A taste of Ian Kittichai’s cooking at Benjarong
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Thai celebrity chef and TV host Ian Kittichai recently visited Manila as part of a regional culinary tour called Taste of Thailand. Kittichai, who is Thailand’s Iron Chef, is the star of Asian Food Channel’s 3 Chefs 1 City.
He is also a cookbook author with a number of restaurants around the world, including his flagship restaurant Issaya Siamese Club in Bangkok, Thailand, which ranked No. 31 in 2014’s Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants.


Kittichai was recently at Dusit Thani Manila’s Benjarong where he cooked for food writers and bloggers.
I heard Kittichai sent two junior chefs to Manila two days ahead of his arrival so they could prep for the six-course lunch at the hotel, plus an Eastwood Mall event.
We were served two appetizers: Ma–Hor (caramelized minced shrimp ball, peanuts and pineapple) and Meing Tuna (diced tuna tartare, ginger, betel leaves and palm sugar-fish sauce dressing). Ma-Hor was sweet and savory at the same time. Meing Tuna is similar to our kinilaw, except it didn’t have vinegar.


Kittichai’s demonstration dish was (grilled beef tenderloin, fresh herbs and bird’s eye chili vinaigrette). This happens to be one of my favorite Thai dishes and Kittichai did it really well. I later learned this is one of his signature dishes.

Grilled Beef Salad

Then we were served Tom Kha Goong, a traditional soup of seared tiger prawns in a light galangal coconut broth with kaffir lime. The soup was thick and flavorful and the prawns had a briny sweetness.

Tom Kha Goong

There were two main courses. First was a Chili Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, which was mildly hot because of the chili paste but not overwhelmingly so. The second main course was a more robust Beef Short Ribs in Green Curry Sauce served with Jasmine rice. The beef was fork-tender and the curry, bold. This dish actually needed an extra cup of Jasmine rice.
To end the meal, Kittichai served a Jasmine Flower Panna Cotta with Jasmine Rice Ice Cream and Jasmine Rice Tuille. Panna cotta and ice cream may not be native to Thailand but the jasmine flower gave the dessert a distinctive taste of Thailand.

Jasmine Flower Panna Cotta with Jasmine Rice Ice Cream and Jasmine Rice Tuille

3 Chefs, 1 City is a show that explores the world’s greatest foodie destinations through the eyes of chefs. It offers insider access, with each episode featuring three chefs hosting their own acts and offering a unique viewpoint on what makes their city’s food scene special.
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