Chef Tony’s guided tour of the street food of Bangkok
Just when a travel trip to Bangkok and elaborate plans of hogging on all the street food fell apart, came this invitation for a food promotion at...
Just when a travel trip to Bangkok and elaborate plans of hogging on all the street food fell apart, came this invitation for a food promotion at Zega, the Asian restaurant at Sheraton Hyderabad in the Financial District of Gachibowli. Chef Tawatchai Ubonsai, famously called as Chef Tony, has come down to all the way from Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse and along came the myriad flavours from the streets of Bangkok.
A chemist turned food enthusiast and later a trained chef, Tony’s tryst with hotels began with Zurich, where he went to hone his culinary skills. “Thai food was famous in Switzerland, but it was not authentic. The ingredients make all the difference,” he says. After having worked in Australia and Switzerland, now he is back to where he belongs – the food paradise called Thailand –Bangkok.
The herbs, spices and the various kinds of chillies, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime, etc make Thai food flavourful and distinct and the favourite of the world. “There are different regions – North, South, North East and Central are prime regions and there is variation in the food. It is Bangkok that is centrally located that draws tastes from everywhere and tourists usually get to taste the street food found in plenty here.”
So, while the North of Thailand is more inclined towards less spicy food and has Chinese influence, South is all about spice and fish sauce. Noodles are common across the country, but North region is also into sticky rice. The consistency of curries too changes. South uses milk and curries are thicker. Dishes are salty, and sometimes desserts too have a hint of salt.
Chef Tony (one couldn’t take eyes off this amazing tattoo symbolising family, friends and love that he acquired during his culinary trails, covering his left arm until of course the food arrives) kept the food rolling during a promotional lunch and on the elaborate menu he ensured was a bit of everything – almost like a sum up of foodie delights from Bangkok - there is the very popular street food, Phad Thai and the omni present Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and Thai salad, steamed Calamari with lime sauce, grilled Pork Chops with basil and galangal, Chingmai Yellow Curry Noodles, home-made Stir Fried rice noodles with shred chicken, Prawn spring rolls, Southern Lamb Curry with kaffir lime (In Thailand it is usually chicken, pork or beef) and desserts that include Coated Water Chestnut dipped in coconut syrup (the salty sweet Tup Tim Grub) and Sweet Sticky Rice served along with Thai Mango.
The chef takes great pride in what his country has to offer to the world in terms of taste and flavours. He will be in Hyderabad guiding the food lovers on this Thai trail until February 25. He signs off with a suggestion. “When in Bangkok do try the Fried Basil – that’s my favourite.”