Chang Sensory Trails 2017, Singapore
Venue: The Promontory @ Marina Bay
Date: July 7-8, 2017
For the benefit of those who don’t (already) know…
“Chang Sensory Trails is a global campaign that brings the vibrancy of Thai food culture to the world, injecting a modern, refreshing spin on its big and bold flavors.”
For a second year running, Chang Sensory Trails (CST) 2017, visited London in late April, San Francisco in late May, and hit the ground running in Singapore, early this month.
Chef Couple – Dylan & Bo rallied an ensemble of local Thai restaurants for this event, crafted a menu offering cherry picked Thai dishes; inspired by their fondest memories of Thailand. And the event made possible, courtesy of Thailand’s flagship beer, Chang (Transl: Elephant).
To avoid the critical mass, we decided to visit at H-hour (±1600hrs). It was threatening to rain, a light drizzle upon our arrival, but thanks to the southern breeze sweeping over, the rain clouds did its business in some other part of town.
Like kids in a candy shop, we spread out to survey the stalls, witnessed the variety they each brought forth, and we would then decide on selections from each stall.
Visitors were definitely spoiled for choice! Food variants originating from the Central Plains, Isaan (North-East) and predominantly North. I was somewhat curious why there was hardly enough from the South.
Being overwhelmed with choices, it’s never wrong to start things off with a sip of liquid gold, at an outdoor event.
Where liquid gold is concerned, I’m nowhere close to being a connoisseur. I appreciate it very much as liquid diet (at least that’s the story of how beer came to be, liquid bread).
Chang beer when served at the right temperature, in the right ambience, with the right company, is a tad tastier than most other brands on the shelves. The fragrance holds, the flavor is thorough, smooth as it goes down, and not too hoppy in the after taste. If I may say so, it’s the beverage for many occasions. At least, for this part of the world, especially with an entourage of prickly Thai cuisines.
Here’s what we sampled:
Gai Tod Hat Yai (Deep Fried Chicken from Hatyai) – the name is self-explanatory, deep fried chicken thigh, topped with deep fried crispy shallots. Flavor & texture is simple, with mild whiffs of spices & lemongrass as you chew along.
From Talay Thai
Suea Rong Hai (Trans: Crying/ Weeping Tiger) – nicely done sliced up strips of medium rare beef, lightly seasoned with salt & pepper, served on a leaf of lettuce, accompanied with potato chips, and with the infamous Nam Jim Jaew, a potent spicy dipping sauce. Friends who know me well, will know I found love, with this dish.
From Nara Thai
Moo Ping (Trans: Grilled Pork) – savory marinated lean pork grilled to a tender finish. Perhaps due to the carnival setting & haste, I’ve tasted better before.
Butterfly Pea Flower Sticky Rice – typically in Thailand, grilled meats often paired with plain sticky rice. This blue floral scented version is pretty novel.
From Gin Khao
Khao Pahd Dtaeng Moh (Trans: Watermelon Fried Rice) – fragrant fried rice with cashew nuts & poached shelled prawns, served in a hollowed half of a watermelon, decked with balls of watermelon flesh & taukee (dried beancurd sticks), topped with pork floss. This is a whole lot more refreshing than the pineapple version. loved it!
From Folks Collective
Pahd Thai Poo (Pahd Thai with Crab) – seafood rendition of Pahd Thai, with traces of crab meats in the mix. Same-same but different.
Signature Folks Chicken Wings – battered & deep fried. Good on its own, but would be good if there was some potent dipping sauce to alter the dynamics.
From Longtail Asian Brasserie And Bar
Chiang Mai Bites – trademark Northern Thai spicy flavored sausages, and crispy fried pork skin, served with a zesty green chili dipping sauce.
From Long Chim
Chiang Mai Larb Gai (Chiang Mai Chicken Salad) – Thailand has at least 4-5 known styles of salads, and Larb is known to be spice blend intensive, on blanched minced proteins. The spice hits you hard, and mellows off with a citrus aftertaste. Use the raw cabbages to cool the heat.
Grilled Lamb Ribs – served with seasoned rice. Visually looks similar with mutton biryani, but the fragrant spices form a crust on the cooked lamp.
All in all, I reckon some of the dishes would be quite a challenge for our Singaporean palates, or if not, would require an acquired taste. I’ve been a fan of Thai cuisines, ever since my maiden encounter in Australia, and in the last decade, tried & tasted authentic ones in Thailand as well. So I find the menu tantalizing, especially with chilled Chang beer!
Bear in mind, these aren’t exactly full on street food, because there are strong culinary kitchen influences in how they were prepared. And so, the food is more photogenic than what you would find them in the streets of Thailand.