I am no stranger when it comes to Thai food. For nearly two decades, I lived in one of the best neighborhoods in NY for Asian food – including Thai food; that is my ‘hood and it is called Elmhurst. One of my best friends in college is Thai and I remember in freshman year of college, she brought me to eat authentic Thai food at this small little hole-in-the-wall joint in Woodside, Queens called Sripraphai (back then only the local New York Thai community knew about it, but today it is thriving and people would take the train and cross over from Manhattan just to eat there). New Yorkers love Thai food. And then in 2008, I went to Bangkok for the first time and I was smitten all over again by the delicious street food there.
The thing with Thai food, it is all about the complexity of flavors. Blending elements of several traditions, Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety are of great significance to Thai chefs. I remember one time watching Food Network on cable tv and one of the Thai chefs being interviewed spoke about how Thai cuisine is built upon (and the balancing of) four main flavor components: sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. On this note, I must mention that the spiciness of Thai cuisine is well known. One of the Thai phrases which I was very quick to ask my Thai friends to teach me since the beginning was the words “Mai Ped“. That’s how you say “not too spicy”; a useful phrase to know for those who can’t take a lot of heat but unable to resist the allure of Thai spiciness like me.
Anyhoo… The Flavours of Thailand at the PARKROYAL on Beach Road buffet spread offers many familiar favorites for Thai cuisine lovers. Some of these dishes I had eaten regularly and even made in my own kitchen before.
Thai Beef Salad (Yam Neua)
Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yam Woon Sen)
Thai Seafood Salad
Thai Shrimp Cakes
Mini Shrimp Toast — My grandma, mom and aunt used to make these; I guess it takes quite a bit of effort to pound the shrimp, fry the toast etc. as I don’t seem to get to eat these homemade anymore. O_o!?
Thai Fish Maw Soup (Kaphork Pla) — someone asked what made this Thai (ie. how is it different than the Chinese version?). The answer is the addition of fish sauce to flavor the soup. You know, I think fish maw soup is so much more delicious and also eco-friendly compared to shark fin soup. More people should convert to serving and eating fish maw soup instead of shark fin soup. Besides, fish maw contains collagen which is always a good thing for beautiful supple skin, and I have also been told eating this regularly helps to cleanse toxins from the lungs.
Thai Beef Noodle Soup (Kway Tiow Neua) — one of my most often craved-after comfort foods.
Thai Duck Red Curry (Kaeng Phed Ped Yang) — some people like green curry, massaman curry, panang curry; my vote goes to the duck red curry. Always. I even learned how to cook this during one of my trips to Bangkok.
Stir-fried Kai Lan in Thai Style — let’s not forget the veggies, people.
Stir Fried Minced Pork in Thai Style (Pad Krapow Moo) — A perennial fave of mine. I usually make this at home using ground chicken. :9~
Fresh Daily Catch of The Day Steamed in Spicy Thai Lime and Chilli — *THIS*, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, IS DA BOMB!!! I could inhale the entire fish on my own. It’s generously citrusy, plus spicy and fragrant, MMmmMmmmMmm!!!!! :9~ There’s nothing I don’t love about fish cooked this way.
Glutinous Rice with Durian Paste (Khao Neaw Durian) — I didn’t actually taste this as I am not hot on durian.
Tapioca with Coconut Cream — I love this dessert made of tapioca steamed and bathed in simple syrup, then drenched with thick coconut cream.
With so much yummy food abound, my buffet dinner was made that much more enjoyable in the company by great friends (and as bonus I got to meet some new ones too). :)
DanielFoodDiary, of course. ;)
For all of you guys buffet fans, WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY??? Do you go for all your faves first and fill yourself up with those, or sample everything in small portions first and then go back for seconds/thirds/fourths focusing only on what you like?
My personal top five dishes from the PARKROYAL Thai buffet spread are:
1. Fresh Daily Catch of The Day Steamed in Spicy Thai Lime and Chilli
2. Thai Beef Noodle Soup (Kway Tiow Neua)
3. Thai Fish Maw Soup (Kaphork Pla)
4. Thai Duck Red Curry (Kaeng Phed Ped Yang)
5. Tapioca with Coconut Cream
Just give me those five dishes at this buffet and I’m happy as a clam. Well, there are many more other dishes at the buffet too which I didn’t sample, such as Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken Floss, Thai Chicken Wings, Crispy Soft Shell Crabs, Braised Sea Cucumber with Roast Pork and Mushroom, blablablabla. Fave or not fave, I seriously couldn’t stomach any more. -____-” What can I say, I eat like a bird and buffet is generally a lost cause on me.
Last but not least, Flavours of Thai at PARKROYAL on Beach Road buffet is available from 5 Sept – 31 Oct and priced as follows:
Dinner (Monday to Thurs): $52++/adult, $31++/child
Dinner (Fri – Sun): $55++/adult, $33++/child