filipino food and get rave reviews, but after 2 weeks of eating greasy meat, sweet bread, margarine coated everything and a lot of junk food at bus stations, we just weren’t keen to give them a go.

This is how we ended up at a modern Thai restaurant for our final meal in the Philippines. People’s Palace Thai is similar in style to a David Thompson restaurant, except with less emphasis on the cultural style of eating and more on traditional recipes cooked and presented in a modern style with a focus on high quality ingredients.

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Monday
Sep262016

Nahm round 2

As well as eating the street in Bangkok, I also treated myself to one top-end meal at Nahm, David Thompson’s restaurant. Thompson is an Australian chef who has earned himself a reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on Thai cuisine. His book Thai Food is referred to in my family as the ‘Thai Bible’, an encyclopaedic tomb on Thai food, history and culture, including over 300 recipes.

I went to his restaurant in London several years ago and was disappointed, but my experience at Nahm, Bangkok could not have been more different. I wonder whether this is because I left the chefs in charge of the menu choices.

The tasting menu at Nahm comes in three parts, canapés followed by the main meal – a dish from each section of the main menu served ‘family-style’ for the whole table – and then dessert. In this instance I was the whole table and, as before, I found myself wishing that they would westernise this part of the meal and serve it in stages. I do understand though that Thompson’s aim is to educate diners about authentic Thai cuisine and one part of that is the custom of sharing dishes.

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Wednesday
Sep212016

Eating the street in Bangkok

Wow, what an amazing few days!  3 days in Bangkok on the way to Sydney. Why haven’t I done this before? Not only did I get to fill my belly with all manner of delicious things, I also got to stay here for next to nothing:

Definitely made the right call choosing the hotel over the hostel. Who needs to meet new people when you wake up to this every morning? And best of all, no jetlag – doing it in stages is definitely the way forward.

So what did I eat?

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Friday
Dec282012

Diana Henry's Thai sweet chilli sauce

My sister will be surprised when she sees this. I have always berated her love of the shop-bought stuff. But when I read Diana Henry’s introduction I was intrigued:

“So much better than anything you can buy. It doesn’t have that cloying flavour of commercial bottles, but barks at you with biting, fresh taste.”

This led me to the list of ingredients, which looked very promising. And she is right, it is so much better than the shop bought version. Indeed, it might as well be another sauce.

The recipe is from Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish, a lovely book full of recipes, tips and techniques for the home preserver. “I am a home cook” writes Henry, “I don’t have masses of special equipment and I don’t do things on a grand scale.” Her style is approachable and encouraging, showing that preserving isn’t just for “elderly ladies in floral pinnies or country-based downsizers with a vehicle big enough to transport several dead animals.”

I made this first to use up some chillies which my flatmate, Jen, had grown on our kitchen windowsill.  I liked it so much I decided to make it for Christmas presents in place of my usual jams or chutneys.

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Friday
Dec032010

David disappoints

“Why haven’t you written a blog about the Thai restaurant I took you to yet?” the boyfriend asked me as we were driving home from a more satisfying dining experience last Sunday.

“Umm... because the photos didn’t come out very well.”

“But you took loads (not true, he just gets very embarrassed about it). You must have got a few good ones.”

“It was really dark in there and the flash makes the food look unappetising and colourless.”

“So a fairly accurate representation then.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just didn’t think it was that great, that’s all. I liked the trout salad and the relish thing you wrote about, but overall it was nothing special and, to be honest, I felt a bit ripped off at the end of it.”

And so it came about that I was able to admit the real reason why I had not written about our experience.

The restaurant in question was Nahm, David Thompson’s Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. I have long been a fan of Thompson’s book, Thai Food, and more recently, Thai Street Food, but had never been to one of his restaurants. I told myself afterwards that perhaps my expectations had been too high, but now I am not so sure.

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