Thai cultural dance performance by students

Inside the new Fairfield by Marriott in Thamel, there are traditional Thai umbrellas, lanterns and purple orchids, Thai folk instrumentals play gently in the background, and there is an aroma of coconut and lemon grass, and there are people in traditional Thai attire milling about. The ambience takes us directly to Thailand. 

For those from Kathmandu not going to Thailand this holiday season, Fairfield by Marriott is bringing Thailand to Kathmandu this week and next through a culinary extravaganza at its Kava Restaurant. Tapping into the popularity of Thailand as Nepalis’ top vacation destination and the growing interest in Thai culture, the hotel has organised a taste of Thailand. 

Chef Kroongtana Nimnu. All photos: MONIKA DEUPALA

The 10-day long food festival is led by Chef Kroongtana Nimnu  who also goes by the name Chef Cĥāng (meaning elephant in Thai) and has been promoting his country’s cuisine all over the world, working with reputed international hotels chains like Royal Angkor Silk Hotel, Le Meridian and Westin for the past 20 years. 

Pad Phak (mixed veg in soy sauce)
Pla Pad Cha (stir fried fish with Thai herbs)

This time he is in Nepal to prepare and share Thai dishes from the common Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup) to Tom Kha Kai (coconut based chicken soup), Kao Na Phet (duck with rice), Som Tum (raw papaya salad), Pad Thai, Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (green Thai chicken curry) and dessert options like sweet sticky rice, egg custard, and many more. Just rolling those Thai names makes one salivate.    

“Thai cuisine is a mixture of Indian and Chinese food culture. It is not very similar to Nepali cuisine, but Nepalis have developed a taste for Thai food”, says Chef Cĥāng. “My menu respects the food culture here, so it does not incorporate too much meat.” 

Thai Airways Country Manager serves his portion
Gang Ped Kai (red chicken curry with fermented bamboo shoots)

This is first time Chef Cĥāng is promoting Thai gastronomy in Nepal and has brought along the key Thai ingredients like galangal and Kaffir lime which are not available in the Nepali market. But some ingredients like fermented bamboo shoots (tamahave been sourced from the local market. Chef Cĥāng uses this sour item to make Gang Ped Kai (red chicken curry with fermented bamboo shoots).

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Thai cultural dance performance by a student

The first day of the festival was inaugurated by General Manager Sanjeev Mandal and Thai Ambassador to Nepal Bhakavat Tansku, and was attended by ambassadors of Myanmar and Singapore, Thai Airways Country Manager Peerapong Jutaganoon, and Hotel Annapurna General Manager Raju Bikram Shah. A cultural dance performance by Thai students added colour to the event.

With warm hospitality, a talented culinary team, Fairfield hopes the festival will bring a memorable gourmet dining experience to Kathmandu. 

30 September- 9 October, 6:30-10:30pm, Kava Restaurant, Fairfield by Marriott, Thamel, Rs2,199 (nett), (01) 4217999

Thai desserts