Thai cooking

October 4, 2012

I am in the North of Thailand right now. To be pricise, Chiang Mai, the former capital city of the Lanna Thai kingdom. I will use my spare time after work to explore the local cuisine.

What you see above is my Thai cooking certificate which was given to me after the successful completion of a Thai cooking class in Hua Hin last year. I guess I forgot what I have learned; my inate nature is not the one of the cook. I am more of a gourmet; the one who enjoys the eating rather than the preparation of food.


Fine dining in Bangkok: Patara Restaurant revisited

March 15, 2012

My favourite Thai restaurant in Bangkok is Patara in Thonglor which offers exceptional fine Thai cuisine of greatest quality.

I have written about the place a few times, but it is always a very special occasion when the four of us, I mean my family, are heading to Patara for a family experience.

In 2009 Patara was awarded the title: the Best Restaurant in Thailand. We have taken some of our closest friends there to share this experience.

The interior of Patara restaurant

The other day, a Sunday, it was time again to patronize the place, and indulge in fine Thai cuisine. And look what we ordered. The starter platter is just a wonderful assortment of various delicious Thai dishes.

The starter platter

Another starter

Pork wrapped in bamboo leaves

Also the main dishes are fabulous. I love the steamed fish with herbs, but also the omelet Thai style, the greens and the steamed rice in four colours.

The steamed fish

Omelet Thai style

Morning glory greens

Steamed rice in four colours

I was pleasantly surprised to find a few Thai wines on the wine list. New latitude wines from Thailand are some of my favourite wines since I live here in Bangkok.

I choose the ‘2010 Colombard’ from Monsoon Valley Wines in Hua Hin. The winery has a German wine-maker, Kathrin Puff, who graduated from Geisenheim. I met her at the 3rd International Symposium of Tropical Wine in Chiangmai in November last year.

2010 Colombard from Monsoon Valley Wine

I usually do not like the grape variety. But here in Thailand Colombard makes incredible delicious single varietal wines. It is Monsoon Valley premium range brand.

The 2010 vintage won silver and bronze awards. It has a crisp acidity with complex aromas, and a nice finish. Needless to say the wine goes very well with Asian food. I was glad that I had selected it, and was reminded that I need to stock up on the wine myself.

The back label of the Colombard from Monsoon Valley

Dessert

And another sweet

Of course we had a coffee after the delicious meal and the desserts. Another highlight is that Patara offers to take you home in their Tuktuk, an open air three-wheeler, which is great fun for old and young.

Check it out. It is definitively worth it.

Address:
Patara Bangkok
375 Soi Thonglor 19 Sukhumvit 55,
Klongtonnua Vadhana, Bangkok 10110
Tel.: +66-0-2185 2960-1
Fax.: +66-0-2185 2962
www.patarathailand.com


Thai cooking class at Banyan Village, Hua Hin, Thailand – Part 2

September 4, 2011

The cooking students in action

We were given aprons and chef hats and after a short introduction to the facilities, we were about to start.

Because of the special circumstances of our cooking class, we had only two flames for the four of us. As a consequence we had to do the cooking in turns. Margit and Charlotte were the first to start, followed by Lucy and me.

The ingredients: nicely assembled

The wok in action

The secret ingredient: Hua Tiao Jiu

Some intermediary products: fried fish

The results – four dishes

Proud students I

Proud students II

Thai green curry

Hot Thai soup: Tom yam kung

Chicken with cashew nuts

Sweet sour fish

The students feasting on the results of their efforts

Khun Ae did a very good job – thank you

Conclusion: This was a great experience. It seemed so easy to cook delicious Thai food. However, we were spared the laborious work in the preparation of the sauces and pastes needed for the dishes. Pestle and mortar work is especially hard in the tropical heat. And here the dosage is critical.

We were under no illusion that it needs much more practice to become a good cook, but a start was made. Every long journey starts with a first small step. We had taken it.

Thanks Khun Ae and your colleagues at the Banyan Village for making this cooking class possible.

I hope my esteemed readers are enticed to follow my path.


Thai cooking class at Banyan Village, Hua Hin, Thailand – Part 1

September 3, 2011

The Banyan Village Resort and Golf in Hua Hin

Recently we stayed at the Banyan Village, a great place to stay by the way, in Hua Hin, Thailand for a very special occasion.

We used the opportunity to add to our cooking skills and booked a cooking class on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Normally these classes are only provided on Wednesdays, but the Banyan Village staff was very accommodating and went out of their way to get a cooking lesson organized just for the four of us.

A traditional “wet market” in Hua Hin

Before you can start cooking, you have to go to get the ingredients. In Asia, for that purpose you should to visit a traditional food market. This is exactly what we did.

Khun Ae, our guide, took as to a fresh market in Hua Hin so that we could learn about the ingredients for Thai cooking.

Let me take you around. I will introduce you to some interesting stuff.

Khun Ae explaining to us Thai raw materials for cooking

We explored the wares walking through narrow lanes

Beans, gourds, eggplants and other vegetables

Chilies, capsicums, peas, broccoli and carrots

Fresh ginger

Various curry pastes

Fresh tamarind and peppers

Dried shrimps

Fresh fish

Various kinds of clams

The beef butcher

Fruit- bananas and pineapple

Of course there was much to see at this market. It is impossible to describe the smells, the colours, the fumes and the fusion of sensations, sometimes overwhelming, overpowering, at times disturbing but always amazing. Thanks for coming along.

And now we can start cooking. Just give me a minute to get home to the resort. Stay tuned for episode 2 of Thai cooking at the Banyan Village.


Dining in Hua Hin

March 20, 2010

There are plenty of good restaurants and fancy dining in Hua Hin, this seaside town about 3 hours south of Bangkok, which has become such a very popular destination for Bangkonians to spend the weekend.

During our recent workshop in Hua Hin we ate out a couple of times. I report about a not so famous place, called Pom Pom, where you can eat for very little money home cooked dishes. Some of the food is announced as “Italian”. The place was an insiders tip, which we could not refuse.

The participants of this dinner where divided as regards the quality of the food. Some thought it was awesome, other were appalled. There were few guests that night, a weekday, but the staff was very friendly and we remained seating and drinking wine for a couple of hours after the meal had ended.

We consumed many bottles of wine. Nothing fancy. Some of the wines were re-bottled and re-blended as the label in full honesty proclaimed. We drank “our way up price’wise” and did not regret it: We woke up the next morning without hangover. We had a jolly good time.