Sunday, 17 July 2011
Senses of Thailand at Selfridges 14-30 July 2011
As mentioned in my Som Tam post, you can get yourself a taste of Thailand at Senses of Thailand, a celebration of Thai food and culture in Selfridges, London until 30th July.
The promotion is backed by the Royal Thai Embassy, Thai Trade Centre, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, so it's got an official seal of approval, and over the fortnight, we've been told to expect expert cooking demos, tastings, modern and traditional Thai dance performances and puppet shows.
More excitingly as far as I'm concerned are the Thai street food carts which are selling authentic snacks, including Som Tam (the free samples they were giving out weren't quite spicy enough for my liking), and Mieng Kham from the restaurant Patara.
Mieng kham are fantasticly addictive wrapped betel leaves stuffed with nuts, dried shrimp, chillis and shallots - my video above shows how they are made. Again, they're giving out free samples as well as selling do-it-yourself takeaway packs, so do try to catch this rare treat.
A huge range of Thai snacks, sweets, drinks, fruit and veg and grocery products are on sale during the promotion with lots of free samples and tastings on offer.
I was pleased to see that they have green papaya (aka paw paw) and green mango in stock, so you've no excuse not to make my som tam salad now ...
There's even a rice boutique, with a variety of aged and flavoured rice, including GABA rice, a super food made up of 4 varieties of sprouted brown/unhusked rice, and blue rice which has been naturally coloured with butterfly pea flowers.
There's also a Thai Square cart selling traditional Thai desserts such as mango and sticky rice, and durian ice cream, as well as the slightly more bizarre green curry and red curry ice cream, which aren't as frightening as they sound, and the truly delicious Ice Tea and Green Tea ice creams.
You can ask for free tastes of all of the flavours before you plunge in.
There's a tropical fruit stand and juice bar selling whole fruits and also making smoothies using Thai fruits such as Mango, Dragon Fruit, Bael, Rosella and Mangosteen, and I even spotted an expert fruit carver showing off his skills as well.
The Oyster & Seafood Bar in the Food Hall itself has a guest menu from Nahm designed by head chef Matthew Albert.
I was invited to try the Nahm menu as a guest of Andre Dang Communications - I had an oyster with young ginger, chilli and kaffir lime which was dreamy, and an oyster with peanut, and green mango nahm jim which texturally didn't quite work for me (something about the crunch of peanuts against the delicate oyster flesh) but was still tasty.
I also had a taste of Nahm's trout, starfruit and corn pepper salad which was a fantastic mix of flavours. I especially liked the crispy fish skin - something I've always been a fan of.
And if you want to eat somewhere a bit more relaxed, renowned Thai Chef Pongtawat Ian Chalermkittichai has taken up temporary residence at Hix Restaurant and Champagne Bar on the ground floor, offering regional specialities and Thai inspired cocktails, and Singha Beer has a temporary bar in Gordons Café on the 1st floor where you can enjoy a traditional Thai snack menu, washed down with Singha or more Thai cocktails.
Senses of Thailand, 14-30 July, Selfridges, London