PHOTO CREDITS: Susan Wong
April 8, 2011 – The Thai around the world will be celebrating the New Year Songkran Festival next week April 13-15, 2011. Festivities at the Royal Thai Embassy in Nairobi is to be expected and Thai food festivals around town have already begun showcasing the flavours and tastes of Thailand.
Most diners know Thai cuisine for its spicy dishes. However, Thai cuisine puts a lot of focus on achieving a balance of all 5 tastes of each dish or in an entire meal: spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter.
With over 40 distinct ethnic groups and a diverse geological makeup, it comes as no surprise that Thai cuisine is extremely diverse. Staple ingredients in Thai cooking include: fresh cilantro, lemon grass, mint, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime and chillies; just to name a few.
Thai chef Narong Butsriphoom, one of InterContinental’s best, is in Nairobi for the next 3 months sharing his unique interpretation of Thai cuisine. Based at InterContinental Cairo Semiramis, chef Narong has been working at Bird Cage, an award-winning restaurant and among the top 5 restaurants in the Middle East and South Africa region.
Some dishes to look forward to:
Pla Neung Manoa / Steamed Whole Red Snapper with Chilli and Lemon Sauce
A dish of simple flavours, but together, the delicious combination will persuade you to order some more! The refreshing Chilli and Lemon Sauce accentuated the Red Snapper’s mild and sweet flavours without overpowering the simplicity of the dish.
Mun Sapalang Cheum / Poached Tapioca Root with Spicy Coconut Cream
When I was served this dish, I was sitting in the uncomfortable heat of the hotel’s kitchen. With one bite, I was transported to the picturesque white sandy beaches of Thailand.
If you’ve never had Tapioca Root before, I would encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give this dessert a chance. Garnished simply with a mint leaf in a halved coconut, the texture of the Tapioca Root was poached to perfection. The spiciness in the cream was understated and it perfectly balanced the sweetness of the coconut. Served with a Noble Late Harvest dessert wine from South Africa, this was the perfect ending to a memorable meal.
Other things to look forward to?
-Chef Narong’s intricate fruit and vegetable sculptures.
-Chef Narong’s infamous Tom Yum Soup (cooked overnight for optimal flavours!)
InterContinental Nairobi will be serving Thai specialities as part of their buffet at The Terrace Restaurant from April to June. Don’t miss out on this chance to indulge your palettes and travel to Thailand with Chef Narong.