As rich in flavours and food as it is in beaches, culture and beauty, Thailand has exported its culinary creations across the world.
However, there is nothing like going straight to the original source to taste a country at its best. Far from the Pad Thais you will find at home, a journey to the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant food cultures is a must for any serious foodie.
One of the most sought-after dining spots in Thailand is nahm, a restaurant in the iconic urban hotel, COMO Metropolitan Bangkok. In 2014, this restaurant was voted number one in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, while this April, it was ranked as 28th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.
Influenced by today’s street food and recipes from centuries-old cookbooks, the restaurant’s menu combines bold flavours with meticulous attention-to-detail. The setting is exquisite, too, with interiors designed by renowned Japanese architect, Koichiro Ikebuchi.
We spoke to nahm’s Head Chef, Prin Polsuk, to find out what has made his restaurant, and Thailand’s cuisine, such a success story, and he shares his favourite, easy-to-make-at-home recipe.
nahm has been awarded as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Why do you think Thai food lends itself so well to fine dining?
Thai food is characterised by a balance and harmony of flavours that create layers of taste that are perfect for fine dining menus. And with a full supply of the best fresh ingredients, it is easy to be creative and innovative with both authentic and modern dishes.
Thailand is known for its lively street food. Have you incorporated urban flavours and techniques into your restaurant creations at nahm?
There are so many culinary traditions in Thailand to take inspiration from, so we take techniques from every part of the country and their unique food cultures to make our dishes as vibrant as possible.
Fresh and high-quality ingredients are an essential component to your dishes. Where do you source your produce?
We source a lot of produce from Or Tor Gor Market and get our herbs from local farmers in the north of Thailand.
“I cook from my heart and eat by my heart.”
What food market should we visit when in Thailand?
Or Tor Gor Market in Bangkok is one of the world’s best fresh food markets, with a fantastic range of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, as well as authentically homegrown specialities such as sticky sweet rice, stir fries and desserts to sample. Sam Yaan Market, also in Bangkok, is also definitely worth visiting for a taste of the city’s street food.
What appeals to you about COMO Hotels?
COMO Metropolitan Bangkok is trendy, unique and a relaxing shelter from the bustle of Bangkok.
Your menu at nahm boasts a fantastic choice of curries, salads, soups and stir-fries. What is your most popular or most requested dish?
Our Crab Curry with coconut and turmeric is a favourite of many dinner guests, as is the Mango Salad with Grilled Pork.
“My advice for cooking Thai food? Be passionate and patient.”
The passion you feel for the country and culture of Thailand is clear. What made you fall in love with Thai cuisine?
The range of flavours, but also the feeling of happiness it brings. Family gatherings in Thailand are always centred around food, so we reflect this sense of sharing in our restaurant.
When not in Thailand, what is your favourite place to travel to and why?
I love Italy because, like Thailand, food revolves around family. Since my grandma so heavily influenced me in my culinary journey, family is very important to me.
Thai food has gained popularity across the world. Why do you think it translates so well internationally?
I would say its unique yet healthy flavours, ingredients and cooking style have made Thai cuisine so popular across the world.
Thank you for time today. Do you have any other plans in the pipeline you can tip us off on?
Stir-fried Beef with Holy Basil and Fried Egg (กระเพาเนื้อไข่ดาว)
20g green chillies, sliced
10g garlic, peeled and sliced
150g minced beef
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
pinch of sugar
big handful of Holy Basil
2 tablespoons oil
1 bowl of cooked rice
1. Heat the oil in a wok on a medium heat, then add the chillies and garlic. Stir until fragrant
2. Add beef and stir until half cooked. Season with fish sauce, pepper and sugar
3. Sprinkle with Holy Basil, mix until the meat has cooked. It should taste spicy, salty and aromatic
4. Pour over the rice in the bowl, then serve with the fried egg
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