Taste of Songkran: The Thai New Year

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 - 4:41pm IST

You can expect traditional Thai food with a twist during the Songkran Food Festival at San-Qi in Four Seasons, Mumbai, scheduled to run till 15th April 2014
  • Seared Spicy Tuna Salad

In keeping with tradition, the Buddha is bathed and scented water is poured over the hands of the elders amongst us. This is to wish them a long life, whilst asking for them blessings. We then sit down to a meal prepared by chef Seefah Ketchaiyo, who hails from Chaing Mai, where Songkran (13-15 April 2014) the traditional Thai New Year, is still celebrated in all
its gusto.

The first thing to be placed before me is Som Tam Thod Gai Yang (crispy papaya salad and grilled chicken). The petite portion and of the course the fact that the lightly spiced chicken is grilled to perfection, means that you can see the pristine white belly of my plate in 30 seconds flat.

I look over at my neighbour’s plate. She’s opted for veg. And the Yam Pak Kom Thod Grob (deep fried spinach salad in tamarind sauce) that sits before her looks just as good as my grilled chicken tasted. I’m incredibly tempted to request for a taste, but I decide to be polite and start a conversation instead. In the mean time, a Yam Tuna Yang (seared tuna spicy salad) is dished up for me, while my neighbour gets a Ma Kuay Muang Tuun See Aew Kaw (braised eggplant, silken tofu, Thai soya suace). I’m not much of an eggplant fan, so it’s easy for me to stay focused on my own food this time. Tuna is not a fish typically found on a Thai menu, or so I’m told. But given that the two medium-rare pan-fried morsels on my plate are just as delicious as the grilled chicken that came before them, you won’t find me complaining.

This is followed by some succulent stir-fried scallops in lemon grass sauce that goes by the Thai name, Hoy Shall Phad Sauce Ta Khai. Somehow the molluscs aren’t quite as flavourful as the dishes that preceeded, but there’s still dessert to look forward to. And here it comes—Kao Neaw Ma Meung (sticky mango rice), with fresh cubes of mango. What more could one ask for on a sultry summer afternoon?

As for the Four Season’s Songkran Specials that we didn’t sample today—Yam Kao Neaw Thod (spicy crisy sticky rice salad), Yam Pak Kom Thod Grob (deep fried spinach salad in tamarind sauce), Ma Kuay Muang Tuun See Aew Kaw (braised eggplant, silken tofu, Thai soya suace) and Koay Teaw Phad Khe Mow Goong Yang Sa Mun Plai (eggless noodles and Thai spiced prawns)—perhaps we’ll find the time to drop in on their ongoing Food Festival.

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