FOODIES who love Thai street food would love to know that they can have the real deal—as in authentic Thai street food prepared by a full-blooded Thai chef—right in Manila. Mango Tree and Mango Tree Bistro, global Thai restaurant brands, are presenting a month-long Thai Street Food Festival, which begins today, April 20, and ends on May 15, 2016.
The Thai Street Food Festival offers diners an explosion of unique gastronomic flavors like no other, with new Thai executive chef Prapun Sampungpong, or simply Chef Tum, heading the kitchen and putting together a lineup of street food favorites from across Thailand. There are some eight to twelve items that are absolute must-tries on the menu.
Some of these are:
Yum Ma Muang (Php120), better known as Green Mango Salad, is an iconic Thai appetizer and street food. Vendors in Thailand make fresh batches of this salad in food stalls all day. The salad consists of fine strips of green mango with onion, chopped peanuts, grated coconut and spring onion in a vinegar-based dressing.
Tom Yum Fries (Php150). An adaptation of the all-American golden crisp fries, Mango Tree’s Tom Yum Fries has the fries topped with Tom Yum seasoning. There’s shredded lemongrass that has been fried to a crunchy golden perfection sprinkled on top. Eat the fries with the crispy topping, and your palate would recognize the Tom Yum flavor twist in the fries.
Pork Dynamite in Sri Racha Sauce (Php180). It’s minced pork stuffed into green chilies with onion, coriander, peanuts, spring onion and Kaffir lime leaves; then breaded and deep-fried to a crisp. Dip a “dynamite” into the sauce and take a bite. It will be an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
Salmon Skin Chicharron (Php100). Now, this is the sosyal gourmet version of the Filipino delicacy, pork chicharon, made healthier, too, using salmon skin instead of pork rind. It’s generous strips of salmon skin marinated in herbs, fried and then served with a garlic aioli dip.
Larb Pla Meuk (Php150) is Spicy Squid Salad typical of Thai cuisine. It is bite-sized portions of squid that have been scored on the surface and cooked with onion, Kaffir lime leaves, spring onion and spicy lime sauce.
Goong Phad Woonsen (Php220) is Stir-fried Glass Noodles with Shrimps, Mushrooms, Onion and Tomatoes, flavored with oyster sauce and soy sauce, and sprinkled with chopped spring onion. Mango Tree and Mango Tree Bistro management wants diners to discover an alternative to the very popular Pad Thai. This is also a noodle dish that’s just as flavorful and filling.
Pla Meuk Thod or Fried Squid Rings is very close to the Fried Calamares or Calamari that we love to munch on in American diners and bars.
Tom Yum Chicken Poppers (Php150) are chunks of chicken that have marinated in tom yum seasoning, breaded, fried to a lovely crunch, and “fired up” with a sprinkling of chili flakes.
Phad See Iw Gai (Php480) from the regular menu of Mango Tree is another noodle alternative to the classic Phad Thai. It’s stir-fried rice noodles in soy sauce and chicken.
For dessert, the month-long Thai Street Food Festival features Mun Cheum (Php220), which is Sweetened Cassava Topped with Coconut Milk. It’s peeled cassava cooked in syrup to a maligat (chewy) finish and then drizzled with coconut milk before serving.
Then there is Khao Niew Ma Muang (Php280), the traditional Thai favorite that combines ripe fresh mango and sweetened sticky rice. A perfect combination, it is similar to the Filipino suman that we sometimes like to pair with our own ripe mango.
Finally, there’s Thai Halo-Halo (Php180), which is crushed ice with a selection of root crops and banana slices cooked in syrup to a chewy doneness, served with coconut milk that is typically Thai.
Held in cooperation with Singha Beer and the Thai Trade Commission, the Thai Street Food Festival can be enjoyed at Mango Tree BGC (7th Ave., Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. daily); Mango Tree Bistro TriNoma (3rd Level, TriNoma, Quezon City; open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.); and Mango Tree Bistro Greenbelt (Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City; open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily).
For reservations, call 621-3233 or 0917-5342273 (BGC); 916-0297 or 0917-8902166 (TriNoma); and 576-9052 or 0917-5242273 (Greenbelt).