11 months ago

Chef Thailand Magazine Published in English and Thai languages

  • Text
  • Bangkok
  • Brun
  • Michelin
  • Tempelhoff
  • Thailand
  • Cuisine
  • Allan
  • Chefs
  • Squid
  • Ingredients
Talk to the Chef Aom tells her tale, her inspirations and her desire to keep the traditions of street food alive. Talking about street food. We explore the amazing street food scene and there is no question that Bangkok and Thailand have the best in the world. South Africa has been a culinary bubble waiting to burst. The fertile areas of Cape Town have given the stage for Chef Peter Tempelhoff. Also, there are plenty of recipes and other stories, including an update from Michelin in California that feature throughout the magazine.


Phadthai, putting a gourmet spin on Thailand’s iconic wok-fried noodle dish. It proved to be a huge success, but even after two years of acclaim Aom still needed some encouragement to take her next big step and enter the big leagues of fine dining—a very different ball game, and one that is traditionally maledominated. “I did feel intimidated,” she confesses, “but Frederic said to me ‘Why not? You can cook. You don’t have to stay in your corner. Why don’t you go out and grab it?’ That was my motivation for Saawaan.” From day one the set menu dinners at Saawaan were garnering 14 rave reviews, but Chef Aom continues to experiment, revamping her line-up approximately every five months. One menu item, however, that has remained a constant is the rice paddy crab dip with sticky rice, a dish inspired by a chance meeting with local farmers during a visit to Nakhom Phatom province (where Saawaan owns and operates its own organic farm). In her interpretation the tasty crab fat is mixed with herbs and homemade curry, and then grilled in the crab shell and served alongside coconut steamed sticky rice. It’s a dish that Aom says truly exemplifies what she’s trying to do in the sense of preserving these oft forgotten, traditional rural delicacies.

“The flavour is so special,” she gushes, explaining how rice paddy crab differs greatly from mud crab or blue swimmer crab, both of which are more commonly used in Thai cuisine. “And you have to know how to take out the fat, because inside the crab they have the—how can I say it?—the ‘shit bag’ inbetween there and you have to know how to remove it and not break it,” she goes on to say, as we both burst out laughing at her colloquial, but unquestionably apt, description of the poor crustacean’s digestive tract. Another dish that underscores Aom’s mission to preserve traditional recipes is the charcoaled quail, served with an incredibly delicious, but decidedly untraditional som tum (papaya salad) reduction jus. Aom explains that as a child she remembers deep-fried quail being commonplace but not so much now, mainly because the birds are small, bony, and without much meat. To counter that perception, her birds are raised free-range—at the farm in Nakhon Phatom—and fed a healthy mix of grains and coconut. When they arrive on the plate they’re plump, tasty, and beautifully roasted. On a menu filled with nothing but highlights it’s hard to choose favourites, but my picks would probably include: the one-bite raw sea urchin starter, with Thai madan fruit and homemade 15