THERE is perhaps no easier way to Malaysians’ hearts than through food.
And when it comes to Thai food — with its liberal dashes of sugar, spice and everything nice — most would welcome it with open arms.
The latest offering from Lemon Garden in Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur is the Thai Loy Krathong Festival promotion that tempts diners’ taste buds with an array of Thai favourites.
It is not difficult to find Thai dishes when opting for a buffet meal but to make a large spread solely devoted to authentic Northern Thailand dishes is a rare sight.
The collaboration celebrates the magical Loy Krathong Festival – the Thai Festival of Lights – by bringing in Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai’s sous chef Chainarin Langkeng to curate a selection of dishes.
The second most well-known festival after Songkran, festival-goers celebrate Loy Krathong by placing candles on banana leaf boats and letting them sail down rivers as thanks for a good harvest and for forgiveness of sins.
The menu by Chainarin, who has over 19 years of culinary experience, is a modern presentation of traditional Thai flavours.
“I believe our food is our people’s most brilliant invention. I really want to share my love for Thai food with people across the globe, ” he said.
This love for Thai food is evident from the three rotating menus consisting of appetisers, soups, main dishes, desserts and live stations.
Diners can start with the appetisers where 12 types await, ranging from Yum Mamuang (green mango salad with shallot and dried shrimp) to Yum Nua Yang (grilled marinated beef salad with celery cucumber).
The chef’s dedication to his craft can be seen through the care he has taken with these dishes, which are lovely to eat. The Yum Woon Sen Gai Sub (spicy vermicelli salad with minced chicken) and Yum Gai Yang (grilled chicken salad with mint leaf) are among the standouts.
The fresh tang of Som Tum Goong Yang (papaya salad with grilled prawn), a popular Thai appetiser, is also found here.
These appetisers can also serve as a palate cleanser, especially the Yum Phollamai (spicy mixed fruit salad with peanuts) and Yum Khai Dow (spicy fried eggs salad).
The prerequisite introduction to the country’s cuisine, tom yam goong, with its spicy allure of lemongrass, coriander and a host of other condiments in the mix, is not to be missed.
A salty, sour and spicy burst of delight, the secret to the dish lies in the chef’s combination of fresh ingredients and masterful balance between the flavours.
Depending on the menu, the kitchen also has Tom Yam Pla or Tom Kha Gai (spicy chicken soup in coconut milk).
Over at the mains section, diners can savour khao suay (steamed rice) alongside the richly tasty Braised Beef with Massaman Curry and Peanuts.
The tender beef practically melts in your mouth, while the curry leaves you craving for more.
Pair your meal with fresh seafood dishes such as Choo Chee Goong (deep-fried prawn with red curry sauce and kaffir lime leaf) for an unforgettable taste with a hint of spiciness. It highlights the prawns’ sweet freshness with creamy red curry sauce seasoned with kaffir lime leaves.
One can also opt for the Hor Mok Talay (steamed seafood cake) which is certainly worth a try.
The traditional Kaeng Khiew Warn Gai (simmered Thai green curry with chicken and eggplant) will also not lead you astray.
That said, a surprising contender is the flavoursome Thao Hoo Phad Med (stir-fried tofu with cashew nuts), where the texture of the tofu is soft yet with enough bite to complement the nutty taste of the cashews.
Each strand of the signature Pad Thai Goong, a popular street fare, is well-seasoned to serve as a satisfying main dish.
Finish off your meal with the delightful taste of thick coconut cream, paired with sticky rice that has just the right texture and mango so fragrantly ripe and sweet that it will sweep you off your feet.
Other dessert options include Thai fried banana and steamed pumpkin custard for those who prefer the less conventional dessert.
The festival is supported by the Royal Thai Embassy, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways.
What this means is that diners during the Loy Krathong Festival period stand a chance of winning a return trip to Chiang Mai via Thai Airways and a two-night stay at Shangri-La Chiang Mai.
The Thai Loy Krathong Festival buffet spread is available until Nov 17 from noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday) and noon to 3pm (weekends and public holidays), as well as for dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm daily.
It is priced from RM140 to RM180 nett for lunch, and RM170 to RM226 nett for dinner. Children between six to 12 dine at half price.
LEMON GARDEN, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 1, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2074 3900). Business hours: 6am to 10pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.
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