Archive for the ‘Thai’ Category

Sabb Thai delivers authenticity

By
September 28th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A Laotian specialty, nam khao tod ($12), or crispy rice salad, is on the menu at Sabb Thai. Mint, cilantro, fermented pork, scallions, fish sauce, peanuts are tossed with the rice, and plenty of lime juice gives the dish its distinctive sour note. It's served with lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Thai cuisine evolved over 30 years in Hawaii to suit our love of sweet, fatty, savory flavors, and downplay the sour aspects you’d find in Southeast Asia. Sabb Thai comes closest to the real deal.

The small mom-and-pop restaurant sits across from Palama Market near Don Quijote, in the space that formerly housed Tae Teppanyaki. A small roster of plate lunches accommodates local preferences for the simple charms of garlic chicken ($10), sautéed shrimp ($14), grilled steak ($13), and calamari ($14).

But the restaurant’s individuality shows in its a la carte menu. It’s owners are Thai and Laotian, so a handful of Lao dishes also make an appearance.

Here's a look at a few of the dishes:

Fish sauce, garlic and salt and pepper marinated ribs are delicious here.

Khao piak sen (currently $10), is a Lao chicken udon soup. Rice flour and tapioca noodles add starch to the chicken broth, giving it more body than its American counterpart. The soup also features cubes of boiled blood cakes as silky as almond pudding or soft tofu.

Rolled beef is a nod to former tenant Tae Teppanyaki, but it's very plain, geared toward those who like no-frills dining.

A basic Thai red curry is another dish for those who don't care to venture far from the tried-and-true. An ample amount of bamboo shoots made it stinkier than most.

Thai pork sausage usually contains a lot of pieces of fat, which tends not to sit well with Americans who grow up averse to visible fat. It is otherwise delicious, but my friends and I ended up with piles of fatty globs on the side of our plates.

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Sabb Thai is at 1666 Kalauokalani Way. Open 1 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 445-3882.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

The Kahala meets Asia streets

By
September 12th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Satay skewers sizzle on the grill during The Kahala's Asian Street Food event Friday.

Inspired by the bustling street and night markets of Asia, The Kahala hosted its first Asian Street Food event on Sept. 9.

Guests were welcome to visit stations set up on the beachfront lawn outside Plumeria Beach House for drinks and food selections like wok-fried garlic prawns, satay skewers, Indonesian corn fritters, and dim sum with Tsingtao and Taj Mahal beers, wines and more.

Woks and grills set up on the lawn brought some of the street sizzle to the venue, that is decidedly cleaner and much more serene than the markets of Singapore or Bangkok. This being The Kahala, diners also had the run of the restaurant for seating, so everyone could dine comfortably without the usual struggle to juggle drinks and plates as at other street-oriented events.

<p align="left">A selection of Indian beef curry and Thai chicken curry kept warm on the grill.

In between bites, diners could stop by calligraphy and a craft station, where I was able to make an origami box. With most people focused on eating however, little origami kits with instructions were offered for those who wanted to try their hand at making boxes, lucky stars and cranes at home.

It was a great relaxing evening, and though no decisions have been made over future pop-up dining events, I hope they will continue offering new themes and dishes, especially ones hard to find locally. (Hint: Being there gave me a craving for Singapore chili crab and prawn mi over the weekend so I finally made it from a box mix I had purchased there. But sadly, it wasn't the same as the real deal.)

Tibetan prayer flags fluttered between coconut trees, while tables were graced with Chinese lanterns.

Singapore noodles tossed in a wok on the lawn. The finished dish below:

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Satay skewers and delicious Indonesian corn fritters.

Korean BBQ beef shortrib sliders.

It was hard for them to keep the pork hash tray full. These were made fresh with juicy diced pork.

Chinese chow funn.

People who needed to give their stomach a brief rest, could get a mini origami lesson from Casey—whose father, Alan Arita, went table to table performing magician's tricks—or visit a calligraphy station.

A make-and-take origami box and crane.

After the event, I had a craving for Singapore chili crab, and made it from a box mix I purchased when I was in Singapore, but I always prefer to have someone else do the cooking for me.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Thailand eats Part 2: Terminal 21

By
September 15th, 2013



sweets

Coconut candy on the ground floor of Terminal 21, one of the major malls along the Sky Train route, Asoke station. Nadine Kam photos

BANGKOK, THAILAND — At Terminal 21, one of the major malls in Bangkok, one of the food courts is set up like a marketplace for individual street-style vendors. It's cool that the cost of food is also no more than street cost so that you can get a full plate for about USD$1 to $1.50. One day I splurged and got a plate and a fresh fruit smoothie for a whopping $3!

You put money on a food court card before ordering at the various vendors so they don't have to deal with cash or make change to keep traffic flowing.

Which made it sad to come home and go back to paying $12 for a sandwich and smoothie here.

On the ground floor there's another area for confection sellers, ranging from Dairy Queen to locals hawking coconut and jelly candies and other treats.

terminal

Someone who saw this photo when I posted it to Facebook said he wouldn't eat this. I looked at it and said, "I have to eat that!" Various forms of pork with hard-boiled eggs stewing together. Below, the pork plate for 45 baht, about USD$1.50 with rice, egg, pickled vegetables. I added the chili peppers from a condiment tray.

pork plate

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Condiments.

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Jelly candies.

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Looks more like a street marketplace than mall food court setup.

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People on lunch break await smoothies.

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Cups are filled with fresh fruit awaiting blending into all-fruit smoothies. They do add a bit of sugar, but you can request no sugar.

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The Terminal 21 mall is loosely set up to duplicate airline terminals around the world. On the "Paris" level, there are macarons and Western-style desserts like the chocolate mousse cakes below.

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