Tag Archives: Thai

Quikskoop™: Chandara – Fine Thai Cuisine (Farrago Indonesia & Plaza Indonesia – Nov 1, 2013)

http://www.farragoindonesia.com/c/eatwell
http://www.farragoindonesia.com/read/1196/chandara-fine-thai-cuisine

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Nama Chandara sudah cukup lama terngiang dalam benak saya sebagai salah satu restoran Thai yang terbilang upscale dan memiliki kualitas premium. Terang saja demikian karena Chandara tampil dengan elegan menempati satu sudut di Plaza Indonesia yang cukup ramai dikunjungi karena pilihan-pilihan restorannya yang fancy dan menarik.

Faktor elegan tersebut bahkan terus terbawa hingga ke dalam dimana saya menikmati suasananya yang temaram dan interior-nya yang mewah. Apa yang ditampilkan di buku menu Chandara sudah lebih dari cukup untuk membuat saya penasaran dengan hidangannya yang beragam – yang konon dimasak oleh seorang chef wanita berpengalaman.

Thai Iced Green Tea
Thai Iced Green Tea

Langsung saja saya memulai dari segelas Thai iced tea tradisional yang kali ini menggunakan teh hijau dibandingkan seperti varian biasanya yang menghasilkan warna oranye yang khas. Jujur saya sudah terkesan bahkan dari minuman ini saja. Rasa teh hijau yang diformulasikan dengan gaya Thai ini begitu menyegarkan dan milky. Begitu cocok di hari yang panas seperti waktu itu.

Goong Hom Sabai
Goong Hom Sabai
Yam Pet Yang
Yam Pet Yang

Menu pembuka saya bagi menjadi beberapa elemen. Yang pertama adalah goong hom sabai atau lumpia isi udang yang selalu tepat di segala suasana. Kedua, yam pet yang atau satu piring panjang berisi salad bebek dengan rasa pedas yang menantang. Khusus untuk salad bebek ini ternyata tampil sangat mengesankan serta begitu menambah semangat makan saya!

Mad Ke Yao Pad Pla Kem
Mad Ke Yao Pad Pla Kem

Selain itu saya juga memesan mad ke yao pad pla kem yang merupakan terong yang dipotong pendek tebal dan ditumis dengan bawang putih, kacang kedelai, ikan asin, potongan ayam, serta saus tiram. Menu yang satu ini ternyata menjadi hidangan pembuka favorit yang akan saya pesan kembali di lain kesempatan!

Neua Yang
Neua Yang
Khao Soi
Khao Soi

Untuk main course, saya mengikuti saran dari pihak restoran untuk memesan dua menu andalannya yaitu neua yang atau sirloin beef panggang asal Australia yang dibumbui bumbu-bumbu khas Thai namun berkarakter manis serta didampingi sejenis saus pedas sebagai penyeimbangnya. Lalu kedua, saya begitu menikmati khao soi atau mie kuah santan dan ayam asal Chiang Mai di Thailand utara yang begitu cocok dipadukan dengan berbagai potongan bawang merah, bawang putih, serta sambal khas Thai. Sungguh kedua masakan ini merupakan rekomendasi yang cerdas dari Chandara!

Khao Niew Mamuang
Khao Niew Mamuang

Menutup makan siang yang nikmat itu, saya mencicipi sebuah dessert yang terasa familiar namun tetap begitu nikmat. Adalah ketan manis yang disiram dengan santan lalu dipadukan dengan potongan buah mangga segar nan manis. Semuanya menggoreskan sentuhan indah pada petualangan saya di Chandara yang kelak akan saya kunjungi lagi di kemudian hari.

Chandara (PI) - Facade

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CHANDARA

Halal-friendly

Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Plaza Indonesia, Level 1 Unit E 18, E 19 T, Jakarta – Indonesia
Plaza Senayan, Level P4 Unit CP 414, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Everyday, mall opening hours

RSVP:
Plaza Indonesia: +62.21.2992.3774
Plaza Senayan: +62.21.572.5342

Website: http://www.jittlada.com/chandara
Twitter: @Chandara_Thai
Facebook:
ChandaraThaiCuisine

Spend: IDR 100,000 – IDR 150,000 / person

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The Art of Royal Thai (Dreams, Heritage Edition 2013)

Centuries of colorful culinary heritage with bold characteristics and richness like nowhere else has made Thai cuisine one of the most sought after delicacies. The Royal Thai Cuisine proudly becomes a part of it and plays an important role as the envoy of refined cuisines the world over. 

Differentiated into four regional cuisines, Thai cuisine with all its originalities absorbs influences from neighbors such as Indochina countries as we know today, Malayan peninsula, Yunnan of China, and even European powers during colonial era. Even so, the pivotal role in the whole identity creation of Thai cuisine came mostly from the Central region where capitals located and royalties resided since the dawn of the Siamese kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya up until what is now the modern Thailand.

Within the immense influence of the Central region’s cuisine, one must not neglect that some part of it had been painted by the existence of Royal Thai Cuisine or dishes served in palaces and aristocratic households with specific standards in recipes, compositions, and aesthetics. Tracing back during Ayutthaya era that signified the emergence of Royal Thai Cuisine until this very moment, each sovereign had their own pick of what they preferred to eat, which may be similar with Thai dishes that we know, but the royals have a unique custom of dining solitarily unlike other kingdoms where usually the families dine together. In addition, there’s no standardized version on what particular dishes that had to be served for Royal Thai Cuisine.

Aside from being served in set from appetizer, soup, main dish, and dessert, Royal Thai Cuisine uses high quality ingredients and is presented beautifully by using the finest vessels available and fruit carvings. In terms of taste, there are no extremes such as too spicy or too sour as everything kept in balance and followed the original recipes.

Another rule of thumb is that everything on the plate must be edible. In the case of fish for example, it had to be deboned first and then reconstructed again as a whole fish, or if it was a fruit, then it should be deseeded first and served as bite size pieces appropriately. Everything is prepared painstakingly detailed and involves a large number of staff in the royal kitchen as all these refinements are exactly what set Royal Thai Cuisine apart from others.

Although basically each dish in Royal Thai Cuisine can be found commonly, but there is actually one that came off from an authentic idea during the reign of King Rama II two centuries ago and eaten particularly during the hot summer months.

Kao Chae (Courtesy of Eugene Goes to Thailand)
Kao Chae (Courtesy of Eugene Goes to Thailand)

Kao chae is a bowl of rice soaked in candle smoke-scented water and decorated with jasmine petals. The idea might sound simple but the preparation is actually meticulous such as to cleanse the rice from starch by adding cold water many times after the rice cooked and left to achieve room temperature first, then there’s the use of rain water for the soup, and how to manually infuse the water with scented candle’s smoke.

From there, the preparation of side dishes is no less complex though most of them are fried dishes. First, there are young green peppers stuffed with pork, herbs, and spices then laced with egg after fried. Next, deep-fried kapi (shrimp paste) balls which beforehand were seasoned with shallots, garlic, palm sugar, and Thai-native wild gingers. Then there is also a selection of beef, pork, or fish torn into threads then flavored with fish oil and palm sugar before being deep-fried. Aside from those, there are also less common side dishes for kao chae such as boiled salted egg or deep-fried Thai shallots stuffed with dried fish.

Nowadays, Royal Thai Cuisine is available also in restaurants but if commoners wish to see how it all prepared publicly, then Songkran (Thai New Year) festival would be the right time. During this festival, talented chefs from all over Thailand gather and cook the best of their abilities for the king. The event takes place on April 13 for three days only every year and the many variations in Royal Thai Cuisine during Songkran festival may be something that you do not want to miss.

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Published in Dreams, Heritage Edition 2013

Photos courtesy of Blue Elephant & Eugene Goes to Thailand

Restaurant Review: Sukhothai (The Media Hotel & Towers, Jakarta)

It’s been more than a year and every good memory about it remains still. Sukhothai successfully brought back the sweetest of my dine outs memory with its carefully preserved, authentic Thai cuisine. As one of the oldest Thai restaurant in Jakarta and still a hidden gem, I feel the urge to share you my fantastic culinary journey there recently.

The recently rebranded The Media Hotel & Towers (previously Sheraton) is now unrelentingly promoting the new image both as a hotel and as a culinary destination. The director of PR, Mr Muhammad Iqbal who happens to be a good friend of mine, again invited me for another dinner session at Sukhothai and this time with several of my fellow food bloggers.

I remember my last encounter with Sukhothai during my assignment for Hang Out Jakarta magazine like more than a year ago to interview Executive Chef Firdaus Fadly (currently somewhere in Africa according to Mr Iqbal). That time I was instantly fallen in love with Sukhothai – the place, the atmosphere, and definitely, the food.

My second visit was again during dinner time or to be exact, for an Iftar. Although we had to commute quite far but I knew it that it’s for something good. The journey itself felt as if blessed by The Providence. We were still on the bus during azan Maghrib and we had forgotten to bring a mineral water for Tajil. Stranded with nothing to break our fast apart from a candy my wife gave me, all of a sudden a stranger gave me a labeled mineral water. It’s what my jovial friend used to say as, ‘Ada pekerjaan di atas’ which literally meant that there’s a building construction going on but here, it was more of God’s work and I am grateful for it!

It was timeless in Sukhothai perhaps as far as 15 years of its existence. Still the same color, the same tone, the same ambiance, and the same design that made me comfy. Traditionally, we all sat upon a cushion on the wooden floor and like Japanese style tatami flooring, where being barefooted is a must.

The all-you-can-eat menu here is something that you shouldn’t underestimate even though the choices are pretty limited. There, you can choose from appetizers until the desserts. To start the evening, we had the most appetizing opener ever namely pla takrai or very similar to Bali’s sate lilit. It’s a fried marinated fish with lemongrass and the herbs were quite strong but it created a beautiful mixture of savory flavor and traditional feel. While other appetizers we tried were gai hor baytoi or the fried marinated chicken wrapped pretty with pandanus leaves and mango sambal known as yam mamuang. The sambal may be also familiar for us Indonesians but the Thai signature style involves a higher rate of sourness and intense flavor. It may not be easy but it’s definitely refreshing.

The spice and sour thing also found in Sukhothai’s seafood tom yum soup (tom yum thalay). The taste was very fresh, but some may consider it too strong for their palate, and richly filled with fish, squids, clams, and prawns. Other options you can try here are also involving soupy dishes such as tom som (sweet and sour soup with crispy deep-fried fish) and kwe tiaw phed yang (perhaps quite similar with Chinese kwetiaw but added with duck).

Main courses were interesting and abundant, both of them were my favorites – the phad poh taek or the stir-fried seafood with herbs and chili and phad kapraw nuea or more like minced meat with chili and basil. Plenty of original Thai herbs involved and particular Thai style flavors – rich, sharp, and unique. With those came the most exciting side dishes. It’s pretty much similar with Chinese style dishes of fried rice or stir-fried vegetables but definitely Thai self-stylized.

For instance, the khao pad sapparod was one of the most delicious fried rice dishes I had ever encountered. Served upon a pineapple, the fried rice made with optimizing the spices and herbs at their best serving time after cooking them and to be then diluted with the rice. Not only was that it tasty but also fragrant, sweet, and rich. Other good alternatives would be khao pad plakem or the fried rice with salted fish and add that with stir-fried broccoli or water spinaches for your vegetables intake.

To seal the deal, I personally chose the tam tim krob where the main ingredient was merah delima or red water chestnut made crispy with yams and served in a cold, sweetened coconut milk syrup. If you want something ‘dry’, the man suam would also prove to be formidable to end your dinner. It’s basically a simmered cassava with sweetened coconut milk syrup.

While some dishes may be already quite familiar with our culinary culture but a small journey to Sukhothai has always been fruitful and pleasant. I am definitely looking forward for another visit and the all-you-can-eat scheme is indeed valuable package for everyone to share. Plenty of great, classic cuisine standardized well for years under the masterful skill of Chef Sidik, known to receive personal tutelage in Thai culinary from the masters back in Thailand years ago.

So, if you happen to plan yourself a visit there, don’t forget to tag me along then!

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SUKHOTHAI (THE MEDIA HOTEL AND TOWERS)

Halal-friendly
Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Address: Jl. Gunung Sahari 3, Jakarta – Indonesia

RSVP: +62.21.626.3001 ext. 4605

Opening Hours: Daily – Lunch 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm, Dinner 6 pm – 10.30 pm

BB Pin: 276AE2CE

Email: info@themediahotel.com | reservation@themediahotel.com

Website: http://themediahotel.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themediahotel

Twitter: @TheMediaHotel

Pricing: All-you-can-eat currently available at IDR 175,000 nett per pax (on limited dishes).

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More pictures will be added soon!

QuikSkoop™: Aro Aroy

Aro Aroy can be a good savior if you get tired of injuring your wallet or you’re not in a mood for hawkers food around Midplaza Building and Intercontinental Hotel.

The cause for your wallet injuries would either because spending too much on Japanese restaurants around there such as Taichan and Sakana which notably would cost you more than IDR 60,000 in average or spending too much unneccessary expenses on Coffee Bean or Baskin & Robbins.

Also you might get tired of hawkers food around, since I vouch that almost none of the hawkers can provide a consistently decent taste. Not to mention the cleanliness which some people may find it disturbing. Nevertheless, the clean version of Indonesian hawkers can be found beneath Intercontinental Hotel just nearby called Kantin 99. Well.. the thing is, you can get bored sometimes right?

So plenty of reasons why people might pick Aro Aroy for an alternate lunch. Not only because of wallet problem, but Aro Aroy surely offers different genre among the dominating Indonesian and Japanese cuisine in the premise. Although Aro Aroy doesn’t emphasize the fullness of Thai cuisine only in the menu, but also tries to embrace everybody’s daily appetite such as several options for Fried Rice or some Chinese cuisine dishes.

Pla Pad Pong Galee

So other than the dominating usual dishes like Fried Rice, I decided to pick a ‘native’ dish (I couldn’t be too sure though they named it in Thai) which was named Pla Pad Pong Galee (IDR 37,000) and already added with rice and clear soup. So, this dish is actually a good combination between seafood with a hint of curry, not really dominating like Padangnese, Indian, or even Japanese curry rice. A bit hot and sharp since they use also sauteed it all together with capsicums and red chilis.

I always believe that an egg in its full nature (not separating the yolk and the white) will always enhance the taste of the food. Take a simple example of the hawkers that sell fried rice. They’ll always ask you about what to do with the eggs. To mix it all up or to fry it or to make it an omelette. Personally, I’d say, ‘Hey, mix it up!’, since my previous experiences told me that by not doing that, the taste of your fried rice would be not as good as it supposed to be. It’s even better if you add an omelette over the mixed fried rice but hey, you gotta watch your cholesterol, dude.

In Pla Pad Pong Galee case, the egg was added as a mixture when the stirring process happened. Definitely adds the flavor into a savory and spicy grade. The seafood consists of cut fish, squid, and small shrimps. The rice portion was suffice as well. Reminds me of seafood with Padangnese sauce if you happen to visit seafood hawkers in Indonesia. As for the clear soup, however, was not really worth it. No matter how savory it might taste, you’d only find a small amount of vegetables and only several small blocks of chicken.

Though dining in Midplaza I Building might be quite expensive, eating in Aro Aroy can be a perfect alternative for that. No matter how unworthy the soup is, the rest of the dishes prove to be far better than just your adequate Thai dishes you can find anywhere in your usual place.

LOCATION:

Midplaza I Building, B1 Floor. Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 10-11, Jakarta