In the Philippines, the two most popular Asian cuisines are undeniably Japanese and Chinese. But for Crowne Plaza’s Executive Chef Angelo Faoro, it is due time that Filipinos also appreciate the equally delicious cuisine of another neighboring Asian country, Thailand.
It was for this very reason that the head chef decided to spotlight the cuisine this September. So together with Crowne’s Filipino chefs, Faoro whipped up a food festival dubbed “Thai Cuisine Beyond Curry” at Seven Corners Restaurant.
In an interview with The Manila Times, chef Faoro shared how Thai cuisine has gone global over the past decade. He began, “In 1970, there were only two Thai restaurants in London. You know how many they have now—300! And many of these restaurants carry Michelin Stars!”
He added, “Remember that Thai cuisine was only discovered in 1960. And now, it ranks No. 6 all over the world. In cooking competitions, Thai chefs also always come on top.”
Asked to describe the unique flavors of Thai food, the Swiss-Italian chef then replied, “Thai cuisine [has]a fresh approach to the ingredients, and it’s not easy kitchen. They have a lot of techniques involved including boiling, deep fry, stir fry, steam, wok. In one dish, they incorporate not just one technique.”
Crowne Plaza’s Seven Corners has hosted Thai food festivals in previous years. To make this year’s festival more special, the hotel management and Chef Faoro came up with a unique theme.
“When you think of Thai food, you think of curry, but not as strong as India’s. So this food festival is called ‘Beyond Curry’ because we want to let people know that Thai food is not just about curry. Yes there is curry but there is actually so much more,” he explained.
In fact, surrounding Asian countries have influenced Thailand’s cuisine through the years.
The expat chef elaborated, “The dishes in the menu have an influences of Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Laodian, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Burmese flavors. We thought to incorporate the food from the entire country and not just the few regions that we did before.”
So besides the creamy green, yellow and red curries, taste buds will be delighted with Thailand’s other famous specialties like the appetizing spicy fruit salad made from with fresh herbs and seasoned fruits; pineapple and shrimp fried rice; grilled satay barbeque paired with peanut dip; and poached sweet potatoes infused with sweetened coconut milk for dessert.
Tasting these offerings, Seven Corners diners will also experience the light and balanced flavors of Thai food.
“They [the Thai people]managed to put four flavors—sour, spicy, salty and sweet—in the dishes and balanced it well. And despite this, the food remains very light,” Chef Fauro added.
What then is his most favorite Thai dish? The chef revealed: “The green papaya salad. What makes this good is the ripeness of the papaya and the spices like the cilantro and chili, added with soya sauce, lemon, lime and fish sauce.”
Chef Faoro lastly shared that for Filipinos to truly appreciate Thai cuisine, he prepared the dishes to particularly suit their palette. “If we do authentic Thai, it would be too spicy. So we trimmed down the level of spiciness. We have to slightly Filipinize the food,” he ended.
Trip to Thailand
Thai Cuisine Beyond Curry is held in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Cebu Pacific. Through the two organizations, Crowne Plaza will give diners the chance to go to Phuket, Thailand for free.
Under the promotion, one lucky winner gets a three-day/two-night stay for two persons at Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach Thailand. The prize is also inclusive of round trip airfare tickets via Cebu Pacific.
For inquiries and reservations, call 633-7222, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.