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Truly Thai

Bold, new and authentic - that is the Thai food fest at Hotel South Park for you.


GONE ARE the days when the Malayali fought shy of testing the waters as far as food was concerned. Even though food from other parts of Asia is little known in this part of the country, the Malayali is ready to experiment with the palate and even train it to enjoy the variety of cuisines available.

Perhaps, this is one reason why Fortune Hotel South Park in the city is among the select few in the chain of ITC Hotels Limited that has been chosen to create a fortnight of feasting for gourmands. Bold, new and authentic - that is `The Mystique of Asia', Thai food festival, for you.

Images of popular temples and dance forms form the backdrop in which the food festival is arranged in a buffet format.


Apart from the popular hot and sour Chinese soup, the Thai specialist chef, Raj, has chosen to tickle the taste buds of foodies with Tom yum kai, a soup with a hint of chilly oil, ginger, lemon grass and mushrooms. Tom yum kai is a popular Thai soup. Less spicy than the Chinese soup, one has to get used to the scent and the tanginess of the lemon grass, specially imported for the food festival. Even the salads and the sauces in which the various dishes are sautéed have this tanginess, thanks to a concoction of aromatic Thai herbs. We taste a few salads too. Laab hed, which is mushroom with mint leaves and roasted round rice, is quite delectable and we have extra helpings of Laab hed. We fight shy of Yam woon sen kai sup, which is a spicy glass noodle salad. Then we dig into the main course on offer. Although the Thai cuisine is renowned for delicacies made of fish, on offer are dishes made of chicken and lamb. Kaeng karee gai, which is chicken in yellow curry, is delicious. One thing that forms the base of Thai cooking is coconut milk, as in Kerala and Sri Lanka, but the difference is that in Thailand the coconut milk is boiled before being used in the dishes. Even Kae himaphan, lamb with cashew nuts, proves to be quite good. We also have extra helpings of the only fish item on offer, Hormuk pla shawn, which is sliced seer fish with vegetables. It is unfortunate that there are no more such dishes on this particular evening. Simai and dumbliang remind one of momos but taste quite different.

Thai fried rice and steamed rice are also on offer and we have small helpings of each. These are again less spicy than Chinese rice. For vegetarians, the buffet may not be very attractive as one has to get used to the spices. Kaeng kheow waan chae, assorted vegetables in a green curry, is agreeable, not too delicious though, but Phad phak - stir-fried baby spinach and button mushroom in garlic sauce - is good. This dish is something that even non-vegetarians should sample. A stir-fried flat noodles with soya, Phad se-iew, is also on offer. A variety of Chinese food is also available at the buffet. This includes Chinese bread (it looks a lot like fried idlis), chilly chicken with star anis, sezhwab vegetables and five spicy noodles.

The assortment of desserts includes our very own palada payasam, stuffed croissant in coconut sauce, ginger custard, fruit salad and even kulfi ice cream. On till June 16, the buffet would be light on one's pocket at Rs. 350.

BIMAL SIVAJI

Photos: S. Gopakumar

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