Search This Blog

Friday, April 30, 2010



A taste live in memory

Thai jumbo prawn (a.k.a. river lobster) from the upstream of Chaophraya River is one luscious river species on earth. Its flesh tastes like lobster while its creamy roe spills out from the head is heavenly delicious. My first bite of the prawn from the River of the King was at Bua, next to the Bangkapi Land Division on Sinarkarin Road, probably twenty-five years ago.

My first bowl of hearty gaeng-som (orange curry in gaeng-som paste, tamarind and chilies) was also being sampled at Bua. Since then, I realized that Thai curries are fruitful, not just limited to gaeng-kiao-wan (green curry) or tom-yum (sour and spicy soup).

Bua Thai Restaurant once took the top fame in Bangkok culinary business, but the glory doesn't pass on to its second generation of management.

Bua on Soi Convent may not deliver a decent grandma recipes to diners, but it is an ideal eatery to begin with Thai food lesson one, for the foreigners.

Bua Thai Restaurant **1/2
Silom branch
1/4 Sriboonrueng Building, Soi Convent
off Silom Road
Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
Tel.: 02.237.6641

Open daily 10:30 am - 11 pm
Pay (food only for two): around THB 800


Stella said...

Almost $30 US for 2 is cheap for tourist but costly for local Thai.
I like to eat shrimp or prawn with lots of roes(but high cholestrol).

in the sea said...

25 years ago. What a memory, and it's like seeing a good old friend's relative in downtown. It's also a fond memory of how you got to know more Thai native seafood and Gaeng food culture.

It's a real interesting part that most of the younger often can't carry on what their seniors do. Even when we look back, we did the same and my father did the same to challenge on the old stuff. Later on when we miss our old stuff, that means our mind of challenging or rebelliousness is fading (or more simplified as "getting old"). There was a time I saw Tao Tao (the happy and "big heavy" chef and food critics) put some sea salt in the heated wok with oil before stir frying the veggie. I recall that's the classic stir frying of veggie and it's what my aunt used to it.

There was a time I discussed with a famous chef (back then he wasn't that famous and actually working hard to run his own restaurant.). He disagreed to the classic "wind drying" process before deep frying the chicken. Instead, he put the chicken in the fridge as the fridge cool/dry effect would do the same, but I disagree. The fridge's cool/dry condition also mix the chicken with the fridge's smell. I told him that, when the chicken is hung in the air, the water and part of the fat on and beneath the skin will be dried out. That makes the skin lighter and more crispy.

Grandma recipes? That reminded me of her "beggar's clay pot" pan-fried caramelised salty fish. I am much hesitant of trying that. It's because she even made sun-dried salty fish by herself. She carefully cleaned the fish belly inside without any tap water. She told me "never attract the flies to the salty fish and never use tap water to rinse the fish". Then when she further told me something, I ran away.. haha. Now I miss her lessons 2/3/4/5.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club of good old things.
You are lucky to have so many good cooking lessons from your chef friends and your grandma, aunt and others.
Can you tell why no good to rinse fish with tap water?

in the sea said...

The tap water has some other chemicals (remarkably chlorine). It would damage the fish body texture and flavour. The tap water also has some bacteria to make the fish body deteriorate. So if you don't eat the fish right away, don't rinse the fish or meat with tap water. There was a time the Angel and I went to take a fish congee in Sheung Wan (I really miss that now). The old uncle didn't use any water to rinse the fish filet. He just used the chopping knife to clean the fish meat. This is a very professional technique. It takes at least 10-15 years to practise it. It's also about subtle force. If too hard, the fish meat will be split. If too soft, the dirt will still be there!

So I often told my friends not to buy me those kitchen utensil. A chef should just use one knife and one cutting board. That's it, and that's my kitchen.

SS, I don't agree with my famous chef friend and he claimed on my BBQ fish in foil as "steamed fish". So you would know he just see things as end result like corporate investor seeing the end result. Just like how he put chicken in the fridge for "wind drying" for faster result. Sorry I don't need money for cooking as a business right now. :)

Stella said...

Thank you SEA for the good cooking tips and the fish washing skill.
Your cooking theory and your famous chef's mark a big difference between cooking for fun/passion and cooking for business/money.
You enjoy the whole process with no worry of time and cost, whereas your chef friend has to be cost effective, time efficient and profitable. Motive and intention make the difference.

Fillet-O Fish said...


I though you don't like this farang-friendly restaurant!