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First Class

The Grid goes for another win with rock star Thai chef’s menu

/ 04:00 AM December 01, 2019

The Grid just keeps getting better.

Count on Charles Paw to up his own game in the food court business. As if it wasn’t enough that The Grid is already awesomely curated, with great laksa and crab omelette among the recommendable food items, Paw is now bringing in a Michelin-starred chef to serve an authentic Thai menu.

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Imagine having authentic Thai dishes by a Michelin-starred chef right at the Powerplant food court. How lucky can we be?

The chef is Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn, the very young, very vibrant and very talented chef of Le Du, a one Michelin-starred restaurant in Bangkok. Michelin describes Le Du this way: “Using his experience from working at NYC’s Eleven Madison Park, chef ‘Ton’ Thitid creatively reinterprets Thai cuisine, with a rotating seasonal menu—Le Du comes from a Thai word meaning ‘season.’ In summer, highlights include their signature Khao Chae, as well as Khao Khluk Kapi; the organic rice, cooked with salty aromatic shrimp paste and pork jam, is served with perfectly done river prawns. A relaxed ambience makes this a welcome retreat for diners.”

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Le Du is chef Ton’s modern Thai restaurant. He has another restaurant, Baan, that focuses on Thai family recipes.
Now he brings to the Philippines these flavors at Samyan, a stall at the new wing of The Grid at Powerplant Rockwell.

For such an esteemed chef, it is surprising that he agreed to open a humble kiosk albeit at a fancy food court. During his visit here, he said this was because of his advocacy to share real authentic Thai food to the world.

Samyan will serve Filipino favorites among the Thai dishes that we know: Beef Massaman Curry, Tom Yum soup, Bagoong Rice, Thai Grilled Chicken and Pork Krapao.

At a press dinner where we had the chance to ask him questions, the chef said he would use ingredients from Manila especially the fresh ingredients (meats) and even the herbs. “You have it all here,” he said. But he will be bringing in chili paste from Thailand—that makes a big difference.

The distinguishing factor must then be the technique in cooking. Chef Ton brought to Bangkok the cooks who will handle the stall at The Grid. That is probably because even for just one condiment, they use so many ingredients.

Pepper Teehankee, who was also at the press dinner and who apparently loves chef Ton’s cooking so much, expertly narrated all the ingredients that go into Tassanakajohn’s patis: fish sauce (obviously) but also tamarind, chili, garlic, toasted rice and scallions. The sauce goes well with the grilled chicken that was turned Thai by cooking it in turmeric, coconut milk and lemon grass.

There will also be bagoong rice, which Filipinos and Thais both love.

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The chef also revealed his secret to making his Tom Yum soup more delicious: evaporated milk. The chef will also balance pork krapao—a common street food in Thailand made with lots of spices—with rice.

Aside from Samyan, the new wing at The Grid will also be bringing back Macau Pigeon House alongside Your Local and a healthy cuisine concept by chef Natalia Moran of Sunny Side Café in Boracay.

If things go well, chef Ton may just open his own full blown modern Thai restaurant in Manila next year. Let’s hope for the best! In the meantime, let’s enjoy the dishes at Samyan.

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