Saturday, 6 August 2005

London Thai Food Festival

The threat of terrorist bombings did not deter my husband and I in going to this year's London Thai Food Festival last 24th of July. I was determined to explore more of Thai food and no bomb threat can discourage me from it. Battersea park was the venue where I've always loved coming to, admiring its attractive gardens, well maintained lawns, to its towering old trees. Though we only get to see it when we pass by on the way to central London, this time (which is probably only our third) we purposely set off to imbibe its refreshing atmosphere. I think the organisers picked an excellent venue.

By the way, prior to this I called on a fellow blogger's Thai food knowledge to point me in the right direction on sampling the food. A big thanks is in order to ever helpful Thess of Eet Smakelijk. Cheers mah dear!

Unfortunately, our food orgy was rudely interrupted by a bomb scare and we only managed ogling around and sampling food for about 1 hour before police came to escort everybody out of the park. As you can see from the above picture (click on it for a bigger view) there were quite a number of things and stalls to nose around. They have lovely smelling barbecues, lots of spicy looking dishes with offal and seafood - two things that my husband is very interested in. Also stalls with handicrafts, mobile phones, freight companies, even ones doing Thai massage, plus Thai dancers in native costumes. Almost all of the food stalls were serving the popular fresh papaya salad where ladies prepare it right on the spot only when somebody ordered it which makes it ultra fresh. The lady who did it for us asked me if I want it spicy and I made the mistake of nodding my head. All I can say is I only managed one spoonful before throwing my hands up in spicy defeat. It was really really spicy hot - phwoarr! While my husband happily finished it noting that it would be good with barbecued or fried meats or fish. Next time I'll make sure not to overestimate my wimpy self and order it mild only. But I did notice its lovely crunchy texture and from watching the lady do it I think I can make it at home I just have to find green papayas around here which is like trying to find fresh peaches in a tropical country - nearly impossible.

We also tried their longganisa or sausage which has noodles in it! Quite yummy. And of course my day wouldn't be complete without my favourite Pad Thai. I need to gripe with what I got - though the prawns were excellent, the flavouring itself was so-so. It seriously need more patis/nam pla and lots of lime juice.

One of the more attractive stalls there was the Blue Elephant restaurant's. They even have chefs who demonstrated the making of desserts cooked in a cast iron pan with lots of 2-inch holes where they first poured some kind of galapong or rice flour batter. They let this cook for about 15 minutes then topped with sweet coconut cream - cooked again for about 5 minutes. Then finally topped alternately with sliced green onions and sweet corn. Delicious!

They also had lots of Thai veggies and fruits on display which are familiar to us Pinoys, too. Since it was closing time they were selling these off. The only thing that prevented me from buying them all is the steep London style price. It was like £2 for 1 piece of atis (apple custard)! So we just contented ourselves with 1 atis, 1 slice of pumpkin, and 1 banana heart. We cooled ourselves from the heat of the haggling with fresh buko (young coconut) - you sip the coconut water then spoon the meat from the shell. Nice ...

Despite having limited time there, we did enjoy getting a food adventure that day. In the words of the Terminator - I'll be back!

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