Monday, October 8, 2012

Crystal Jade Restaurant - Bangkok

As I have written, all of us, Senior Mrs. Stonethrower, Sister Stonethrower, HRH the Queen of Kutch and I are at an inflection point. Do we really like Thai food, however good it may be? The food absolutely assaults your taste buds. The spice with use of chillies, the various herbs – Kafir Lime, Thai Basil, Lemongrass, Garlic, the various rhizomes – Turmeric, Ginger, Galangal, the Fish Sauce, the Dried Shrimp, the Shrimp Paste, the souring agents and the contrasting use of Palm Sugar make, in my opinion, Thai Food rather difficult to eat with any degree of regularity. After the meal at Nahm and Baan Kanitha we had our fill of Thai food. There is just so much of the mix and match Red, Green and Yellow curry with Chicken, Duck, Shrimp, Fish, Pork and Beef that one can eat. Just so much Som Tam and just so much of other salads.

An executive decision was made. We would not eat any more Thai food on this visit but would stick to Chinese food. Being in the Far East, Oriental cooking techniques are in the blood of local cooks. They cut all vegetables on a diagonal, mincing of ginger and garlic comes naturally. The use of Soy Sauce and, horror of horrors, use of Aji No Moto is almost universal. Oriental/Asian ingredients are readily available. The cooks are fully in the know of Asian flavour profiles. So eating Chinese and Japanese food is a sensible thing to do in the East.

We went for dinner to Crystal Jade, which we had visited the last time we were in Bangkok. We were looking forward to the meal. Senior Mrs. Stonethrower was especially excited as she wanted to eat Sweet Sour Pork which she ate as a child at Cantonese restaurants in Bombay. Today, in Bombay you don’t get this dish, no one eats pork and everyone wants spicy food. So she was looking forward to eating some good Sweet Sour Pork. We set about ordering our meal.

To start we had Carrots and Cucumbers rolled in Pork Loin. This was served with a Garlic Sauce. We had ordered this the last time. It was excellent. One bite gave you a mix of delightful textures, the creaminess of the pork loin and the crunch of the carrots.

Carrots and Cucumbers in Pork Loin

Senior Mrs. Stonethrowers request of Sweet Sour Pork turned up. Nice, it did taste like the Sweet Sour Pork of the old days. Crunchy deep fried Pork in a tomato sauce based sauce with Pineapple. A tad sweet but nice.

Sweet Sour Pork

Next up was another Senior Mrs. Stonethrower request, deep fried Prawns with Wasabi. This was different to the Prawns at Four Seasons. Here the Prawns were larger and the Wasabi sauce was white sauce based unlike at Four Seasons where the sauce was Mayonnaise. Middling and not a patch on Four Seasons.

Wasabi Prawns

 Also ordered was a Beef with a Soy based sauce with Onion and noodles with superior fungus. So instead of the usual Button Mushrooms, we had some fresh Shitake, some Wood Ear Mushrooms and some other unidentifiable mushrooms. I needed my fix of greens so a Kailan with Garlic rounded of the order. Most dished arrived with a Chrysanthemum Tea Jelly, which I did not have the daring to eat. The ladies all ate the Jelly and were delighted. God bless them and keep them happy!

Beef Soy and Onions

Noodles with Superior Fungus

Kailan with Garlic

Chrysanthemum Tea Jelly

On the whole, the food was decent and no dish particularly wowed us. The meal did end up costing as much as a meal in a reasonable restaurant in India - I clarify, Mainland China is expensive – this food was cheaper than Mainland China. I can assure you that it was far superior to anything that Mainland China can serve you.

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