Travel the Kingdom without leaving Bangkok
The concept of the Eathai food court at Central Embassy is simple but ambitious: present diners with the finest flavours representing every region of Thailand. That’s no small feat, considering that Thai cuisine is as diverse as the country’s landscapes and cultures. And yet this cosy venue, set in a quiet corner of Bangkok’s newest luxury shopping mall, has succeeded in doing just that – and then some.
Separated by region, Eathai’s offerings leads diners on a culinary tour of the country. The North is represented by Khun Mor’s Cuisine. From house-made Sai Aua to Khao Soy, all the favourites that are hard to find in Bangkok are here. Try the Northern Set Menu (B110), which features the exceedingly rare Gaeng Hang Lay. The pleasant fading aftertaste of cinnamon and ginger cut through the richness of the pork and deep-brown curry sauce. Topped off with sticky rice and a green chilli dipping sauce, this set meal provides an authentic taste of Chiang Mai.
Now move on to Isaan where Kai Yang Korat, a branch of the renowned chain from Nakhon Ratchasima, whips up a mountainous Som Tum Tad (B250). Disguised on the menu as “mixed papaya salad,” this massive metal tray hits the table brimming with accoutrements: boiled egg, rice noodles, mussels in the shell, cooked shrimp, and sour sausage, to name a few. Try it “priew wan” (sweet and sour) to balance the tang of fermented fish sauce.
As you munch through the never-ending pile of green papaya, take in the décor. Monolithic taupe mortars and pestles lend the Isaan section charm, the subtle features suggestive of a lazy lunch in a lakeside gazebo. Other regions likewise represent their home turf: raised circular benches in the North, food carts in the Street Food Market, southern clay pots at the door, and classic Thai motifs adorn the Central walls. Altogether the décor adds layers to the underlying theme.
Other best sellers include Bai Leang Pad Kai (B180), a green leaf from the South stir-fried with egg and topped with crispy dried shrimp; Khanom Jeen Nam Ya (B185), which hides a powerful kick behind a decadent yellow curry sauce and tender crab meat; a perfect Hoy Tod (B120) from a Bang Rak street food vendor; and various delicious drinks, like the Pineapple Slush (B99) that comes, appropriately enough, in a hollowed out pineapple.
Eathai at Central Embassy might be ambitious in scope, but its ambition is backed by a wealth of flawless flavours.
Eathai at Central Embassy
Central Embassy, 1031 Ploenchit Rd | 0 2119 7777 | centralembassy.com/eathai | 10am-10pm