A Street Sensation

The beautiful interior of The Siam – a new riverside hotel in Bangkok
The Siam – a new riverside boutique hotel in Bangkok – is one that is full of surprises. Aside being a much talked-about place for novel art-deco design, the hotel is also a unique venue to take a look at the Siamese past through the personal antique collections the owners accumulated over the decades and now displayed them throughout the place, as both decorating and working items. 
Located in the old quarter of Bangkok’s Dusit area, you can either go there by the hotel’s shuttle boat (running between the hotel and Sathorn pier), or you drive. If the latter is the option, just make a u-turn underneath the iconic Krung Thon steel bridge and take a sudden left to Thanon Khao and the hotel – the big white mansion – will be to your left.
Gorgeous landscape of The Siam

Stretching from the road half-way to the river is The Siam’s main building that houses most of their suites. Then you walked further down toward the pier, passing their fabulously lush and fragrant landscape, onto Thai traditional wooden houses that are the location of Spoon – their Thai restaurant that has now been a place to dine for many Thai food fanatics.

Instead of serving what we usually say when it comes to hotel’s haute dining – a royal Thai cuisine, Spoon’s forte is in its adaptation of Thailand’s famous street food. And that is just a refreshing take of Thai restaurant scene all over again. For those who are familiar with the Thai cooking, you know we have a bunch of variety in all areas. First, we have regional foods that are different from North to South. Then, we have levels of food, which are different just by the way they are prepared. The same dish, say curry for example, can be differentiated just by the way the chef prepares it. For royal cuisine, a curry must be prepared in a much more meticulous way than a homey one.  Thai street food scene, meanwhile, represents the wide variety of quick and popular Thai dishes we locals mostly depend on each day as a staple sustenance. Instead of always sticking to the recipes or preparation methods, Thai street food prefers to make quick adaptations to fit customer’s daily craves. A good street food vendor always wing their available ingredients into an order. It is a mix-and-match kind of Thai cooking. And a real tasty one.

Ambiance of Spoon – the hotel’s Thai restaurant that has been raved by the locals and tourists alike

Spoon has brought a good selection of those tasty street food up to their regular menus. If you are here for lunch, you can savour a variety of noodles (fish noodle, roasted duck noodle or even kao soi gai – Thai northern style chicken curry with egg noodle). For dinner, there are favorites like curries, spicy salads and something from the grills.

The food (clockwise) – banana blossom salad, soft shelled crab and mango salad, somtum & gai yang, and gaeng chapoo poo

Four of us were there for lunch and shared four fabulous dishes including three yums (spicy salad) that showcased different styles of the delicious dish, one from the grill (grilled chicken) and one curry of yellow curry with chaplu leaves (piper amentosum) and chunky crabmeat. The first salad (top left) is young banana blossom with shredded chicken breast (Bt340++). Dressed with toasted chili paste instead of the fresh one usually found in other ordinary salads, the dish only uses the tender part of the banana blossom, finely cut and mixed with the chicken, topped with the crunchy toasted peanuts and mature coconut meat. And that means wonderful combination of different textures, from the tender chicken to the crispy banana blossom, crunchy peanuts and coconut – all flavoured together in a balanced spicy, sour, salty and a tad sweet. This is one salad now hard to find in the menu of many Thai restaurants in town.

Then, it is the deep-fried soft crabs served with tangy fresh green mango salad (Bt440++). Mango salad is something you can easily find in the local street food scene. A vendor chops away green mango and mixes up a plate with fresh limes, shallot, green onion, dried shrimp and some peanuts. At Spoon, they use not too sour mango and the best of the aforementioned ingredients and cashew nuts instead of peanuts. The dish is simply refreshingly delicious, going so well with the crunchiness of the soft crabs.

Peach & Passion and Ginger Punch (above), rose water panna cotta

Somtam and Gai Yang (grilled chicken, Bt530++)) can as well be referred to as an institution of Thai street food. You can find it in almost every corner of the road and it seems that the local crave for these two items is not fading away any time soon. Here, the somtam is the Bangkok version of the esan staple with fresh green papaya pounded together with dried shrimp, toasted peanut, string beans and local small and sour tomatoes. Not too spicy, a bit sweet and sour, crunchy and just unstoppable. The grilled chicken is aromatic with the herbal marinate. It is yellow from turmeric and then there’re loads of other ingredients mixed together to marinate the chicken overnight, making it flavourful when grilled on charcoals.

The crabmeat and chaplu curry (Bt580++) – gorgeously glossy with the coconut oil derived from a long simmer of fresh coconut milk – is an excellent choice of the day. For those who are familiar with Thai curries, this one carries a nice bitter hint of the piper samentosum leaves which go perfectly well with the natural sweetness of the coconut milk and the crabmeat. You can choose from brown and white rice to accompany your meal here.

Spoon’s ambiance from afar and The Siam’s pier and bar

Then it was the time for dessert. We had a rose-water panna cotta served with lime jelly, water melon jus, Thai cotton candy and rice crackers. The trick is to get everything into one bite so you savour the mixture of different tastes that the chef carefully put together in this beautiful dessert. You can also opt for Thai favorites such as bua loi kai wan (mini dumplings in coconut milk and sweet quail eggs) or tub tim grob (crunchy water chestnut dumpling served in coconut milk and shaved ice) if it is a hot day and a cold sweet thing is the nice way to end a good meal.

Spoon has private rooms and chef’s table available. If you want a full Thai kitchen experience, you can also book a room in their cooking class room decked out with lots of Thai traditional cooking tools, too.

Spoon (Chon), The Siam Hotel, 3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok 10300. T: 02-206-6999. Daily for lunch 12.00-15.00, dinner 18.00-22.30.

2 thoughts on “A Street Sensation

  1. I love the design of this hotel and would love to taste all these fascinating food.Great shots indeed🙂

  2. Thai restaurants in the U.S. need to take lessons from restaurants such as this. Thai cuisine is evolving and there are many new flavors to experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s