In the many years that Krua Thai, Siam‘s “parent” restaurant, has been in operation Cebu, I’ve only had the pleasure of eating there once. Southeast Asian cuisine, apart from dishes that closely resemble ones we consider closest to home (Chinese and Filipino cuisines), has never really been appreciated by my family nor my friends.
In contrast to the all-too-common admiration for Western cuisine such as pizza, pasta, burgers and fries, I’m very much open to cuisines that offer something different. Coming from the Southeast Asian region where spices are most abundant, it’s no coincidence that I love dishes that consist of different spices that marry together to give you that burst of flavor. In fact, as I type, I currently munch on a spicy garlic-flavored Khakhra, a crispy flat bread from India. Never have I felt more proud to say that… I’m a Spice Girl.
Thankfully, my parents are much more open to different cuisines now (other than the Chinese restaurants we go to on family days) but the one other person who I’ve convinced to try out new food is no one other than my bestfriend, Katrina (who I have to thank by the way for providing me with the photos in this post ) She recently returned from studying in Switzerland, and I’m glad to have her back home in the Philippines. Siam was only the beginning of our culinary adventure, which we happily coin as part of… “research & development” purposes
There was so much on the menu, we couldn’t pick which to order. Naturally, the traditional Pad Thai was one of the things we ordered. Who goes to a Thai restaurant without ordering Pad Thai, right?
This Pad Thai unfortunately tasted flat. It had a spicy/sour tang to the dish, but other than that, was fairly average and had a very one-dimensional, flat taste to it. The bean sprouts and the peanuts added a nice, contrasting crunch. The diced tofu should have contributed taste-wise, but it was as though it was barely there. That’s not to say we disliked the dish, of course, but it was a little bit disappointing considering you’re at a Thai restaurant, and the Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s most famous dishes.
I didn’t want to order rice anymore, but hungry Katrina wanted to. I was glad to be able to try out the Spicy Beef Fried Rice. For a price of PhP85 (if I remember correctly) the “single serving” was big enough for two people.
What I look for in Fried Rice:
- taste (of course)
The Chinese are very good in both aspects, and it’s evident in their fried rice dishes such as Yang Chow, Chinese Sausage, Salted Fish… with additions such as celery, scallions, and even just the basic flavor of stir-fried garlic. So in this respect, the Spicy Beef Fried Rice seemed average to me. The taste was there, but it lacked something. It seems too basic of a dish to praise (in my opinion).
Katrina, though, seemed to enjoy it more than I did, wolfing down 3/4 of the plate. Meanwhile, I was busy indulging in what we collectively thought was the dish that best expressed Thai cuisine in this visit.
Seafood. Spices. Curry. In coconut.
Tom Yum? Who needs Tom Yum when you’ve got curry? The moment we tasted this, words just couldn’t express how delicious this was! It was spicy enough, but not too spicy that it ruined a diner’s experience – it was just right. It also didn’t have that overpowering curry smell that non-curry lovers can find so repulsive. I thought it embodied that unique Thai flavor so well: spicy, sweet, sour, salty. Easily the favorite out of all of the dishes we ordered. This is one dish I would highly recommend to anybody.
When we ordered this, the deceiving picture made it seem like this was Thailand’s version of the Chinese Char Siu (Honey-glazed BBQ Pork) – but it wasn’t. It more closely resembled the pork liempo instead — that all too familiar sweet and salty marinade that every Filipino grew up loving. As a Filipino, I love the taste of liempo, but it came out really dry. And.. Thai Pork in Honey? Where’s the honey? The dip helped the dryness of the pork a little bit, and added a bit more flavor. Without the dip, the dish stood pretty well on its own.
I love any kind of barbecued meat, so I really did like the taste, but in the end, I harbored feelings of deception more than appreciation.
The bill came out at about PhP400 per person, which I thought was quite appropriate. It was good value for money, and service was very, very good as well. It was a good first experience at Siam for both me and Katrina.
We stood up happy and full with thoughts of, “why did we never eat there before?!”
Til next time fellow foodies!
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu City, Philippines