My kind of Thai

17 06 2011

At Thai at Silk. Vintage Mickey Mouse T-shirt from Hong Kong, Nixon "Time Teller" in Blue X, a stalk of lemongrass with an orchid.

IRON MAN wouldn’t hear any of my pleas to split the bill with him.  I knew the dinner was quite expensive.  But I knew all too well that in this place, it was always worth every peso forked over.  Or in Iron Man’s case, swiped with his pre-approved plastic.

Yet another one of our “the-best-laid-plan-is-no-plan-at-all” dinners transpired last Wednesday night.  Iron Man and I sort of agreed to foot the bill for the night, but the self-proclaimed “excellent orderer” me decided on the place on my own – Thai at Silk at the Serendra Piazza.

Thai at Silk has always been one of my usuals.  Batman and I used to frequent the place.  And since I knew very well that having amazing company – Mike & Thea, The Flash, and Iron Man – would take care of 50% of an unforgettable meal, I had to make sure that the restaurant of choice could deliver the other 50% – great food.  And in the case of an establishment that brandishes directly the country of origin, the place better deliver authentic food.

The Flash, eNTeNG, Mike, Thea, Iron Man.

And that has struck me as something consistent with Thai at Silk.  One sip of my favorite Tom Yum Kung (Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup) never fails to conjure up images of how people from the Northern part of the country would make this soup with plenty of freshly caught shrimp, then people from the South would add pounded roasted chilies in oil to give the soup its characteristic deep orange color and powerful kick.  This same soup embodies the ideal of Thai cuisine, a perfect balance of all the four tastes – sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.  To this day, I maintain that Thai at Silk makes the best Tom Yum in Manila.

Tom Yum Kung

Around the soup, I built a spread that continued to showcase this balanced play among the four tastes.  The Roti with Choo Chee Kung had wedges of slightly charred roti bread elegantly served alongside a dipping sauce of minced prawn in reduced red curry sauce.  I usually would break the roti by hand, and dip each piece into the sauce.  But Thea recommended doing it one better – by dusting each dipped piece with white sugar before eating.  It was superb.

Roti with Choo Chee Kung

To the uninitiated, the Tod Man Kung (Thai shrimp cakes) would seem to be deep-fried, dried-out breading with a sporadic sprinkling of minced shrimp.  But no.  Each cake is Thailand’s answer to the Italian Veal Milanese!  Tender chunks of fresh shrimp are lightly breaded, formed into cakes, then deep-fried yielding an appetizer that does whet the appetite – tender and juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  On their own or laced with the special sweetish sauce, these are cakes you would fight to have and eat too!

Thai shrimp cakes

For our entrées, we had Pla Lad Prik Sam Ros (deep-fried fillets of fish with tamarind chili sauce), Kaeng Khiaw Waan (green curry chicken), Deep-Fried Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab, Phad Thai (stir-fried flat rice noodles), Pineapple Fried Rice, and steamed fragrant Jasmine Rice.  All of these, save for one revelation, were excellent as always.  I’ve never been the one to ask for soft shell crab.  The reason why it found its way to our selection was the enthusiastic recommendation of our server.

Lad Prik Sam Ros (deep-fried fillets of fish with tamarind chili sauce)

 

Deep-Fried Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab

 

Pineapple fried rice

 

Phad Thai

 

Iced lemongrass tea

Thai at Silk’s Deep-Fried Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab is one huge blue crab cut up into pieces, breaded and deep-fried, before being tossed up in their special black pepper seafood sauce.  It was surprisingly quite tender!  I didn’t have to fight with the “soft shell” with chewing that would be a lot of jaw work.  Before the evening ended, I realized I made a new favorite that would be worth coming back for.

Granted that we feasted on a meal that balanced the sweet and sour with the salty and spicy, you would expect us not to crave for any desserts.  But Cupcakes by Sonja being a few doors down the Piazza, it was inevitable to have desserts.  And this time, on me.

The Flash, Mike, Thea, and Iron Man at Cupcakes by Sonja

 

eNTeNG with the gang!

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





eNTeNG’s 25

10 04 2009
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Totally unrelated to this post. Haha! Just dug this up during the week-long break. Taken on a dinner-out with Friendship and Mother.

 

UPON MY friends’ prodding, I signed up for a Facebook account.  But it didn’t take a long while for me to figure out one thing – I couldn’t keep up with Facebook!  To my friends, I’m almost always the one they will name when asked as to who among they know is the most relentless – nagging even!  But when I got on Facebook, I realized I couldn’t really stand being on the receiving end of a “poke” or a “tag.”  Talk about getting a dose of my own medicine!

 

But if there’s one thing I think I could succumb to, it’s making this random list of 25.  (I’ve been told that being “tagged” to do this on Facebook has spread like forest fire in the dry Outback.)  Things “random” appeal to me.  I even made a category here just for my own “random musings.”  Hahaha!

 

So here it is, my list of 25 random things – yes, 25 things I love! – mostly about food.  They are in no particular order (again, “random”!).  I just have to sort of count them down from 25.

 

25.    I have a very weird snacking habit.  I can devour a whole pound of cooked ziti pasta.  Yes, you read it right – just cooked pasta WITHOUT any sauce.  On other days, I would munch on bunches of fresh coriander.  Clearly, popcorn is not my idea of snacking while watching my favorite TV shows.

 

24.    Unlike, most people, I adore in-flight cuisine!  I particularly love Singapore Airlines’, especially whenever they have their chef specials right around the holidays.  Air India still makes the best curry for me (I had second helpings!).  And Philippine Airlines will always be memorable to me.  I gained appreciation of – and long-standing romance with – enoki (winter) mushrooms on board one of their flights.

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Some of the in-flight menus I have saved through the years.

 

23.    I collect in-flight menus.  But I politely ask the attendants first if I could keep a copy before I stash it away.  Another would be room service menus.  Again, I’d ask first before I keep anything!  And oh, I keep all my restaurant receipts too!

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Yet another shot of the in-flight menus.

 

22.    My favorite salad green is arugula.  I like its slightly bitter, peppery taste and its succulent, slightly thick fleshy leaves.  So I always get SaladTime’s “Arugula & Mixed Greens.”  For some reason, I couldn’t find what is commonly known in the U.S. as “garden rocket” or even what Chef Jessie Sinsioco refers to as “micro-arugula.”

 

21.     When I read somewhere that Aga Muhlach’s personal chef would make him an all-eggwhite omelet as part of his diet, I started to make the same – my own version, my own recipe! – for one of my best friends who happens to be a health buff.  Mine would call for provolone cheese and fresh white button mushrooms.  Unfortunately, I still couldn’t find provolone locally!  So I’d settle for the next best thing – the Australian COON Light & Tasty 25% Less Fat Shredded Natural Cheddar Cheese!

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For my all-eggwhite omelet, I first saute the sliced Tuscan Fields fresh white (or Swiss Brown) button mushrooms in 100% pure canola oil (or light extra virgin olive oil).

 

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I couldn't find provolone. But this does just fine!

 

20.    My dream all-eggwhite omelet recipe would be made out of, of course, eggwhites, fontina cheese, chives, and shaved fresh truffles (from Italy)!  Yummy!

 

19.     Growing up, my favorite local chocolates were Serg’s “Mocca” bars, Goya’s block chocolate, and Ricoa Flat Tops!  Too bad, I don’t think they make Serg’s anymore.

 

18.     Among imported chocolates, I intensely love Godiva (their boxed sets are really pretty); Leonidas for their pralines and truffles; and, ROYCE’   for so many things!  Among their variants – that I have tried and shared with Superman – I particularly love the NAMA CHOCOLATE CHAMPANGE PIERRE MIGNON, NAMA CHOCOLATE AU LAIT, NAMA CHOCOLATE MILD COCOA, NAMA CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY, Pure Chocolate (Venezuela Bitter & Ghana Sweet), Coffee Chocolate, Prafeuille Chocolat Coffee Chocolate, and PotatoChip Chocolate.

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All the way from the Greenbelt 5 store...

 

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...to a superhero's desk!

 

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For sentimental reasons, I've kept the wrapper of my very first Royce' chocolates, handcarried from Singapore!

 

17.      I’m particularly proud of my chicken tinola.  I make my chicken broth the same way chefs Jessie Sinsioco, Gordon Ramsay, and Tyler Florence would make theirs.  Friendship calls me the “sabaw” king!  If I don’t have the time or the ingredients to make my chicken broth fresh, there’s always Swanson.

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My chicken tinola up close. Postscript: I just had to cook this right after I made this post! Haha!

 

16.     Like Superman, I love macarons de Paris from BIZU PATISSERIE, in pistachio, coffee and caramel flavors!

 

15.     Of all media personalities, Daphne Osena Paez is the best food “critic.”  I mean, I trust her.  For me, nobody has come close to how she would account, describe, or share her gastronomical experiences on the now-defunct show “F.”  I guess it’s in the combination of her (palpable) sincerity, facial expressions and enunciation.  Oh, and the fact that she has got to be one of the smartest personalities to grace the boob tube ever.

 

14.     The best “spice” I’ve ever put on a bowl of Chinese noodles is ground green tea leaves.  I forgot the name of the dimsun place.  It’s a kiosk inside the Hong Kong International Airport, near a big book store.  From where I would sit, I’d see Starbucks directly below.

 

13.     I love New York Cheesecake from KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS®.  It’s their doughnut shell loaded with cheesecake filling and topped off with cream cheese icing and a very generous “dusting” of graham cracker crunch.  Spider-man loves it too, as well as the blueberry cheesecake.

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A box of six Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The one on the bottom left is the New York Cheesecake I love so much!

 

12.     The Good Earth Tea Room makes the best chicken chow mein and black mushrooms with beancurd casserole.  Their duckquitos (roast peking duck with onion leeks and hoisin sauce in taco shells) are so worth coming back for!

 

11.      I get my tom yum goong (hot and sour shrimp soup) fix at tHAI AT SILK at the Serendra Piazza.

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The elegant place setting at Thai At Silk.

 

10.     I’m not a huge sandwich fan.  But whenever I would decide to have one, it would only be one of three.  The roast beef sandwich at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (first had at the Alabang Town Center branch).  The crabstick sandwich at The Soup Kitchen (first at Glorietta 5).  And, the farmer’s ham ciabatta at Delifrance (first at the NAIA Terminal 2).  Superman finds the last one particularly fancy when I described it to him.  It’s actually slices of ham and brie cheese with an iceberg lettuce leaf in ciabatta bread spread with a raspberry dressing!

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One of my (so far) three favorite sandwiches – the crabstick sandwich at The Soup Kitchen.

 

9.       The Danish butter cookies that I’ve never forgotten were of a brand called “Oxford.”  It was a gift.  I wasn’t able to find it anywhere.

 

8.       Brother and I would often pretend that we had officical business at our apartment’s admin office in the U.S. just so we could get our hands on the free Otis Spunkmeyer oatmeal cookies.  We’d shamelessly swipe off everything in sight (Haha!).  They later caught on.  Talk about being caught with our hands in the cookie jar.  Haha!

 

7.        Other people’s signature dishes that I love to bits are Mother’s adobo, Sister’s tortang talong, Therese’s barbecued baby back ribs, and (again) Therese’s pot roast.

 

6.       The one recipe I’ve been  meaning to try – for the longest time – is Rachael Ray’s Boeuf Bourguignon (“Beef Burgundy” or simply, beef in red wine).

 

5.        My most memorable past-midnight cravings were for Hainanese chicken rice.  I’ve had it twice at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, and once at the Diamond Hotel Manila.  Makati Shangri-La’s was way better.  And more special too as they didn’t really have it on their coffee shop menu.  I wrote the chef a thank you note.

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One of the Makati Shangri-La receipts. Hainanese Chicken Rice at 11:39PM! They punched it in as "open food" because the lobby lounge / coffee shop menu didn't really carry it! I wrote the chef a thank you note! To date, it has got to be the best I've ever had!

 

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Room service for Hainanese Chicken Rice at 11:51PM at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

 

4.       I get my cupcake fix only at – wherelse?! – Cupcakes BY SONJA.  Here in the Philippines, Sonja L. Ocampo is still the one and only cupcake rockstar!  Of her creations, my favorites are Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Vixen, Choco Cream Cheese Swirl, and Pumpkin Sweet Spice (seasonal).  Spider-man adores the Bunny Huggers.  Superman likes them a lot too!

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A stack of Sonja's pretty cupcake boxes. When Sonja learned I was blogging, she had her staff put this out, and even told me it was okay to style the cupcakes for my pictures. Such a nice lady!

 

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This box of four went to Superman. A serious chocolate lover like this superhero likes the melt-in-your-mouth flourless Valrhona chocolate cake cupcake a lot!

 

3.       I still mourn the demise of the cookie dough flavor of HÄAGEN-DAZS®.  I love BEN&JERRY’S cookie dough too.  I’m just not sure if it is available locally.

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I've kept these through the years – the boxes of the first (ice cream) snacks I've ever had in a moviehouse abroad! See – Ben&Jerry's!

 

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Cookie dough is really my favorite. But on that first night, this had to do. Not bad at all really!

 

2.       I make the time to cook for someone.

 

1.        I still eat Cerelac!