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FEATURED RESTAURANT Xing Fu Restaurants have a way of starting out in one direction, but slowly changing course over the years in response to customer demand. Xing Fu on the 8th floor of the Bangkok Hotel Lotus on Sukhumvit Soi 33 is a case in point. Make no mistake about it, this is a Chinese restaurant serving well-prepared Cantonese
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dishes, a smattering of Sichuan items and a popular dim sum lunch. Many of the restaurant’s customers, however, are Thais of Indian descent who enjoy Chinese food with an exciting dash of Indian overtones. This style of cuisine is represented in several dishes at Xing Fu that were first introduced by a Chinese chef from Singapore 10 years ago that have slowly evolved over the years. The fact that it has a strong loyal following with visitors from Bombay is an endorsement for its uniquely delicious cuisine. When we arrived in the restaurant we were given a very hot towel and served Chinese tea. The first dish prepared for us to taste was Chicken Chow Mein with Sichuan Sauce. This preparation combined chow mien (fried noodles) with Sichuan spicing. Sichuan CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 >>
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FEATURED RESTAURANT Xing fu
c o o k i n g i s note d f or i ts bol d f l avours , particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan pepper. Peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger are also prominent ingredients in this dish. When everything is combined, the result is a heavily spiced dish that is appreciated by Xing Fu’s spice loving Indian-Thai customers. Manchurian Chicken, consisting of chicken with vegetables in a spicy sauce is said to have been invented in 1975 by Nelson Wang, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Calcutta. He started with the basic ingredients for an Indian dish, namely chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilis, but next, instead of adding garam masala, he put in soy sauce, followed by chicken and a cornstarch thickener. This a very tasty spicy dish which could equally be made with prawns, fish, mutton or cubes of paneer (mild Indian cheese).
Xing Fu 8th Floor, Hotel Lotus Bangkok 1 Soi Daengudom, Sukhumvit Soi 31, Bangkok 10110 Tel 0-2620-0111 www.facebook.com/pages/Xing-fu-Novotel-Lotus/138793709524847
Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm Dinner 6-10.30pm
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Price per person without drinks THB 500 FBP partner since
Our third dish was a paneer hot pot, a dish that is somewhere between a casserole and a curry made with the awesome combination of paneer and peas cooked together in a chili and Sichuan sauce. It’s not only vegetarian but also Jain as no root vegetables are used. The taste is comforting yet spicy enough to cause a tingling sensation on the tongue. A fascinating dish you wouldn’t expect in either Chinese or Indian cuisine is the British chip or the French fries if you are using American English. Since Indian-Chinese is a quickly evolving cuisine, it’s not restricted by rules of conformity or expectation. If it works and appeals to the Indian palette, then do it. The cut of the potato is medium, midway between the chip and the French fry, partly deep fried in oil and then wok fried in chili and garlic. It is not only a popular
grazing appetiser with Indian groups, it is extremely delicious!. The interior of Xing Fu appears very much as you would expect of a hotel based Chinese restaurant. The decor is traditional Chinese red and gold and there are a few tables for couples, but the majority are circular affairs for larger groups with Lazy Susan’s on top. In addition to the the main dining room, there are six private rooms of varying sizes. For the more traditional dinner their Dim Sum Buffet is daily available for both lun c h an d din n er. Item s inc lud e suc h delicacies as steamed fish in spicy lemon sauce; steamed shrimp balls with broccoli; steamed pork spare ribs with black bean sauce; roasted duck and barbecue pork; pan fried kao choy with prawns; steamed shu mai and; steamed prawn dumplings. Noodles Xi Fu style are delicious and there is a comforting warmth in the hot and sour soup with crabmeat. Remember to leave space for pudding their mango pudding is not to be missed.
FEATURED RESTAURANT Xing fu
For something more substantial there is the a la carte menu starting with a mouthwatering selection of hors dâ€™oeuvres. Then try roasted duck Hong Kong style, barbecued pork with honey sauce, barbecued suckling pig and the not to be missed iconic roasted Beijing duck. No Chinese meal would be complete with one of their scintillating tasting soups. They have some of the freshest abalone and shellfish braised and sautĂŠed in different sauces. Fresh from the tank live sand Goby, black garoupa and delicious snow fish sold by the 100 gms. There is stunning selection of hot pot dishes. For the vegetarian an interesting selection of bean curd and vegetable dishes. Another not to be missed are their prawns, steamed live
in garlic, panfried with hot garlic and chilli sauce, sizzling with black pepper sauce or stir fried in red chilli sauce. There are the must have rice and noodle dishes and traditional Chinese desserts to round off the meal. Although Xing Fu serves delicious mainstream Chinese food, it is also one of the few, and possibly the only restaurant in Bangkok that serves the little known, but amazingly tasty Chinese Indian cuisine with flavours that excite and provoke the palate.
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personality of the month Domenico Locantore
Sole Mio on Thonglor Soi 21 is the new kid on the block. Another in the city’s burgeoning supply of Italian restaurants, it is proving to be a rousing success. Food by Phone chats with proprietor Domenico Locantore to discover what is involved in his particular recipe of success.
Sole Mio R
“For generations my family in Italy,” Domenico tells us, “were involved in the restaurant business. I came to Bangkok as a consultant and seven years ago and when I moved into a massive 5,000 apartment complex, there was no western food available in the area. I saw the business opportunity and decided to open a pizzeria.”
“I met Chef Armando who had previously worked in Limoncello in Sukhumvit Soi 11, and we decided to go into business together. After three years I sold that business and moved to Silom Soi 4 to open Vicolo 4, a pizzeria and restaurant; the name is Italian for small street – appropriate for our location. Shortly after we opened, the political disruption that closed Rajdamri and Silom Roads blocked us from our customers which killed the business. Chef Armando left the country and went to work in China. “Then I decided to go into a business that was not location specific, just in case history reared it ugly head again. I set up a production kitchen away from the downtown area to supply focaccia to bars and restaurants. Once it was up and running, the business didn’t need me to be there. “Once a restaurateur, always a restaurateur, somehow it gets inthe blood. I missed the customer interaction and researching new recipes. When I heard Claudio the owner of Bella Napoli was selling his restaurant in Thonglor Soi 21, I decided it was time to open a hobby restaurant again. Luckily I was able to persuade and Chef Armando to come back to Thailand to work with me on the project. “Why another Italian you may ask? Agreed, there are many – possibly too many – Italian restaurants here already. What makes the difference between the few that are successful and the rest is customized service, having an Italian chef and being prepared to talk with customers to discover what they want and what makes them happy. “Italian cuisine is produce driven. A bad tomato kills Capresse salad (sliced tomato and Mozzarella). November to December I can find good tomatoes in Chiang Mai, but in the summer I buy from Italy. For this dish I only use imported Mozzarella, the local variety is not exceptional. It is okay for pizza, but not for Capresse. “The secret to good Italian food is keeping it simple and using quality ingredients. They don’t have to be expensive. Its a matter of having a good relationship with your supplier to get the best at a reasonable price. But supply must be consistent. In Bangkok I can now find exceptional Andouille sausage and Burrata cheese, better than I could find in Turin.
Food by phone At Ploenchit Fair 2012 The Ploenchit Fair has grown to be one of the biggest and much loved events in Bangkokâ€™s social calendar. It was first held in the grounds of The British Embassy in 1956 to support a range of diverse charity projects in all regions of Thailand. Now, it is one of the largest charity fair events held in Asia. Every year approximately 2000 volunteers assemble to help put on the Ploenchit Fair. Over 250 Corporate Sponsors are involved.
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