The flavours of Thailand
Street food is an intrinsic part of Thailand’s food culture to such an extent that almost every by-lane in the country is bustling with vendors selling fragrant and flavourful Thai food. Recreating this essence of Thailand thousands of miles away can be challenging but not an impossible feat. Soi Soi restaurant at Kempinski, which literally translates to ‘street’ in Thai, has ventured into recreating authentic flavours of Thai cuisine in Muscat.
The ambience is funky and ideal for Instagrammers. A tuk-tuk placed outside the restaurant lures diners to the restaurant.
According to Suphannee Thumma, chef de cuisine of Soi Soi, the concept of serving ‘street food’ in a five-star property is one that is able to capture the essence of Thai food in its absolute authenticity. “It mainly describes the authenticity of the dishes as well as the efficient yet casual nature of the service.” In this aspect, Soi Soi blends vibrant atmosphere, colourful interiors, and authentic flavours, in a modern and upscale setting.
Thai cuisine, known the world over for its flavours, is one of the least complicated most chefs agree. But the challenge lies in recreating the flavours outside of Thailand with respect to the availability of the herbs and ingredients. The food at Soi Soi in this regard is exceptionally close to maintaining that authenticity and the tom yum soup serves as the litmus test for this.
To preserve the integrity of Thai cuisine at Soi Soi, Chef Suphannee prefers to cook with the best ingredients and herbs. Some of the main elements of Thai cuisine include rice, curry and soup, a variety of seafood, lemon grass, Thai basil, Thai baby eggplant, pepper corn as well as fresh herbs and spices. “Most of the main ingredients such as the various seafood, meat, chicken and vegetables, are found in Oman,” she says. But certain ingredients and herbs are brought in from Thailand. “Special ingredients such as lemon grass, jasmine rice, and mango, are imported from Thailand in order to provide a more authentic flavour to the dishes.”
Flavour and fragrance aside, the chef also points out that Thai food is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world since it generously uses herbs such as galanga, kafir lime leaf and lemon grass among others. “Many of the ingredients used contain natural anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making Thai cuisine one of the healthiest in the world,” says Chef Suphannee.
While at Soi Soi, the Gang Phed Ped - a Thai roasted duck curry, the signature dish of the restaurant - is a must try. The duck is marinated with spices, served with red curry with the taste of fruits, pineapple, lychee, cherry tomatoes, chillis and a hint of Thai sweet basil.