When it comes to food that I have eaten on my travels, my Thailand trips will rank as some of the top ones on my 'foodilicious' list. Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines and I find it really exotic. The contrast of flavours is what intrigues me the most - sweet, spicy, hot, sour and rich along with the awesome fragrant smells of the dishes. Yum! Well this is exactly why the invitation to celebrate the ‘Songkran Festival’ - the Traditional Thai New Year at Renaissance Mumbai got an instant yes from me. Chef Cham Hun and his team of culinary experts first showcased a few of his signature recipes at a Masterclass in association with Godrej Natuure's Basket, and then they hosted us for a scrumptious Thai dinner.
While eating Thai Food one does get to taste the various flavours of the ingredients that go into it, but at the masterclass I got to see them in their raw form and in fact even got introduced to a few vegetables that I never knew existed.
Thai Sweet Basil
Heart of Palm
Pea Aubergine - I always thought they were peas. Was shocked to know these were aubergines!
Kaffir Lime and Bird's Eye Chilli(Thai Red Chilli)
Kaffir Lime Leaf
What is Thai Food without some coconut! :)
Finally it was time for dinner. Renaissance Mumbai celebrated the ‘Songkran Festival’ at their beautiful in-house Asian specialty restaurant - Emperors Court from 8th April 2017 to 15th April 2017, and let me tell you every dish that I ate was delectable!
There were 2 kinds of menus that you could choose from. One was the set menu with a veg and non veg variation, and the other was the a la carte menu where you had a lot more options. I totally left it to the chef to offer what he thought was best so that we got to eat the choicest dishes from the menu.
Prawn Crackers - Yummm!
Veg Som Tam Salad - This was really tasty but a little too spicy for me. Nevertheless, my glass of water really came handy here while I devoured it all.
Tom Kha Je - This creamy coconut soups with vegetables and fresh herb had a lovely aroma to it. While PS was relishing it, I could smell it till the next chair. He said it was the perfect blend of ingredients without the coconut bit going over the top which usually tends to happen to Thai Soups at Indian restaurants.
Tom Yum Koong - The Tom Yum is my favourite soup in the world! I love this concoction of herbs, spices, vegetables and meat. Lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and fresh lime juice, that combined together just soothe my taste buds like no other soup can. I loved how the prawns here was so succulent and well cooked that they just melted in my mouth.
Koong Phad Prik Horapha - This was my favourite starter that evening where the prawns were tossed in red curry paste with Thai sweet basil. The sweet and sour flavour with just the right amount of spice was the highlight of this dish. I loved how the prawns were deshelled enough for me not to have to bother to waste time doing that and rather focus on the eating and flavours.
Khao Hom Mali (Jasmine Rice) - The smell was heavenly!
Gaeng Phed Kai - The traditional Thai Red Curry with chicken, pea aubergine, Thai sweet basil and kaffir lime leaves. The whole new learning about the pea aubergine made me pay attention to the taste and enjoy the dish in a whole new way. This is anyway one of Chef Cham's signature dishes and a must try!
Pad Thai Je - These stir fried flattened rice noodles with veggies make a great accompaniment to veg and non veg spicy dishes, but on its own it was a little too sweet for my liking. What I liked about them though was the texture where in they didn't get stretchy or stringy even when I took another helping a little while later. Shows how important it is to prepare a good base for noodles that stay soft even when they are not as hot as off the wok.
Phak Yod Mapraw Himmapan - This was a dish I was really looking forward to because the palm heart again was a new vegetable that I was introduced to. I mean I had seen it being used in cookery shows on television for other international cuisines but had no clue it was used in Thai dishes as well. Stir fried palm heart, water chestnut with cashew and sweet basil tasted divine. This is a dish I am going to be trying again and again for sure!
We concluded with the best-est part of the entire dinner!
Kanom Mamoung - How could the dinner end without mango with sticky rice. This is a signature Thai dessert where sticky rice is cooked in coconut milk and served with fresh diced mango. This is a must have as part of any Thai meal especially during summers. Well I relished every bit of it!
A happy me that highly recommends Thai Food at the Emperors Court restaurant at Renaissance Mumbai that is in the expert hands of Chef Cham and his team.
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