Friday, October 5, 2012

About Thai Restaurants

Over the years we have been to only a few Thai restaurants in New Zealand – and have one or two favourites that we visit again and again.  

Recently, Anita asked me to dine out with her and Barbara at this Thai restaurant in Otahu, Secret Thai Garden. It was Friday night and the restaurant was packed. Apart from the people at the service end, I seemed to be the only Thai there. I talked to our (Thai) waitress a bit and have learned that they are chocka most nights. Next time please come Monday or Tuesday, we are normally not this busy those nights and you can order almost anything – I was told and by speaking Thai, I managed to ask the kitchen to change the type of curry on our set menu. As busy as they were, the service was very efficient and the food arrived with perfect timing, not too quick not too slow. They have invested a lot on the décor - chunks of wooden furniture and wall plaques everywhere. I am sure it would be very pleasant in summer when we could see the garden.

Barbara asked me if I enjoyed it – yes, of course, very good company first of all. For the food I found the starter very tasty. It came with a small divided bowl containing 3 different sauces so you could control the degrees of sweetness of your food. Soup and main dishes were a tad too sweet but with good, fresh ingredients. Should they change it? My answer is no – they should not change a thing. I am not a food snob - if I want my food less sweet I’ll ask them next time to reduce sugar just for my dishes and leave the rest alone. They cater to the market and apparently they must have done something right to attract such a crowd. Barbara and Anita (fussy eater, this one) loved it.

I have one good friend in Sydney who owns a couple of eateries, one is a Thai restaurant in upmarket suburb on the Shore and the other is a fast food lunch bar in Mascot – both very successful. His wife who is very, very good cook herself, has once told me that she has to add sugar in almost every dish to the customers’ taste.

Majority of Thai restaurants that I have visited here also tend to cook their dishes on the sweet side. But if that is what the market wants – so be it. Authenticity is merely abstract!

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