Feb 23, 2013

What to Expect at Taste of Dubai 2013-Thiptara

The Palace hotel conjures up images of elegance and prestige, and that's exactly what you get at Thiptara Thai restaurant in downtown Dubai.  Serving up authentic Thai cuisine in a gorgeous locale surrounded by the Burj fountains, this is a one of a kind venue which makes for a special evening out.  We are lucky to have Thiptara participating at Taste of Dubai 2013, this is the first year The Palace has gotten involved with this culinary event, and after this preview tasting, I think we are in for a treat.  Chef Chaiwat Kawikitpraphat has over 15 years of experience in his field, he brings unique insights to Thai gastronomy.       

First to arrive at the table is the Yum Som-O also known as a Pomelo salad.  This crunchy, sweet, sour, and creamy combination of flavors is the reason I fell in love with Thai cuisine.  Chef Chaiwat has a knack for combining a lot of texture into his dishes and the first to introduce that combination was this siganture salad. It's refreshing and balanced, and had just the right amount of heat.  This dish will do well at the festival as it's perfect for the weather and atmosphere.  
Our second starter was just as flavorful as the first. Building on more intensity of flavor, this dish brought another dimension of Thai cooking to the table.  The Thod Maan Goong or prawn cake, with the pungent taste of lemongrass infusing the delicate and juicy flavor of the shrimp, was the perfect portion size (although I wanted more). Playing with texture again, Chef made sure that this dish incorporated plenty of that crunch factor!

Listed on the menu were a couple of items that really caught my eye, and this next dish was one of them.  The Ped Nam Ma Kam was the highlight of this meal. Pretty much anything with duck is usually a winner in my book, but the execution and creativity here were second to none.  The BBQ duck breast smothered with a tamarind sauce was cooked to perfection at a medium temperature.  The crispy skin on the outer edges of the sliced breast meat is what you expect from a seasoned chef, but the presentation on a giant onion ring is what made this dish really stand apart.  Rounded out flavors consisting of the sour tamarind, sweet duck, and savory onion ring is mouth watering and memorable.
Lastly is the Geang Kiew Wan Gai or more commonly known as Thai Green Curry with chicken. Complete with the Thai and baby eggplants, the subtlety of this dish is what I really enjoyed.  When a chef can capture the essence of a good green curry including the notes of Kaffir lime, coriander, coconut cream, and chilli without going to heavy on the spice, then you know it's a good dish. The baby eggplants add that special burst of flavor which makes this dish authentic. 
We did enjoy a couple of dessert tasting, one of which was the Tab Tim Grob and the Sang kha ya (pictured below).  Now I am not usually a fan of asian style desserts, but there was something very comforting about this Thai custard cake.  The tendrils of sweetened fried egg yolk on top of this rich dessert gave it an unusual taste, but one that was also pleasantly surprising!
All of these dishes will be available at Taste of Dubai 2013 on from March 14th-16th (http://www.tasteofdubaifestival.com/).  Look for The Palace hotel stall, and there you will find Thiptara's elegant fare along with their friendly and knowledgeable staff.  All menu items will be priced between AED15-AED 30.  Make sure you put this restaurant on the list of places to check out, it's definitely worth the trip! 

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