There is feasting on Thai cuisine, then there is feasting on Thai cuisine by the River of Kings, how much more Thai can the latter one get?
As if the spices that play on the palate that says this-is-authentic-Thai-food is not enough, Salathip heightens the cuisine’s flavor by matching it with quintessential Siamese visual pleasures: the exotic golden teak pavilions, the famed Chao Phraya River, and add to that the traditional Thai classical dance performances. Dining at Salathip is more than a culinary delight, it is a cultural experience.
“Salathip is Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok’s Thai restaurant. The restaurant was purposely built to provide guests with an authentic dining experience with creative presentation in classic Siamese surroundings. It’s a cluster of three Thai-style teak pavilions set in a garden next to the Chao Phraya River,” said Khanitta Sudsamai, the hotel’s Communications Manager, as she walked me around the riverside garden.
Knowing its address, expect Salathip to have that brand of elegance the Shangri-La is notable for.
Manning the kitchen since 2003 is Thai Chef de Cuisine Yanavit Theerasomboonkun, who says he was inspired to become a chef looking at King Rama IV’s cooking photographs.
But it was at the home of a famous Thai chef, Charlie Amatyakul, whose father worked at the royal palace and his mother had cooked for the royal family since the reign of King Rama IV, that Yanavit fell in love with cooking Thai food, and learned how to.
Inspired by a royalty lead for the man to cook for royalty. Chef Yanavit had the opportunity to prepare Thai dishes for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Walailak during his career.
Feast on Thai flavors royalty has savored and enjoyed by the River of Kings, Salathip extends this experience to everyone.
And to be able to truly enjoy fine Thai cuisine, Salathip can tell you something about the dishes they serve and its origins—the noodle dishes inspired by the Southern Chinese or its curry variety lent by the Burmese, the hotter curry dishes from the Indians, the Middle Eastern spices evident on some plates was inspired by the Muslims and even the desserts have a touch of the Portuguese. Enhance the flavor with a generous serving of spices and the dishes are transformed into something Thai.
Surprises came my way when the dishes recommended by my host were served. The Pomelo Salad was nothing new to me but Salathip’s version of the Yum Som O (Pomelo Salad with Prawns, Roasted Coconut and Crispy Shallots) was a cut above the rest. The flavors of each ingredient were distinctive and rich and the freshness pronounced. And this was just the starter.
The other dishes that followed I can describe as bearing the same qualities—the Hoy Shell Lui Suan (spicy seared sea scallops with green mango), Goong Makham (stir-dried tiger prawns with tamarind sauce), a sample plate which included Satay Gai (grilled marinated chicken with peanut sauce).
It is imperative that I end every Thai meal with my favorite dessert, the Khaoniao mamuang (Sticky rice with Mango). I am no longer surprised that Salathip presented theirs in an elegant manner with a mini mound of two-toned sticky rice served with a half-cheek of sweet mango. I amazed my host at how quickly I finished it.
Throughout dinner, I was able to catch a couple of traditional Thai classical performances, one of which was an excerpt from the Ramayana, the courtship dance of Suvannamacha the mermaid and the Hanuman monkey king. In both performances, the dancers moved across the dining halls eliciting admiration and applause from the audience.
That’s how my “royal dinner” by the River of Kings went at Salathip. Isn’t it time you had yours?
Salathip Thai Restaurant is at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok is at 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand.
Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.
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