Thai food is quickly becoming a favorite of Filipinos, based on the many restaurants popping up all over the city. It’s easy enough to find a place to eat when you have cravings but there is a difference between eating Thai food, and eating good Thai food.
Dusit Manila’s Benjarong is definitely part of the latter as they classify themselves as serving “Royal Thai” cuisine, meaning, you will be eating food prepared in the same way it is done for the Thai monarchy. While the King and your regular Thai citizen eat almost the same kind of food, the difference lies in the way the food is presented.
Royal Thai cuisine is a harmony of sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter. The challenge is to find the perfect balance of all five without one overpowering another. In Benjarong, current bestsellers and classic dishes co-exist with new menu items.
Salads work as full meals
Always delicious is the Tom Kha Gai, a coconut-based soup with galangal, a root from the ginger family, and chicken complemented by the distinct tanginess of lime.
The Gai Tord Khamin, a deep fried chicken with turmeric, though a bit on the mild side in terms of flavor, is a good pair to the Tom Kha Gai to start the meal.
The salads at Benjarong are quite refreshing, and filling enough to act as your whole meal should you want to order it and not share. The Yam Moo Yang Angun, or spiced salad with grilled pork with grapes is a stellar dish that can act as a starter or a stand alone dish.
Alternative to Pad Thai
If you are in the mood for noodles, there is always Pad Thai Gung Sod, which is everyone’s go-to Thai dish, but I suggest you order the Khao Soi instead.
The egg noodles with coconut-based curry broth, lime wedge, fresh onions and chili oil will start a party in your mouth. Aside from its unique flavor, you will love it as a tummy warmer for the rainy season.
Top your meal with Khanom Tako, a coconut cream and chestnut dessert that will provide a sweet ending to a good meal.
How to make Pad Thai (recipe courtesy of Benjarong):
1 pack Rice noodles
1/2 kg Beansprout
20 stems Chinese celery
1 pc. Small bean curd, diced
1/4 cup Chinese radish, chopped
1 cup Dried shrimp
1/2 cup Ground dried shrimp
1 cup shallot, sliced
1 cup Ground peanut
10 pcs. Fresh shrimp
For the sauce:
1 cup Palm sugar
1/2 cup Tamarind juice
1/3 cup Fish sauce
1/3 cup Red chili sauce
Mix all ingredients and simmer.
1. Heat oil in a wok, put shrimp and fry until cooked and set aside.
2. Then saute sliced shallot, ground dried shrimp, chopped Chinese radish
3. Put rice noodles and a little of water, fry until noodles become soft, then add the sauce and mix together.
4. Put the shrimp and leave noodles in one side of the wok.
5. Scramble eggs in the wok and mix with the noodles.
*Add beansprout, Chinese celery, ground peanut, ground dried shrimp and mix together.
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Erica Paredes has been working in the publishing industry for almost a decade as a fashion and beauty editor, newspaper columnist, stylist and make-up artist. Nowadays she juggles her time between food and fashion, beauty and travel plus mommy duties to her 8 year old daughter.
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