Siam Trading Company brings Thailand to Bengaluru
Having travelled thrice to the country, Thailand, especially Bangkok, is one of my favourite places in the world. Yes, I know you’re smirking and thinking of “all the fun” I might have had. But in all honesty, it’s the food and the culture of the place that I thoroughly enjoy. (Especially now that I’ve discovered the existence of Wish beer…but that’s for another post). Until I actually travelled there, Thai food for me was mostly red and green curries with rice and the occasional pad thai. It was only after I went backpacking through the south, that I discovered a whole new world, whose flavours of spice, sweet, citrus and so much more made me instantly fall in love.
While we have a few restaurants in Bengaluru that offer a Thai menu, the closest to the real deal, comes from the rebranded Siam Trading Company. (Previously known as One Night in Bangkok). Chef Thashvin Muckatira has carefully brought together all the distinct flavours of various cuisines from across Thailand which vary from the amount of spice, to ingredients available in the region and even the type of meat and rice that goes along with the meal. A select bunch of fellow food enthusiasts were invited for a meal curated by Bangalore’s very own Ruth Dsouza Prabhu (who blogs at www.bangaloresrestaurants.com). (PS – We ate a lot of food that day; this is going to be a long post)
The afternoon innings kicked off with the flavourful Beef and Rambutan Soup, which isn’t much to look at, but packs a punch in terms of flavour that brings together meaty and fruity flavours. This was accompanied by a classic Som Tum salad with Prawns; this is the closest to the real thing that I’ve had in the city. I was thinking that they could draw inspiration from Heston and given an iPod with the noises of Bangkok streets to really drive home the experience. What followed was one of my favourite dishes of the afternoon – The Carambola and Prawn Salad. This dish combines the flavours of prawn and fresh starfruit and is tossed in a chilli paste with lime juice and fish sauce. The sweet bits of starfruit that provide relief from the spicy prawns, along with little crunchy rice wafers are a joy to eat.
The meal continued with familiar flavours of Pandan Wrapped Chicken, Basil Prawns with a Peanut Sauce and a delightful Steamed Lotus Stem with garlic, chillies and chines wine. While each of these dishes teased the palate and made us salivate for more, it did not prepare us for what was coming next.
Homemade Pork Sausages… and not just any regular pork sausage, but sausages fermented in the North Eastern style. This dish had everyone chomping away with grunts of joy, only to be interrupted to ask for seconds and thirds. Chef did mention that there’s another batch curing away in the kitchen which would give a better punch when ready. While the picture I’ve clicked doesn’t quite capture the beauty of the flavour, this is something you ought to put on your list if you are a pork enthusiast. There was almost similar enthusiasm for the sour beef.
You’d think we’d be done by now, but then we were served the Grilled Pork Neck with a Spicy Lime Sauce, which simply blew away our taste buds. This was the dish that made us forget all etiquette and use our hands to polish of every bit of tender pork off the bone. This was the Dark Knight to Nolan’s Batman Begins. As expected, we gluttons requested for more. I’d put this as an equal favourite with the Carambola and Prawn Salad, which in complete contrast was a lot more delicate in flavour when compared to the ballsy pork neck.
Main course (yes, main course) was a Bangkok favourite – Dry Noodles with Pork and Prawns. Mildly spicy, with earth flavours from the shitake mushrooms, this dish is something one would find in the smaller Chinese restaurants of Bangkok. I’ve had a slightly spicier version during my travels that lacked the finesse of this dish. We also sampled a bit of the Chiang Mai Chicken Curry with Sticky rice, a dish that offers a lot spicier and bold owing to the kind of produce in the region, which shares a lot of the recipes with neighbouring Myanmar.
The desserts, the Sticky Rice with Mango and the Rubies in sweet coconut milk, while looking pretty needed a bit more work, which I am sure would have been fixed by now. No complaints otherwise.
An indication of a great meal is when it makes you swear that you’re coming back for more once you’ve digested what’s already in your belly and do one of those ‘I’m going to skip breakfast’ nonsense exercises. Having returned from a short two-day trip to Bangkok, the meal at Siam Trading Company brought back fond memories of all the great food I’ve had and has me planning a much larger backpacking trip to the north… which I hope, happens soon.
PS – It was quite the challenge not to binge eat on some food at home while writing this blog post…because… that pork neck… and those prawns… dear Lord!!!