Thai food, as I know it, would be tom yum goong, green curry, pad thai, etc. The ignorant me didn’t even know Thai-food even had different regions to consider. Like which region is influenced by the adjacent country its bordering with. That’s why, when Claire brought me to Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe to try their dishes, I was so surprised when I was introduced to the ‘Northeastern Thai Cuisine’. Of course, the introvert in me would just keep quiet and nod to everything. Only after that then I’ll secretly consult Google for more information.
Northeastern Thai is called the ‘Isan’ region and it consist of 20 Thai provinces. The language is ‘Isan’ which is actually a dialect from Laos language, because its neighbour is Laos. Their main economy is agriculture, mainly rice. And many Isan cuisine consist of ingredients you can find from the paddy field. Thanks to the internet for all these information.
You would think the paddy field only has rice, so the cuisine is mainly rice based. But no, you’re only half correct. While the staple food is glutinous rice, you will find crabs and snails in their cuisine because they can be found in the paddy fields! Shiok right? Crabs yo! There are rivers and mountains in the area too, its such a large area so its not all rice paddies. You get lots of fruits, fishes etc, so shame on me to even think that there’s only rice paddy fields there..
Dining in Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe is a little different from what we’re used to, that is, food is served as they were cooked, one by one. Its made known to us that the food is served at one go, you will see the staff pushing trolleys stacked full of goodness and fill up whole tables so that patrons can stuff themselves silly. It is said that this is how the agricultural community dine, they dine together, layout all those culinary goodness at one go and everybody share all there is to eat. This type of communal dining is something I wish we can all do but since young, my family doesn’t really have this kind of habit. We come and eat as and when we like, no fixed timing, no discipline, lesser family bonding time as well.
Well its becoming a semi-rant at this point, I better get on with the food segment.
Our table was, like I mentioned above, filled up with savoury dishes that activated all my salivary glands to better prepare for all the food I’m gonna taste.
List of dishes:
Thai Walking Cat Fish with Spicy Lemon Soup $35
Thai Basil Crab $Seasonal Price
BBQ Pork Belly $18
Lala Bee Hoon $18
Thai Style Otak (Hommok) $18
Thai Dill Omelette (Cha Om) $10
Deep Fried Kang Kong with Special Thai Sauce $10
Papaya Salad $8
Olive Fried Rice $6 (for single portion)
Mushroom Tempura $12
Of all the above dishes, let me say all of them were good! The Walking Catfish uses.. catfish.. of course. While they do have other fishes like sea bass, the chef strongly encourage we try the catfish, the dish was cooked and simmered slowly in the lemon soup on top of red hot charcoal. Yes charcoal on the table in a restaurant. How often do you see such things? The use of charcoal is because, unlike solid fuel which burns out of control and burn out really fast, charcoal will give a slow and steady heat which will simmer the soup over the course of our meal. There is a bowl of extra soup for us to pour over the catfish, can you imagine, after say half an hour of simmering, the flesh of the catfish will be so soaked with the soup it will taste like hot tender solidified paradise. Can I say umakara? Because its sweet and salty and bitter and sour and spicy. And its not a intelligible mess of flavours, they compliment each other much like how I love that KFC offering last month, but maybe better! Because it brings out the clarity of the catfish, which even after so much simmering, the flesh remains intact yet tender. Delish!
The poor catfish won’t be walking anymore, thank you for the meal.
Oh I talked so much about the fish.. Moving on, the basil crab was nice, in a normal seasoned crab way. It pales in comparison to the other savoury dishes. Personally I feel that I can’t really taste the basil used in the crab, possibly due to the other dishes overpowering it, but the crab itself was cooked just about right and I suppose it takes much experience to be able to do that.
The BBQ pork belly is like charsiew, charsiew with a different dipping sauce from what we are used to in those kopitiam stalls we are so used to. Its made of glutinous rice and chilli. Nice and chewy with the right fat to lean meat ratio, not too oily and works wonders with the accompanying sauce, but me I personally don’t like charsiew much.. I prefer roasted pork belly!
The steaming Lala beehoon was another one that caught my attention, it tasted like the zichar beehoon you get from any nearby kopitiam. But the lala, the white clams were really fresh and the generosity of clams made the simple dish into a magnificent one.
Thai style Otak was a refreshing one, I believe it can pass as a excellent appetizer because it’s like mashed mixed seafood with young coconut flesh. That sweet and salty taste with the freshness of the seafood and coconut flesh. Mad combi, mashed dope. Its addictive and seriously that one serving in that coconut shell wasn’t near enough for all of us at the table. Everyone is just scooping from it.
The other dishes was really good but the spiciness was another level in Spicy Thai-Thai, well its got ‘spicy’ in its name so we should’ve known right. Next would be desserts:
Thai Red Ruby $4
Lemongrass Jelly with Aloe Vera & Calamansi $3
Tapioca in coconut milk $4
The Tapioca in coconut milk is the only warm dessert dish out of the 3 that we ordered. And its the most outstanding one as well. Maybe because I’m like an old man, old man’s taste prefers warmer stuff. Warm and sweet when you chew into it, starchy plus the fragrant aroma of coconut milk. Delish!
Overall, we had a great feast over at Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe. It offers a familiar zichar style seating and food that satisfy our stomach, and just FYI, the food didn’t burn through my A**. Its safe, in that sense, at least for my not-so-strong bowels.
Cheers people, do check it out if you’re in the area. And in light of the ongoing mosquito problems, do rub on some repellent when you head out, stay safe outdoors.