By Aroonim Bhuyan
Want to try some morning-glory stir fried with yellow bean sauce, garlic and chillies? Or maybe deep-fried white snapper with cashew nuts and dry chilli? Or perhaps some refreshing steamed sea bass fillet in lime, garlic and kaffir lime sauce?
“Streets of Bangkok”, a gourmet Thai food festival organised by The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel here and running till the end of this month, offers all these and more.
Priced at only Rs 1,199 per person, the festival offers you a chance to taste the creations of Parihar Veer Pratap Singh, chef de cuisine of Mei Kun restaurant in the hotel, and Thai master chef Kanyaphat Faisai.
Associated with one of the hotel’s sister properties, Kanyaphat is assisting Singh to bring alive the magic of the mouth-watering delicacies during the festival, recreating the authentic flavours transported all the way from Thailand.
The vibrant streets of Bangkok are being recreated at the hotel’s outdoor patio, Frangipani.
Thai cooking emphasises on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge.
So, when you are looking for appetisers, as a vegetarian you can choose from Som Tom (raw papaya salad), Yum Som (spicy pomelo salad), Poh Pia Jae (vegetable and glass noodle spring roll) and Yum Hed Ruam Phak (mixed mushrom salad with vegetables).
Non-vegetarians can choose from chicken satay with peanut sauce, Kra Thong Thong (golden flower cup served with chicken mince), and Yum Woon Sen (Thai seafood glass noddle salad). Note the word “yum” in the last dish. It is, actually!
And if you thought Tom Yum Goong is a martial arts flick starring Tony Jaa, think again. It is actually a prawns and lemongrass soup that will delight your culinary senses.
Other soups on offer include Tom Kha Phak (soup with straw mushroom, galangal and coconut milk), Kaeng Chuet (a light vegetable broth with vegetables and celery, soft tofu and seaweed) and Gaeng Jued Thao Hoo (clear glass noodle soup with vegetables).
That seafood plays an important role in Thai cuisine is re-emphasised in the main course where you come across dishes like Pla Lard Prik (deep-fried white snapper with sweet chilli sauce), Chu Chee Kung (deep-fried tiger prawn topped with red curry, homemade sauce and kaffir lime leaf) and Pla Neung Manao (refreshing stamed sea bass fillet in lime, garlic and kaffir lime sauce).
Vegetarians can choose the main course from the likes of Phad Prik Tauhu (stir fried silken tofu, bamboo shoots and bird chillies), Kaeng Phet Phak (red curry mixed vegetables and sweet basil) and Phad Phak Ruam Mitr (wok fried vegetables with soya garlic sauce) among others.
If you want to kill the winter chill with chicken, you can take your pick from Gai Phad Med Ma-mung Himmapan (stir fried chicken with cashew nuts and dry chilli), Kaphrao Gai (stir fried chicken with basil and chillies), Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai (green curry with chicken) and more.
You can enjoy your main course with Mee Hoon Phad Gai (stir fried vermicelli with chicken and vegetables), Khao Phad Kraprow Phak (fried rice and spicy basil leaves with vegetables) or Khao Suay (steamed rice jasmine) among others.
Sounds exotic? Wait. Here come the desserts: Thap Thim Krop (water chestnut in syrup and coconut milk), Khao Niew Sang Kaya (sticky rice with Thai custard), Tao Suan (Thai moong bean pudding) and Kluai Thot (crispy banana with coconut ice cream), to name a few.
“Nowadays, there is a trend that street food is getting into hotels,” Thai Ambassador to India Chutintorn Gongsakdi, who inaugurated the festival, told IANS.
“Food or culture is the most solid foundation for other engagements, political and economic,” Chutintorn said, striking a philosophical note.
“So, if we have a good, strong cultural connection, that makes the other parts easier. And food is one of the ways.”
Stating that people long for things that they are used to like street food, Chutintorn said: “So, this is not only a perfect marriage of progress but also of bringing our heritage, our way of life into a modern and progressive setting in a hotel like this. So, you can sit in a nice hotel and you can still eat street food, which is our way of life in our culture.”
If you like the Thai exotic, you should surely head for The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel in east Delhi.