One Meal Around Thailand
Mentioning set meals, I think most of us would easily think of Chinese, Western, and Japanese. And to me, Thai set meal is some kind of fascinating temptation that I have never tried before, despite the fact that I had been to Thailand a number of times. In collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand, Baan Ying presented One Meal Around Thailand to re-introduce Thailand’s four main regions via gastronomy adventures, and this is what I would call a bold initiative. Most of us would have known Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Phuket, but seriously, how many knew about Thailand is segregated into 4 main regions, namely Central, Northern, Southern, and North-Eastern? Anyway, let’s walk through Thailand in an almost effortless and tantalising way!
First and foremost, my apologies that this post came probably a month too late, as this set meal required prior reservation and was only available through Sep 2019, meaning this post is more of a documentation now rather than an introduction. Nonetheless, I hope it showcases Baan Ying’s authenticity goes beyond the popular Phad Thai and Tom Yam Goong that most of us are familiar with.
Baan Ying (which literally means Ying’s House in Thai) started in Bangkok’s Siam Square by Auntie Ying more than 20 years ago, and boasts a total of 7 restaurants in Bangkok’s prime location before venturing to Singapore in 2017. I thought the staffs’ English accent sounded a bit weird when I made the reservation, before I realise they are likely Thai locals who brought an aura of authenticity here on top of their cuisines. And yes, Baan Ying does offer à la carte menu apart from the seasonal set meal that we are having.
As soon as we were seated, we were served clay plate with banana leaf on top, along with a bar of aromatic soap (I don’t know what’s that for??), perhaps an indication that our meal will be a rather aromatic journey!
Next, our welcome drink, Maproa Nam Hom, was shortly served. I guess this needs no further introduction in this region, and coconut juice is great in neutralising our taste bud before we indulge in exotic Thai gastronomy experience.
Larb Gai is a Northern Thai dish, commonly served in Thai merit and ceremony events. It is usually comprised of fragrant roasted rice, aromatic Thai herbs, chilli and lime juice, and typically served with sticky or steamed rice, here we had it on a crunchy cucumber, which offers an interesting contrast.
You know, if the 4 chilli dip are introduced on their own, I think some diners may cry foul. But in truth, these aren’t the main dishes yet, and ought to be treated as another appetiser, and in fact the term ‘chilli’ is merely broadly used here, as not all the dip are really spicy, and for some, it’s actually more than just ‘dip’. Nam Pril See Pak here consists of 4 dips, (from top) Nam Prik Tah Daeng (Red Chilli Dip), Nam Prik Goong Seab (Dried Shrimp Chilli Dip), Soup Makuer (Spicy Thai Eggplant Chilli Dip), and Lhon Pla Kem (Salted Fish Dip).
Nam Prik Tah Daeng (Red Chilli Dip), a Northern Thai dip, is made with dried chillies, Thai fish sauce, and tamarind. But to me, this just taste like hot chilli, and the hotness is so dominant that the aroma of Thai fish sauce and tamarind were virtually overpowered. No prize guessing at the end of our meal, this was one that was very much left untouched.
Nam Prik Goong Seab (Dried Shrimp Chilli Dip) is a Southern Thailand dip where shrimps are grilled over low heat until dry, and then preserved and subsequently made into chilli paste. Sounds familiar? Shh… keep it quiet, if I say it is belacan, I think some of our neighbouring countries will begin making noise again! LOL! Geographically, Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia are connected on land, doesn’t surprise me that they may have common cuisines anyway.
OK, those two above are practically chilli that we are familiar with, but what follows will be more interesting.
Soup Makuer (Spicy Thai Eggplant Chilli Dip) is a salty and spicy dip made of boiled, tender eggplant and seasoned with Thai anchovy paste and dried chilli powder. In Northern Thailand, soup actually means ‘mixed’, and this is a very flavourful dip with texture like tamarind tuna.
Lhon Pla Kem (Salted Fish Dip) is a dip that represents the Sukhothai way of life and claimed to be made of smoked dried fish, minced pork, shrimp paste, and simmered in rich coconut cream. To me, the taste is akin to Thai green curry.
The last two dips are in fact, great to try on their own too!
I have still not come to the main dish yet, but this Yum Yum was presented in a rather fanciful way. The waitress asked whether we would like to experience mixing these ingredients ourselves? Thanks but no thanks, though I can envisage the fun, but we are a bunch of practically lazy bums who prefer to just eat. So the result above was what she mixed in front of us, better for the Instagram than if we did it on our own too!
This is actually Som Tum Tad (Green Papaya Salad Platter with side dishes). By the name of it, it’s not difficult to guess there’s a mixture of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and spiciness all in one. According to Baan Ying, this is the traditional way to enjoy Thai salad, in a large bowl, somewhat like our rojak. Ingredients include green papaya, pork, eggs, bean sprouts, tomatoes, lime, and noodles.
Just before we started the main course, Nam Anchan Maprao Pan was served. This is a refreshing shot of butterfly pea and coconut juice concoction and serves as a palate cleanser before the more exotic main courses are served. I simply love its colour and foam, and the taste is remarkable too, refreshing and not excessively sweet. The interesting part is, the waitress was very keen to inform us, that this shot ought to be finished in one gulp!
OK, let’s bring on the main dishes!
This sour curry dish from central Thailand comes in an interesting clay pot in the shape of a fish. It features a combination of sweet veggies, deep-fried seabass chunks, and tangy tamarind, and the result is rather appetising.
Personally, I don’t like fatty dish, and these pork bellies are more towards the fatty side… Nonetheless, this ain’t your usual Thai green curry, it is a cuisine from Northern Thailand, and believed to have Myanmar heritage. It comes with a blend of saltiness, spicy, as well as mild sour.
For Sator Pad Goong, this is really one I find complicated to appreciate. It is a Southern Thailand dish fried using shrimps, shrimp paste, bitter beans, and it was the latter which I simply dislike. Like its name suggests, it’s bitter. I’m not saying it’s bad, just that on a personal note, I find bitter beans hard to swallow, just like foreigners cannot stand durian. But apart from the bitter beans, the rest are delicious.
This is truly one for the Instagram, and there’s a saying that no Thai meal is complete without a Thai omelette. This is made by grilling an egg on a banana leaf over water. Unfortunately, it was too dry for my liking. I find its taste rather bland too, pity the scallions and coriander leaves don’t help much.
All right, that concludes the main courses. Last but not least, here comes the dessert!
OMG, this is heavenly! I love Thai milk tea, and to make them into crème brûlée is simply exceptional! I always regard Japanese desserts as the best of this world, but trust me, this one is at the same level, if not better. The rich and flavourful Thai milk tea made this a real seduction, and I can easily have two or more, if only my fellow diners are kind enough to offer me their take, I can finish them all! 😀
There’s also accompanying herbal tea to cap off our gastronomy evening, we were offered the option of Lemon Grass, Mulberry, and two more I can’t remember. We had Lemon Grass and Mulberry, but strange, the aroma are the same. We suspect the waitress must have given us all the same drink. As even though I had Lemon Grass, my tea lacks the usual aroma I was expecting.
In conclusion, I must confess Baan Ying’s attempt in bringing authentic Thai feast to Singapore has really open up my perspective of Thailand beyond the few touristy cities. Enjoying this set meal was like a brief geography lesson on Thailand which I feel is more fruitful than merely reading on Wikipedia or travel guide book. Once again, kudos to Baan Ying’s bold attempt in re-introducing Thailand in such untypical fashion, I look forward to knowing more mouthwatering treats from the land of a thousand smiles!
103 Irrawaddy Road #02-07
Royal Square @ Novena
Tel: +65 91117852
Opening Hours ~
Mon – Fri: 11:00 hr – 14:15 hr, 17:30 hr – 21:15 hr
Sat – Sun: 11:00 hr – 21:15 hr