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Thai flavours


THE TROUBLE a modern day epicure encounters quite often is the varied cuisines themselves. The Chinese, the Italian and the Mexican fight for attention, even before the knife and the fork battle it out on the table. Not that culinary battles are something one hates. They, much like beauty, are a joy in their own right. Still, it is the indecision that some find unpalatable. One might like to give in to the pasta and yet cling to the dim sum lingering in one's mind.

Certainly, it is time to check The Grand Café in Vasant Kunj. No, The Grand is not offering a potpourri of world cuisine, nor does the menu boast of your dream delicacies. What it offers all through this month is simply Thai food in addition to the regular buffet. Another mouth-watering, but brain-taxing cuisine one would imagine. Wait and relax and maybe choose a mocktail such as a Fairy Tango before you decide. Thai food is a harmonious marriage of Eastern and Western influences. Originally based on a waterborne lifestyle, it now has the flavours of Chinese, Indian, Portuguese apart form other cooking styles.

The fish, ginger and lime salads, the raw papaya salad, the rice salad with their eye for artistic appeal as well, apart from the taste are definitely cachets of the past when the monarchs ruled the Siamese land. The sesame flavoured chicken and the corn patties would have been their favourites as well, one could guess. The soups point to the Indian influence with coconut being used liberally. The prawn and lemon grass soup with its fair bit of spice may again be of particular interest to the bons vivants from the sub continent. Cheers and alas! Cheers for the lovely taste but alas, as it is half of all that the seafood lover can hope to get here, the mellow fried fish being its only companion.

Their absence allows the noodles and the curries to assume centre place. Ingredients such as galangal and lemon grass ensure that, the curries don't burn for long. The flavoursome tenderloins and the delicious lamb curry are worth your dining time. The live counter with its piquant dishes may, however, not attract many. Wrap up the meal with the braised water chestnut with coconut milk dessert and the culinary battle might be over. Eat it as Thai, or eat it as a mélange of all cuisines with no brain taxing.

S. M. YASIR

TOONG TONG, Chu Chee, Khao Tang Nar Tang... . These are not new songs climbing up the chartbusters list. They represent the flavour of Thailand in the heart of Gurgaon. Inside the trendy new Sahara Mall, lies Ros Thai, the new eating joint exhibiting the taste of Thailand. `Ros' in Thai means flavour.

"It is very important to have Thai food in the right combination of sweet, sour and spicy to enjoy the right flavour," says Mahendra Suwal, Managing Director.

The interiors of the place have been artistically done with a seating capacity of 72 with a mix of Thai and English music playing in the background. To give it a proper Thai feel, the stewards and the hostesses are dressed in traditional costumes.

With the chefs being flown in from Thailand, the restaurant plans to give the best of Thai food. "We want to give the people here, the real flavour of Thailand," says G. Rawat, General Manager at Ros Thai.

The cooking method and the ingredients used in the preparation of Thai food is altogether different.

They use coconut oil for cooking, and coconut milk takes place of other daily products. In Thai curries, pure spices are sparsely used, while fresh herbs like lemon grass and galanga are used in abundance. Thai curries generally burn intensely, but briefly, whereas curries with strong and pure spice burn for a longer period of time.

A Thai meal is served all at once instead of serving dishes in courses, permitting diners to enjoy the combinations of different tastes.

A proper Thai meal consists of a soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and vegetables, a spiced salad and the special Thai desserts to round it off. Thai food does give the harmony of different tastes within the individual dishes and of course, the entire meal.

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