Smile, you’re in Thailand

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Smile, you’re in Thailand

Dubai’s Sukhothai restaurant is celebrating the Thai New Year with an unforgettable menu and atmosphere

By Mohamad Kadry (

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Published: Wed 16 Apr 2014, 2:43 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:29 PM

Today marks the final day of the Thai New Year, and there’s no better way to indulge in the festivities than at Sukhothai restaurant in Le Méridien Dubai Hotel.

The venue has completely transformed its décor and menu to take guests on a culinary journey of sights, sounds and tastes of Thailand with its Songkran Festival celebrations. From umbrella painting by villagers visiting from Chiang Mai to traditional dance performances, it’s easy to get lost in the magical atmosphere that’s been created here.

For Thai natives, the New Year is a time filled with customs that often revolve around water - symbolically meant to cleanse and purify - and guests here will almost certainly feel the streets of Bangkok come to life right at their tables.

While there are plenty of great restaurants in Dubai that offer incredible Thai cuisine, what sets Sukhothai’s special offering apart is a menu that shouts its authenticity loudly and with confidence.

For starters, there is the Yam Phol La Mai Ruam, a mixed fruit salad with grated coconut, fried onion and garlic topped off with a delightful lime dressing. This combination of crispy and sweet makes the salad a confusing yet memorable delicacy of textures and scents - almost as if it were put together by a highly talented street vendor.

Then come the plethora of main courses, dishes dominated by seasonings and pastes like fresh coriander, chilli powders, tumeric and lemongrass.

The Seafood Satay, a plate of shrimp served with peanut sauce and cucumber dipping, goes off well alongside Sakoo Sai Gai dumplings which can only be described as little balls of jelly filled with seasoned minced chicken. These contradicting textures and flavours might intimidate newbies to Thai cuisine but really do manage to highlight the eccentricities that are often found in these daring kitchens.

For most lovers of Pan-Asian cuisine, soup is often a necessity and Sukhothai doesn’t hold back with its Tom Yam Goong Nang, a strong-scented concoction of prawns, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and mushroom lime juice. The soup’s ability to dominate the tastebuds suggests that it might be best served as a last course.

For those with a preference for lighter, more subtle flavours, the Pla Nuence Manao, or steamed codfish, is a safe bet. Using minimal dressing of coriander, celery and chilli, the codfish is traditionally simple.

The highlight of the menu are two dishes that are prepared with flare and sophistication. First there’s the Poo Phad Phong Garee, a wok-fried king crab whose shell is filled with a deliciously addictive creamy curry sauce. Second there’s the Ped Phad Prik Thai Dum which features roasted duck in black pepper sauce and capsicum, ginger, carrots, black mushrooms and onions. The duck meat, soft and smothered in sauce, shouldn’t be missed.

The star desert course of Mochi & Ma Muang, which is Thai mango served with ice cream mochi, features imported Thai fruit perfumed in freshness and zest that makes for the pefect palette cleanser.

Sukhothai restauarant’s New Year’s celebration is meant to transport you to ‘The Land of Smiles’, and with a menu that successfully delivers the best in authentic Thai food, it does just that without breaking a sweat.

Today is the last day of Sukhothai’s Thai New Year celebrations with opening hours from 12.30pm to 2.45pm and 7pm to 11.45pm. For reservations call 04 217 0000.

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