Meet Thailand on a plate

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The Pen mounts cooking classes at Spices
Many would-be tourists to Thailand are often anxious about trying the cuisine. After all, Thai food is usually characterized with strong flavors and intense spices that while may be exciting may be too exotic for some palates.

What hesitant foodies don’t know, however, is that Thai dishes do have different heat levels and diners can simply ask for a lower or higher heat intensity level anywhere they dine.

Spices Specialty Chef Phaithoon Atthasarn

“What people commonly think is that we can’t alter our flavors but in reality we can adjust the heat level according to their preference,” Thai Specialty Chef Phaithoon Atthasarn of The Peninsula Manila’s Spices restaurant informed The Manila Times.

Atthasarn, who has been with the 5-star hotel for 13 years now, added that Thai cuisine is a balance of spicy, sour, sweet and salty flavors, among others.


He is happy that The Pen has taken on the endeavor of introducing Thai food to Filipinos this year, not only by dining at Spices but with “Thailand on my Plate” cooking classes.

Launched by The Peninsula Academy Manila on February 24, Atthasan said of his new task, “In this class, we will introduce and teach students how to use Thai ingredients properly. Similarly, we will make them understand where each ingredient comes from and why they are important in our cuisine.”

The class, which will take place on March 17, will have Atthasarn teach easy-to-follow steps how to whip up Som Tam (Green papaya salad), Penang Goong, (prawns in Thai curry), and Khao Niao Mamuang (Sticky rice with mango).

These three dishes, according to the chef, best represent Thai cuisine for they are some of the most popular dishes that Thais consume on a daily basis.

A marriage of flavors, thanks to limejuice, fish sauce, palm sugar, tiny chili and garlic, combined with different textures like green papaya, roasted peanuts dried shrimp and carrots, Som Tam is basically “Thai on the plate.”

Som Tam salad is one of the three authentic Thai dishes that Atthasarn will demonstrate in ‘Thailand on my Plate’

“Back home, we consume Som Tam in the morning, the evening or even in the afternoon. It’s also one of those dishes that everybody can eat, even those who are not native,” Atthasarn shared.

Penang Goong, on the other hand, is made from red curry, coconut milk and prawns. Atthasarn guarantees that it’s one of the milder Thai dishes with just the right kick of spice.

Finally Khao Niao Mamuang demonstrates the Thai’s fondness for using rice, coconut milk, and sugar for their desserts.

“We have the sweetest mangoes in Thailand and the sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, sugar, salt and pandan serve as the perfect canvass to this fruit’s ultimate sweetness,” Atthasarn beamed.

For more information, log on to diningpmn@peninsula.com. Limited slots are available for the classes.

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