Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Thai Love Affair

Sa-wat dee ka! How was your week? 

Can I be honest with you? Since last week, I've been stuffing my face with delicious Thai food every chance I get. In my ideal perfect world, it would be Thai food today, tomorrow and every day. Period. I'm so in love with Thai cuisine *for now*. Exotic flavors I just can't get enough of. 

So while I've been hopping back and forth between my two favorite Thai restaurants in the city, I want to share with you my list of favorite classic Thai dishes that has completely taken control of my life the past week. 

1. Tom Yum Goong 
Tom Yum Goong is quite possibly the best thing that ever came out of Thailand. Ever.
Hot, exotic and slightly spicy (really could use more heat!) - it's such a tantalizing fusion of layers of flavors from the herbs and spices used to make it that no amount of words or photos no matter how much time I've spent editing them can ever do justice on how delicious this broth is. Each delicious slurp can transport you to the colorful world of Thailand.

Tom Yum Goong is always consistent in the most favorite, most popular, most delicious Thai food lists all over the world.

2. Pad Thai Noodles
Hello, Pad Thai Noodles. We meet again. I'm pretty sure you know by now my little obsession with you. I'm  the one who always lurks in the distance, drooling over  watching you. It's not stalking, I swear. It's just.. ever since I've had a taste of you, I quite haven't been able to stop thinking about  you... slurping your sweet, slightly tangy noodles laced with egg, soft tofu and crushed peanuts OMG...just those delicious thoughts are enough for me to neglect the lunch I've slaved making the night before and head down to Mae Krua quickly. So worth it! Every.Single.Time. You're the kind of noodles that make me giddy and happy inside. 

3. Thai Mango Salad 
I love tangy. I love sour. I like to pucker up. I can seriously *drink* a really good vinegar. And I really love green mangoes! Green mango salad, green mango shake..anything green mango I can get my hands on.

This is why I love this version more than the popular Som Tam Thai Papaya Salad. It's so deliciously tangy with the right amount of heat with that lovely crunch from the peanuts and that hint of cilantro here and there. So refreshing it will surely awaken those sleepy tastebuds. Plus it doesn't hurt that it's healthy and low in calories.

I'm seriously salivating just looking at it.

4.  Stir-Fried Chicken in Thai Basil Sauce (Pad Kra Pow)
Oh my basil! I am so in love with this dish, I just want to dive right into it and bury my face forever in this rich, salty, slightly sweet heavenly stir-fry that smells so a-ma-zing!  The next time I'm able to get my hands on it, I will ask for sweat-inducing Thai spicy with no hesitations. NO. HESITATIONS.

Chicken in Thai Basil Sauce is the new love of my life (shh don't tell the hubby).

Here's another delicious shot.

5. Chicken with Cashew Nuts (Kai Med Mua Muang)
Tamed on the heat level for a Thai dish but nonetheless full of sweet-salty flavor and contrasting textures, thanks to the addition of roasted cashew nuts. Simple and mild but overall, a great dish where all the ingredients work together. No wonder it's not only popular with the tourists in Thailand but also with the locals here.

6. Thai Spring Rolls
Deep fried crunchy spring rolls dipped in sweet Thai chili sauce is the kind of thing that's served on the table where you blink and poof, it's gone. I promise I won't even judge you if you've finished a whole plate (or two) of these by yourself. Seriously. I know how that is. Sometimes I also like to tell myself that the not-so-good part about these being deep-fried is really being offset by the noodles and veggies inside the rolls. Okay, it's *somewhat* healthy.

7. Panang Curry (Panang Moo)
Rich, oh so creamy, spicy and just a little bit sweet... this curry has me swooning. When I am at work, sitting on my desk working on something, I think about having Panang Curry for lunch and then I drool a little. I forget whatever it is I am doing at the moment. This curry is so darn good it will give you a momentary coconut milk-curry induced memory lapse but in a good way. Just remember, ask for EXTRA SPICY!!! 

8. Stir Fried Morning Glory  (Pak Boong)
So simple yet delicious and healthy, the humble water spinach is sauteed in garlic and chili for a bit of va-va-voom.

9.  Tamarind Juice
You guys, do you feel adventurous?  Then you should try this drink. You know that very same stuff that makes those Pad Thai noodles so special? It's that brown little pod with a tangy, fleshy pulp called Tamarind. Forget boring iced tea. I had this refreshing Tamarind Juice one time and since then, I'm forever happily hooked on it.

And those two favorite restaurants I was talking about that served all these delicious Thai food? One is just over at Ramos Street across from Spanish Ipar's and its other sibling (they're owned and operated by the same family) at Banilad Town Center. 

What are your favorite Thai dishes & restaurants? I'd love to try it! 

A little tip: I've noticed some people at tripadvisor complain that the food at these two restaurants isn't really authentic enough because it lacks the boldness and heat that Thai cuisine is so famous for. Perhaps they've adjusted the flavors to be more suited to Filipino palate. You can always ask to make it Thai spicy or extra spicy. Be careful or your lips will be tingling from the heat.

80 F Ramos St., Cebu City
Contact Number: (032) 236-8946
Parking: limited

Banilad Town Center
Gov. M Cuenco Ave., Banilad
Cebu City
Contact Number: (032) 233-9388
Parking: yes