[Bangkok] Thai and Lao Cuisine at 1* Paste
Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (4/5)
I was in Bangkok recently for a media trip to Paste which holds 1 Michelin Star and is currently #28 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants! Helmed by 2018 Asia’s Best Female Chef Bee Satongun, the restaurant is a study in Thai culinary history where the chef and her husband Jason Bailey spent years studying the evolution of Thai cuisine while discovering century-old recipes and techniques in the process. Aside from the Bangkok location, Chef Bee also has another branch in Laos - Paste at The Apsara - where she explores and rediscovers her Lao roots. A third Paste restaurant is set to come in Vientiane, Laos in the middle of this year. We ended up having two special meals at Paste - one focused on Lao cuisine and the other on Thai cuisine.
Paste Bangkok is located inside Gaysorn Shopping Center; the restaurant itself is elegant with pod-like seating for privacy.
On the first night, we had Lao cuisine by Chef Bee which is built on the recipes of the great Phia Sing who was a royal chef and prominent culinary figure in Laos. By adhering 80% to authentic historical Lao recipes and 20% creativity, the result is dishes with many layers of flavors and textures.
In-house Jaew Bong with our own river weed, crab meat, betel leaf, dill and lemongrass. Jaew Bong is a popular type of dipping sauce in Laos.
Crunchy Cured Rice Balls with sour sausage, kaffir lime zest, red curry paste, river weed and rose pepper leaf
Salad of Cured Eggplant with air dried beef, ginger flower fermented guava, kaffir lime juice and dry spice mix
Sour River Fish Soup with lemongrass, chili, monk fruit, shrimp paste, fermented fish water (padek), and sour hog plum leaves. Padek is a traditional Lao condiment made from pickled or fermented fish that has been cured; it is thicker and more seasoned than fish sauce.
My favorite dish of the Lao dinner was this Slow Braised Pork Belly in herb infused coconut cream, roasted banana chili, sour plum, pink fish roe and banana stalk.
Larb Salad of minced free range chicken with ma-khaen pepper, cloves and sour plum leaves. Larb is probably the most famous Lao dish and is often regarded the unofficial national dish of Laos.
A recreation and slight reinvention of the classic recipe for Laos Duck Curry (Kalee Ped) created by the polymath Phia Sing - the signature dish of Paste Laos.
Clear Curry of domestic fowl, scarlet gourd, sakaan vine and edible rattan which turned out to be really smoky.
The night ended up with refreshing and colorful Smoked Coconut Noodles with palm sugar sabayon, lemon basil seed, dried pineapple.
On the second night, we had Thai dishes by Chef Bee which can best be described as innovative Thai cuisine that is rooted in tradition and authenticity; she adds her own touch to the traditional recipes to make the flavors more complex while keeping the taste authentic.
Roasted Duck with nutmeg, curry paste and sawtooth coriander served on rice crackers (inspired from a recipe by Snidwongse Cookbook 1968)
Seared Scallops tossed in a salad of fresh mangosteen, Peromia, lemongrass, young coconut and Thai wild almonds
Grilled River Prawn wrapped in mulberry leaves with northern mah kwan pepper and ant eggs (inspired by HRH Princess Diana Rasmi)
Watermelon Rind and Fish Roe Soup with sea bass and jicama dumplings (inspired by a recipe from Snidwongse Family Cookbook, 1968)
Chive Root Salad with live lobster, morel mushroom, Asian citron, air-dried seaweed and white turmeric
The 31 Flavored Thai Omelette with Fraser Island spanner crab was the definitely highlight of the meal and is a must-try with its fluffy soft souffle texture and complex flavors!
'Singhol' Curry Slow Roasted Goat with a large array of dry spices, fragrant pandanus, som saa-Asian citron juice and young dill
The Smoky Southern Yellow Curry with premium Australian spanner crab, hummingbird flowers, Thai samphire and tumeric is the signature dish at Paste Bangkok; it was also the first dish I ever tried by Chef Bee at a collaboration meal in Hong Kong.
The Whole Ocean Lobster stir-fried with fresh egg noodles, light soy sauce, curry paste and rich pork stock was another highlight of the meal with its rich umami flavors.
Stir-fried Bengal Currants & Pak Chiangda Leaves with sesame oil and crisp okra
The Char-grilled Organic Pork glazed with wild honey, fennel seeds, smoked eggplant and tomato relish was slightly disappointing; while the glazed on the outside was delicious, the pork was rather lean and bland on the inside.
A series of gorgeous desserts to end the meal:
Ok Rong Mango Sticky Rice Roll with golden threads and jasmine sorbet
Paste is definitely worth a visit when you are in Bangkok if you want to try traditional and yet creative Thai and Lao dishes.
3/F, Gaysorn, 999 Ploenchit Rd., Lumpini, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 656 1003
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