Indian food doesn’t begin and end at curry, as most foreign people assume and similarly the expanse of Thai cuisine is much larger than we know of. Thailand may be a small and elongated country, but flavours and taste buds vary across the length of the country. The Bangkok Street Festival at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity is a testament to those varying tastes. DSSC was given an exclusive insight into the delicacies being served at the festival, which is starting today under the humble yet scrutinous eye of Chef Kung. She hails from northeast Thailand and worked in Bangkok until recently when she decided introduce Indians to authentic Thai food. “Its supportive to know that Indians love their spices so much because so do the Thai”, she said.
Situated in Aerocity, this branch of JW Marriott is a regular host of South-east Asian festivals – they’ve held the Chinese festival and the Singaporean Street Food festival in the past. The Food & Beverage Manager, Aashish Nehra, said the Bangkok Street Food Festival is a great way to kick start summer with light and fragrant flavours of Thailand.
JW Marriott’s K3, short form for Kitchen 3, has one of the best Asian restaurants in the city. Why? Because their head chef hails from Thailand and food tastes best when made with hands of the homeland, and love of course. Chef Kung said people in the northeast of Thailand love spicy food and seafood. We suppose its true because we could taste the zing in every dish that was plated up at the festival.
Chef Kung, along with Executive Chef, Vivek Bhatt, served up authentic and lip-smacking delicious Thai food right from the very nook, crannies and alleys of Thailand. Every dish was beautifully balanced between salty, sour and sweet and that is bang on what Thailand’s food is all about – balance.
We got a chance to taste Krathong Thong, a deep fried crispy cupcake filled with assorted veggies and a prawn and vegetable version for non-vegetarians. The cup was the perfect size and fit beautifully in the mouth and the shell, filled with carrots, corn, beans and prawn, was the right amount of crispy. Deep-fried fish cake, or Thord-Mum Pla followed the shells. Deep-fried they were indeed. These dark brown flat circles were served with a sweet, sour and chilly sauce.
We really enjoyed the light and fragrant Som-Tam, popularly known as raw papaya salad around the world, which the Chef whooped up to cleanse the palate. Yes, we have tried the raw papaya salad many, many times but this was the real deal! It was made with grated green papaya, long whole red chilies, whole garlic cloves, and peanuts with a vinegary, sweet and salty dressing. There was a seafood version for non-vegetarians called Yam Thalay or spicy mixed seafood salad, which was right on the money and which we equally and thoroughly enjoyed. The squid, prawn and fish were cooked just the right amount.
For the main course, Chef Kung, cooked Geang Kiee Wan Kai (chicken in green curry), Pla Neung, Manao (steamed fish chili lemon), Phad Phak Ruam (stir fried mixed vegetable in light soy sauce) and Panang-Tow-Hoo (quick tofu in red curry). All dishes were perfectly balanced to tingle all the taste buds in every bite. DSSC recommends the steamed fish that, in particular, was oozing with flavour and fell right off the bone with a soft gentle touch of the fork. It was as if the sea bass had been caught not from fresh river water, but from a sweet, sour and chilly soup. And while the steamed vegetables were slightly on the spicy side, the steamed jasmine rice equalized them.
Chef Kung wrapped up her Thai street food menu with Thim Grob, which is a water chestnut and coconut syrup desert. The desert is unique and only a handful of restaurants serve it in Delhi. The base of the desert is liquid and creamy coconut and submerged in it are water chestnuts as well as tapioca-covered water chestnuts, which together create a song of textures. It may take time for your palate to understand the dish, but when it does you will definitely keep wanting more!
We strongly recommend that you make time over the next few days to sensualise your taste buds at the Bangkok Street Food Festival, which is running till May 7. They will thank you, and you will thank us, and we will thank Chef Kung!
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