Thai & Thai

166, DunHua (TunHua) North Road
Tel: (02) 2712-1201 ext. 2168, 2169
Hours: 11:30 am-3 pm lunch; 6-11 pm dinner


Thai & Thai: A classy, spicy way to satisfy an appetite
By Josephine Lin Pictures provided by Mandarina Crown Hotel Translated by Lisa Chiu

Although hot summer temperatures often have a depressing effect on appetites, the food at Thai & Thai, located in the Mandarina Crown Hotel, seems immune to such seasonal swings. The restaurant's five-star gourmet Thai dishes, available for reasonable prices, make this establishment a great option among the growing number of Thai eateries in Taipei.

Thai & Thai's head chef is not only from Thailand, but is a woman. This is impressive in itself as there are not many female hotel chefs in Taiwan. Equally impressive is her authentic Thai cooking, which includes dishes from all over Thailand, from dishes favored by commoners to those reserved for the royal family.

Thai food is healthy and natural. A large amount of imported spices is used during cooking. Seafood plays a large role in Thai dishes and this is reflected at Thai & Thai, where a chef¡¦s specialty is grilled perch (NT$480). To make this dish, the fish is deboned and stuffed with citronella grass, lemon grass and other spices, then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in the oven. For those who like their food spicy, try adding this restaurant's specially-made hot sauce. Or, order the lemon fish steamed with chili peppers (NT$480). Fresh fish is covered in red chili peppers and garlic. In order to maintain the taste of this dish, it is served on a hot plate, heated by an open flame.

Shrimp lovers will not be disappointed with the deep-fried shrimp cakes (NT$250). The cakes feature juicy shrimp bits on the inside and are crispy on the outside. Satay, another popular dish in Thailand, is coming into its own in Taipei. Thai & Thai is one of the few places offering shrimp satay in addition to chicken and pork versions. Try the satay with curry sauce or the chef's special sauce made from fish paste, cucumbers, red onion and hot chili peppers for a real South Pacific taste.

Thai curry is made with fresh coconut milk to enhance the texture and taste. At Thai & Thai, there are three kinds of curry--green, yellow and red. Chef Rapeeporn Sillapakit explains, "Green curry is lighter in taste than the other kinds of curries and, thus, is best served with seafood and chicken. As for red curry, also called peanut curry, its sweet peanut taste goes best with beef. Yellow curry is more complicated and has a strong flavor. It is divided into two types, one for seafood and one for other types of meat." The most popular curry dish is the green curry chicken (NT$190), cooked with 20 spices and served with Thai-style eggplant. The taste is a bit spicy but rich in flavor, which makes it a satisfying dish, especially when served with rice.

There are more than 30 types of desserts available. The Thai-style coconut custard (NT$120) is another of this restaurant¡¦s specialties. It has a smooth texture, although it contains shredded coconut, and is mildly sweet. Wild yam sesame soup (NT$120) is a features wild yam, a Taiwanese favorite, served Thai dessert-style. Other South Pacific desserts are also served including coconut pudding (NT$120) and coconut milk tapioca (NT$120). These desserts not only taste great but are low in calories. Drinks include orchid tea (NT$100) and coconut milk (NT$100).

Tired of the city's hectic pace? Treating yourself to a nice meal in this beautifully decorated restaurant will conjure up images of sun-drenched sandy beaches. However, before you start to enjoy this fantasy, be sure and make a reservation and to get a jump start on other culinary escapists heading for Thai & Thai.