The Thais celebrate Songkran as their traditional New Year’s Day. While the date of Songkran used to be set by astrological calculation, it is now celebrated from 13-15 April. The festival is usually associated with the throwing of water on people (at least that’s how I always associate it!) – this originated from the pouring of “blessed” water, ie water that has been used to cleanse Buddhas. It is a mark of respect and good fortune as this “blessed” water is poured over the shoulders. Traditionally the water is meant to wash away all bad things and bring forth good luck. Somehow this has evolved into the exuberant splashing and water-throwing we usually see these days during Songkran.
The Erawan brothers, Korn and Anan could not celebrate Songkran in Thailand this year and so they did the next best thing – they invited a small group of friends over to Erawan to celebrate instead. I was fortunate enough to be part of that elite group and privy to some of Chef Korn’s special dishes. Some of the dishes he cooked up that day are not even on their menu yet but I’m sure they will be soon, provided the special ingredients are available as most of them come from Thailand. I was pretty much blown away by the first dish that was presented that day… the fabulous Lotus Flower Salad.
I have never tasted lotus flower before. The flower petal by itself doesn’t have much flavour – it’s what you wrap it with that was bursting with flavours! A delightful combination of peanuts, lemongrass, limejuice, shallots, dried shrimps, chopped chilli and some other Thai herbs – it was like a burst of sunshine on the palate.
From the beautiful Lotus Flower Salad, the rest of the dishes that were meticulously prepared and lovingly cooked by Chef Korn were a feast not only for the tummy but also for the eyes. You can see for yourself here the myriad of colourful ingredients used, and every dish is plated and matched with gorgeous authentic crockery brought in from Thailand…
This is what I meant by food “meticulously” and lovingly prepared…
It was an afternoon of utter decadent Thai indulgence. Chef Korn conjured one magical dish after another. We feasted on unique dishes seldom served in Thai restaurants here – like the Lotus Stem & Codfish Soup. The lotus stem was really good… crunchy even though it had been boiled in the rich coconutty broth. Anan explained that this dish may not be frequently served due to the difficulty in getting good Thai lotus stems. The Dry Curry Catfish was something like our local “serunding”. The catfish is finely shredded and fried with Thai spices till dry and flaky. The Salmon Parcels were kinda like pandan chicken, but thick fresh cubes of salmon are used instead, rendering this dish a notch higher. Being a cockles fan, the Cockles Salad was a winner with me… the cockles perfectly blanched, neither too bloody nor chewy. Erawan’s version of Papaya Salad was very different – the strips of young papaya were battered and fried – a great hit with kids, as they appeared very french fries-like. Eat these crispy fries of papaya with the piquant seafood dip and it’s like having the best of both worlds. Oh, I loved the Banana s & Seafood Springrolls – what a clever marriage – the contrasting textures and flavours were such a delight!
Desserts were from Erawan’s selection of their own icecreams, flavours ranging from lemongrass to durians to Black Rose! I was told imported Bulgarian roses were used for their essence in this icecream – no wonder the aroma was so fragrantly uplifting. Banana lovers would love the Stewed Bananas in Coconut Milk – this combination never goes wrong.
Since I was introduced to this gem of a restaurant (read my earlier post here), right in the midst of the madly congested Kota Damansara square, it has remained a firm favourite with me. And now with the introduction of new dishes, I can’t wait to go back again… with more friends in tow, I’m sure.
Happy Songkran… Suksan Wan Songkran!
Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion Restaurant
22-1 Jalan PJU 5/16
Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
LUNCH: Fridays-Sundays @ 12.00pm to 3.00pm
DINNER: Tuesdays-Sundays @ 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays