A Bangkok Celebration of Taste and Talent

Sala Rim Naam Restaurantsrn 9
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
48 Oriental Avenue
10500 Bangkok

srn 2   What better way to begin one’s visit to the City of Angels than to rest after a long international flight before heading out to the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, the city’s most historic and elegant hotel. Arriving by boat ferry enables one to have a glimpse of the hotel from the Chao Phraya River, which is a delightful experience. With reservations at the Sala Rim srn 6Naam Restaurant, the hotel provides a ferry shuttle back across the river in their private launch, but not before you have had a chance to enjoy a stroll through their gardens and terrace, lit by countless tiny white lights, lending a sense of magic to the evening.

At Sala Rim Naam, one discovers Thai food at its finest, which is a treat for first-time visitors to a country known for its cuisine, where the sharpness of chili and spices is perfectly balanced with the sweetness srn 4of ingredients such as coconut cream. Here, the chefs know how to harmonize these flavors, in compositions that amuse the palate and please the eye.

Waiters are attentive and point out in advance which offerings on the set menu tonight are “spicy”, thus giving diners unaccustomed to Thai cuisine the opportunity to request a milder version of the dish where appropriate. Our starters include tidbits of fresh watermelon topped with sweet dried fish and herbs, Northeastern style rice and pork sauce, srn 3and stir-fried soft shell crab with red chili and crispy garlic. These are followed by a slow dance of local specialties – each step measured to perfection in presentation and timing – not to mention the flavors of each bite. Steamed curried fish and scallop mousse, smoked prawn soup with fresh herbs, stir-fried vegetables with oyster sauce, grilled beef sirloin and Siamese eggplant, accompanied by Hom Mali rice…

srn 5The pleasures of the table are accompanied by traditional Thai music and dance performances. The first musician plays the Ranat Ek, a boat-shaped instrument with wooden bars suspended across it length. These are struck by two soft mallets producing a soft, mellow tone. Paired with the gentle tapping on the two headed Taphon a traditional barrel-shaped drum and other traditional Thai instruments, the background music is both soothing and stirring as we dine. Soon we enjoy a variety of dances, performed in vibrant costumes by women who move with the gracefulness of blossoms caught in a breeze.

Every element of this first evening in Bangkok whispers a warm welcome. With hands pressed together, our Thai hostess at Sala Rim Naam has greeted us with the words, “Swasdi!”  May I say, “Kob-Kun,” thank-you for an unforgettable evening.

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