The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

'Loi Krathong' at Benjarong

It was indeed an interesting bit of news from Benjarong - the premier fine dining Thai cuisine restaurant at South City Mall - that Diwali - our festival of lights has a parallel in Thailand - known as Loi Krathong! What added to it was that keeping the celebration of Loi Krathong, Benjarong put together a food festival from 27th November to 9th December, 2012.

Loi Krathong borrows its name from the words ‘loi’ that means to float, and ‘krathong’ that stands for small baskets or rafts. The traditional 'krathongs', made from banana leaves, contain incense, lotus flowers and candles, which are lit and set to float in water as a ritual during this festival. It is believed that the krathong carries away bad luck and signals a fresh start while people make wishes as their krathongs float away. Benjarong organised  for its guests to float krathongs in large vessels after making a wish to connect with the festival.  

As I didn't have an exposure to the Thai cuisine, I was curious to experience it.

In the presence of some fellow bloggers, the appetizers rolled out in the evening, starting with soup. It just hit the right note with my palate. The thin soup with pieces of chicken, mushroom and spinach omelette was balanced in taste. The pieces of the spinach omelette particularly appealed to me. The soup was followed by Pla Hor Baitaey, which is delicately marinated, dip fried fish wrapped in pandanus leaves - somewhat similar to 'paturi' of Bengali cuisine in look. Loved the tiny, bite-size pieces of crunchy fish with a creamy softness inside. It was served with a transparent-looking sweet chilli sauce. Didn't mind a few helpings. Along with it came Look Chin Gai Ping - grilled minced chicken balls in bamboo skewer served with a dip. It had a fine taste, unlike the spicy kind. 

The soup


Pla Hor Baitaey

Look Chin Gai Ping

The main course started with glass noodles (transparent-looking noodles with vegetables) and steamed rice to go with Burmese Curry and lamb (curry) with hot basil sauce. The Burmese Curry was a sweetish chicken curry, cooked in coconut milk. It's a dish from south Burma and south Thailand, typical of this time of the year. Tried it with the rice. I suppose a dish like this calls for an acquired taste as it didn't exactly appeal to my palate. I had assumed it to be rather spicy. The lamb curry (it had basil leaves in it) was likable. A thumbs up to the glass noodles. Its taste had an edge over regular noodles.



Burmese Curry

The dessert was Khao Niew Sankhaya - a sweetened sticky rice served with coconut custard, made with jaggery. Ended up liking the coconut custard more, as the jaggery helped relate to the famous Bengali desserts of this season.

Overall, a food festival that offered one a peek at the variety of dishes that people in Thailand typically have at this time of the year, as they celebrate Loi Krathong. It would particularly appeal to Thai cuisine aficionados in the city who constantly look for variety. If you have a thing for Thai food, do remember to block a date for Benjarong the time you come to know about their next food festival.