While menus have become a combination of global dishes diners love to eat, those global influences can create amazing mash-ups if done the right way.
There’s a sure-fire method Chefs use to get inspired: stalking fellow foodies on social media.
Secret street eats are revealed as well as travelogues of trips and regions of culinary inspiration. One of the most fertile destinations is in our own neighbourhood of South-East Asia, consisting of a dozen countries enriched with their own regional cuisines.
Embracing these diverse border-busting influences, sourcing the ingredients, mixing the spices and finally getting it right is proving a big pull for patrons, who can’t get enough of the new fragrant spin put on classic local dishes. And if you add to that the quality of produce we enjoy both sides of the Tasman, there is no end to the exciting journey Chefs can take their diners on.
Modern Thai cooking is taking over the world
Although traditional Thai cuisine has been an Aussie and Kiwi fav for ages, Thai flavours and ingredients are increasingly finding their way into modern dishes in unashamedly creative ways.
Thai cuisine itself is a melting pot of cultural influences from neighbouring countries like China, Malaysia, Burma and Laos. All these combine to create unique regional dishes with their own take on ingredients, herbs and spices. It’s this amazingly diverse mix of proteins and punch of herbs and spices, that is seeing modern Thai cooking take over the world.
Who is doing modern Thai well
There is no shortage of local Chefs who have seized the modern Thai influence and run with it. With very exciting results. While most Australians are familiar with Amy Chan’s traditional Chat Thai restaurants in Sydney, her daughter’s Thai grocery/Café/restaurant Jarern Chai is the latest player in the modern Thai movement. Inventive players Sujet Saenkham’s Spice I Am and Muum Maam, both in Surry Hills, also show that diners’ tastes for clean, modern Thai influences are not even close to waning.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a sneaky Instagram peek at Chin Chin’s traditional Thai with a new edge. Check out dishes such as Tartare of Salmon with Sambal Olek, pickled cucumber and fried cassava chips, Spicy Isaan Duck Larb with ground roast rise and lime or Southern Thai Goat Curry with shredded coconut and mint yoghurt.
On the other side of the Tasman, Thai loving Chef Che Barrington has just opened Ponsonby’s Go Go Daddy, a new eatery offering up Spicy Southern Thai-style pork rib curry with white onion, lime leaf coriander and the distinctly non-Thai dill. There is also the light and bright Thai-influenced Tok Tok in Takapuna in Auckland which offers a drunken wagyu brisket with oyster mushroom, quail egg and galangal relish or a roasted duck salad with lychee, basil, coriander, ginger and a hot ‘n’ sour dressing.
So, look local for your next inspiration as you never know what you may find.