My blog ‘Pendown’ had an invitation from PAN ASIAN (one-stop destination for Asian Food Lovers) to indulge in the Sawadika, a Thai Food Festival (Spring Summer Thai Fiesta). Husband and I both enjoy different elements of Thai cuisine, thus we chose to drop by for dinner on Friday night. Here is all about our foodie experience.
Sawadika is the first word that I learnt when I visited Thailand last year. Sawadika means “hello”in Thai. For the uninitiated, I must tell you that when someone greets you by saying Sawadika, you wish them back in the same way by saying ‘Sawadika’. Its quite similar to our one word ‘Namaste’ in India. Now that we are talking about similarities between India and Thailand, I would definitely love to talk about food. Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisine in the world. Before visiting Chiang Mai and Bangkok, I always thought Thai food was bland and tasteless but there I learnt that Thai cooking has always been about amalgamation of fundamental tastes, aromatic components and secret herbs and Thai spices. In fact, in Chiang Mai, I had loved feasting on authentic Lanna (Thai) cuisine.
I must appreciate the attempt of PAN ASIAN to woo the taste buds of food lovers in the capital city with a platter of exquisite Thai delicacies. Delhi’s fascination has been growing for Thai cuisine and flavors, now we just need to build on it. If our friends from Thailand have been missing their food, they can also go and have fun.
ITC WelcomHotel Sheraton is one of my favorites in Delhi and I love coming back here again and again. And if you enjoy luxury like me, you will definitely agree with me that there are very few which can match up to the ITC group of hotels. On Friday, I reached Pan Asian at around 9 p.m. and stayed till 11 p.m. The two hours were happily spent in savoring and understanding more about Thai cuisine. Trust me, every food outing takes me a step closer to the idea of authenticity of both local and international cuisine, cooking techniques involved , research and hard-work that goes in the kitchen of the restaurant and more. And I believe, Food festivals are a great way to bring a celebrate a specific cuisine and its flavors.
Before this, I had never been to Pan Asian but I had read about this that the chefs here offer amazing oriental flavors. Hubby and I entered the restaurant and there we were greeted by Chef Vaibhav Bhargava ( Sheraton, New Delhi) himself. Soon, we were joined in with a very friendly lady from the marketing team. Next, three of us settled in comfortably and began talking around food and delicious dishes. The menu was brought on the table and I was all keen and curious to relive a Thai culinary sojourn. I am happy to say that there were not many confusing names on the menu but some intense and exquisite dishes. We began by ordering some mock tail to raise a toast to the evening. In the meanwhile the chef returned to his kitchen to put up his best. I rolled my eyes to soak in the ambiance and totally loved the plush look. The tables were neatly done with the cutlery and glasses intact. There was lot of room to move around and the open kitchen was a delight because the guests could see what was being cooked for them.
Thai Pomelo Salad
Thai Pomelo Salad was the first dish to arrive on our table. I remembered from my trip to Thailand that pomelo is used instead of grapefruit. I had tasted it for the first time in Bangkok and had found it very tasteful and refreshing. This one looked absolutely healthy and it tasted just perfect in combination with cucumber.
When the soup platter arrived on the table, it looked very interesting. The picture above shows the before and after effect. First it only contained dehydrated beetroot, tofu, mushroom, paprika and some spices. Once the hot soup was poured over it, the veggies opened up and lend their colors and flavors to the whole combination. Pinkish color from the beetroot and the spicy-chilli overpowered the soup and made it taste absolutely perfect.
After the soup, it was time to dig in some starters. For my vegetarian husband, Chef happily brought a platter of peanut butter corn cakes. I picked one too. It was very crispy and yet not oily. The corns were fresh and crunchy. More than the peanuts, I could feel the corns had taken over the taste and I quite liked it that way. These days food has become a way of creating art. I appreciated the presentation too.
I had a happy grin on my face as soon as I saw some lemon chicken arrive on my table. I would say it was one of the best that I have eaten in a long long time. As the name would have it, the dish was tangy but yet it did not overpower the flavors of the spices in which the chicken was cooked. I could sense some sweetness too. I am not sure if some honey was added to the broth. The meat was tender and absolute blend of flavors was just perfect. The vegetable art done with the carrot also got my appreciative eye. First, I ate the chicken and then the carrot too. Why waste the salad part?In the same context, I would like to inform my readers that the art of vegetable carving had originated in Sukhothai kingdom.
Prawns are not something that I relish but yes I tasted one. They were crisp and nicely done but I will not be able to comment more. I usually do not eat much of prawns.
The starters were replaced by the main course. A thick green and yellow curry arrived on the table. The chef introduced it as spinach curry and it had pieces of water chestnuts. Of course, this was something that we were going to eat for the first time. I was immediately reminded of the fact that chestnuts are a local indulgence in Thailand. I did not develop a taste for it immediately but it was an interesting fusion. Herbs and spices used were absolutely different to what we would cook these two in Indian style. The best part about it was that it was thick and tasted very nice with the pineapple rice.
Pineapple Rice just stood out for me that evening. I loved it the way it was served to us in a scooped pineapple. I am a rice eater and I love interesting combinations of rice. Though, I prefer salty flavors but this one impressed me even though it was sweet in taste. Despite being sweet, the rice and the abundance of dry fruits spoke for themselves. And of course the pineapple chunks played with the taste-buds at regular intervals.
Well, well this is one dessert I totally fell in love with when I was in Thailand. I had never eaten it before. One of my traveler friends introduced me to it and ever since then I had loved this deadly combination of sticky rice, mango and coconut milk. I am a mango lover and this is the season too. If you have not tasted it ever, you must eat it soon. I always mix a piece of mango with the rice that has some coconut milk poured over it, together it tastes heavenly.
That was all about the evening. We ate, we chatted and relished some great combinations. In fact after this dinner, I realized that gradually I had taken fondness to Thai flavors. Earlier I was not very keen to try and eat everything in Thai but now I can say I am doing good. And yes I did Pad thai (phat Thai) in the menu. Hope the chef is listening.
Spring Summer Thai Fiesta
Where: Pan Asian, WelcomHotel Sheraton New Delhi
Date: 13th May- 19th May
What: A-la-Carte Lunch and Dinner
Lunch: 12.30pm -2.45pm
Dinner: 07:30pm -11:45pm
I am hopeful that you enjoyed reading this. After all we are all driven with the passion for good food.
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