Grilled pork neck

 

FullSizeRenderOn the hunt for Thai food I found a restaurant called Err in the historic center of Bangkok. This Bib Gourmand bestowed restaurant was started by the same team behind big brother Bo.Lan. This is also where I had that whole crispy chicken skin. Of course that’s no all I had, I also ordered a portion of grilled pork neck.

I had had horse mane and chicken neck before, but never pork neck and I imagined it would be very fatty. It was fatty, but only a little. The meat wasn’t streaked with fat like bacon, but had a consistency halfway between meat and fat. It was served with a spicy tamarind sauce with made for a great tangy dip.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 7

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Durian tart

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In my last blog entry I mentioned my visit to the Erawan Tearoom in Bangkok where I enjoyed an afternoon tea. First came some tiny scones which only made me hungrier, but then a three-tiered plethora of Thai snacks arrived and I was hungry no more.

Among the many sweet and savory bites were crab dumplings, mango and sticky rice and to my horror a durian tart. Durian is one of those things hat my old readers know I hate. It was one of my first blog entries scoring super low on the taste test because it all but made me gag. I can’t fathom why people would enjoy eating something that tastes of rotten onion?

I’d be damned if I let my fears get in the way of polishing of the expensive plates I had already paid for though, so before I was even aware of doing it my hand stretched towards the tart. It actually looked rather appetizing and it didn’t smell that bad either. The taste completely took me by surprise. I could still taste the strong flavors of durian that are oh so familiar to me, and yet it didn’t make me want to gag. It was as if it was as pungent but not as strong like a sweet gorgonzola where you can taste blue cheese but not too strong.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 6

Pandan tea

 

 

FullSizeRenderPandan is a grass often used in Southeast Asia for making desserts. It gives a distinctive green color to any dish it is used in. I tried it before in a cream filled cake, but there was hardly any cream to get a good taste, so when I went to Thailand it was time for round two.

I visited the esteemed Erawan Tea Room in Bangkok for one of their afternoon teas. The set was quite unique with lots of miniature Thai dishes and pastries. Of course I was also asked which tea I preferred and so I opted for an iced pandan tea.

It arrived with a piece of pandan sticking out and served with a sugar syrup on the side to sweeten it if you wanted. I tried it first without sugar and it tasted almost exactly like rice. Surely these two plants must be related. After I sweetened it, it became more palatable for my taste like a regular iced tea.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 6

Red curry ice cream

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Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin is without a doubt one of the best Thai restaurants in Thailand, and perhaps in the world. It was started by Danish chef Hendrik Yde Andersen whose Thai restaurant in Denmark had already received a Michelin star. Sra Bua has since earned a coveted Michelin star on its own and has previously been listed among Asias best restaurants.

Arriving a little late I was still just on time to order the set lunch menu. This included their signature dish of frozen red curry. The dish consists of chunks of lobster with a red curry ice cream, lychee foam and some garnishes such as crispy fried onion. The whole dish is presented on dry ice to further enhance the frozen theme.

The lobster was perfectly cooked and the lychee worked well to compliment the sweetness of it. Of course the most interesting of this dish us the red curry ice cream. Tasting it on its own you could get all the familiar flavors of a red curry, but without the kick of chili. It was even a little bit sweet and I can imagine just eating a bowl of it on its own. It was very innovative and a great accompaniment to the lobster.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 9

Whole crispy chicken skin

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I’m not a fan of chicken skin, or fish skin or any other skin for that matter, but I do enjoy a bit of crackling with my meat. With that in mind I ordered the crispy chicken skin at Err in Bangkok. Err is a Bib Gourmand endorsed restaurant in Bangkok that serves food from around Thailand, without too much focus on curries. I also had a great northern Thai spiced sausage.

What really attracted me to the chicken skin dish was the visual. It wasn’t just a piece of skin, It was an entire skin, legs and all, that was kept in place. It looked like a whole roast chicken with all the meat magically taken out. There was a slight disappointment in the size, as it was quite small, but it definitely looked the part. It was served with a homemade spice sriracha sauce.

The skin was indeed addictively crunchy, letting you snap off small pieces at a time. There were only a few parts were he skin was folded over that it became a little bit limp. The taste was definitely that of roast chicken, but with an extra high level of flavor that you don’t get from the meat. At points it was even a little like being in a petting zoo. The sauce was super spicy, but it was a spice that didn’t linger and made for a nice accompaniment.

Fear Factor – 1 / Tastes Test – 7

Flying ant powder

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If you visit restaurant Pujol in Mexico City, like I did last month, you go there expecting two dishes: The four year old mole and the baby corn dusted with chicatana powder. Chicatanas are a type of flying ant that are harvested in Oaxaca for only a few days a year. Chef Olvera serves them ground up and mixed in with mayonnaise to serve as a coating for the baby corn.

My fear factor is very low for an insect dish. That is simply because I knew they ants would be ground up and unrecognizable, and also because I trust this famed chef. The corn was super soft and tender, and had a beautiful taste with the sauce, a definite highlight of the meal. The ants, as suspected were hard, if not impossible to distinguish. I couldn’t taste anything, and I could barely see anything safe for a few lonely specks of black.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 8

Four year old mole sauce

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Sometimes you have to give yourself what you want, even if it’s a little costly. I had been wanting to dine at restaurant Pujol in Mexico City when I was there. Dish after dish arrived at my table and right after the main course was served came the chef’s signature mole dish.

Mole is a sauce often used to smother chicken in. It has loads of ingredients such as chilies, but may also include chocolate, which is unusual enough in its own right. This one was even more unusual because it was over 4 years old, 1502 days to be exact. The chef doesn’t clean out the pot after a day’s service, but uses the leftovers the next day to make more.

The sauce was served in combination with a fresh mole made on the day to highlight the difference, just the sauce and a tortilla for dipping. The old mole was simply incredible. Like an aged pouilly de fume wine, with all kinds of notes and undertones, especially smoky ones. The new mole in comparison was more like a Beaujolais.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 9

Coriander sorbet

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A lot has been said already on my blog about savory sweets and desserts, especially those including salt or bacon. This trend has extended in the culinary world to using herbs and spices in desserts. This was especially evident in a pineapple and coriander dessert I had recently at Pujol, a restaurant which ranks among the top 20 in the world.

The dish consisted of two main components, a 16 hour roasted chunk of pineapple and a coriander sorbet. There was also some caramel and crystalized coriander for garnish. It was a match made in heaven. The sorbet was sweet from the sugar, and though it definitely tasted of coriander, it wasn’t savory. The pineapple was super tender, yet still maintained a bite. What a wonderful combination the two made. No wonder Pujol is so highly rated.

Fear Factor 2 / Taste Test – 9

Guava Juice

 

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten guava before, though I might have inadvertently had some in a tropical fruit salad. I guess that’s a future blog entry in the making. I have, however just finished a big can of guava juice from the import section of the supermarket.

For some reason I was expecting it to be sour, but it definitely wasn’t that. If anything it was sweet, but I had this odd feeling of picking up some meatiness. I know that might sound odd, but I have the same feelings about papaya. Therefore I’m going to make the assumption that a guava is similar to papaya. I guess I’ll have to try the actual fruit in order to find out. To be continued.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6

18 course dinner

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I like throwing outrageous dinner parties every now and then. Once or twice a year I go for a multi course meal. I’ve done 13 and 14 course dinners based on the favors and cuisines of Italy, Spain and Holland. On New Year’s Day I prepared a lavish 18 course dinner to ring in the year 2018. All of this was inspired by the food of Japan. Some things didn’t work out that well, but in general the night was a huge success. It only took six hours to eat. Here’s the menu:

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1 – Plum wine champagne cocktail with gold flakes & raw oyster with wasabi granita, ponzu and sushi ginger
2 – Tofu style buffalo mozzarella & truffled edamame & squid ink fried chicken
3 – Soy cured salmon tartare, wasabi avocado mousse, nori powder & crispy rice noodles
4 – Truffle oil and shii take chawanmushi
5 – Raw scallop, pickled daikon & salmon roe in miso broth
6 – Tuna tataki with wakame salad and truffle ponzu dressing on lotus crisp
7 – Monkfish liver dumpling with miso caramel & soy cured egg yolk
8 – Green tea soba with uni sauce & salmon roe
9 – Sake and saffron steamed clams & soy bean seaweed bread
10 – Lobster champagne tempura with saffron aioli
11 – Grilled eel & saffron rice bowl with raw quail egg
12 – Iberico pork tonkatsu slider on rice bun with curry sauce and cabbage slaw & okonomiyaki style sweet potato fries
13 – Wagyu steak with red wine soy sauce & truffled potato salad & miso glazed baby carrots & foie gras croquette
14 – Plum win and champagne shaved ice
15 – Yakult panna cotta with sakura flower in champagne jelly layer with soy bean cherry blossom cookie
16 – Green tea brownie with pickled plum ice-cream, crispy ginger, black sesame soy bean crumble on rice wine strawberry coulis
17 – Gold leaf luwak coffee mochi, fried banana, miso caramel & soy bean powder popcorn
18 – Green tea latte with green tea pop rocks, sushi ginger & shishimi truffles

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8

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