For weeks now, passersby have been pressing their faces into the windows at Baan Siam, leaving little smudges on the glass while trying to get a peek inside the new thai restaurant in Mt. Vernon triangle. If they could have gone inside, they would have been able to smell the aromas chef Jeeraporn Poksupthong releases into the air when she reduces curry sauces for eight to lớn 10 hours in a 3-foot wok she stirs with an oar.
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Over the course of five years at her last restaurant, now-closed Logan Circle gem Baan Thai, Poksupthong did as much as any local chef to lớn introduce the District to lớn the exceedingly spicy and rich flavors of Northern bầu cooking. At Baan Siam, which started selling non-contact pickup orders at 425 Eye Street NW this week, a much bigger kitchen & more heavy duty equipment has given her the tools to lớn show off regional specialties that represent four distinct areas of Thailand. The 50-year-old chef gets lớn show off the full range of skill she’s acquired while attending culinary school in Rayong, Thailand, và running khách sạn and large-scale catering operations before moving khổng lồ the United States.
Poksupthong’s 87-year-old mother, who could be seen assisting in the kitchen at Baan Thai, is still helping her daughter with chất lượng control.
“I have been cooking since I was was 14 years
“It’s tradition that when a girl becomes a teenager, she begins to learn how to lớn cook with her mother and grandmother. I followed that tradition và made it into my life’s work. My work is my heritage và my culture.”
Baan Siam opened two months later than planned so the owners could figure out how khổng lồ adapt lớn the COVID-19 era. To start, the restaurant will accept online carryout orders only. With those limitations in place, Poksupthong is relying more on Baan bầu favorites than she expected.
Her khao soi, a yellow curry with crunchy egg noodles and chicken thighs, has enjoyed its own following since 2015. She says ground tsaoko, also known as Chinese đen cardamom, is one key khổng lồ the dish. She’s still serving spicy green mango salad; tapioca skin dumplings with ground chicken, peanuts, và sweet fermented radish; rice vermicelli in chile peanut sauce; and kanom krak, a dessert pancake made out of coconut milk and rice flour.
At Baan Thai, Poksupthong says she didn’t even have room for a wok. At Baan Siam, a high-powered burner và a wood-burning oven inherited from the previous tenant, Alba Osteria, will allow her khổng lồ experiment. When the restaurant is able to accept customers at tables again, they’ll be able khổng lồ read a page-long introduction explaining the differences between cooking styles in four different regions. Mountainous Northern thailand incorporates nahm phrik ohng dipping sauces và influences from Laos và Burma. Northeastern cooking, or Esaan, is represented by spicy salads, lots of herbs, & fermented fish. Central xứ sở của những nụ cười thân thiện thái lan is a wetter region full of more sweet và sour flavors. Southern đất nước thái lan boasts some of the country’s hottest curries.
“The curries are always my favorite,” Poksupthong says. “They are the oldest recipes. The recipes come from a time before vương quốc của nụ cười really interacted with China, India, & Malaysia, before their food started to lớn blend with ours.”
Down the road, the chef plans to cook suckling pigs & whole fish in the wood-burning oven, but right now they don’t translate to lớn carryout. She is, however, selling $12 portions of concentrated, red or green curry paste that customers can use lớn cook at home.
Tom Healy, a co-owner who came over from Baan Thai, is in charge of the bar. Like Poksupthong, he’s had khổng lồ make adjustments, ignoring the trăng tròn draft beer lines in the new restaurant space for now. Healy says sour beers & juicy IPAs pair well with curries for customers who want khổng lồ ratchet up spicy flavors, so those are available in bottles and cans. Two frozen cocktails came over from Baan Thai: a lychee và lime concoction livened up with vodka, & a trắng Lotus drink that uses a soju and sake base.
Healy lost some of his inventory this week during a break-in. He suspects the culprits were “professionals” that used police brutality protests for cover, because they went straight for the most expensive Champagne, whiskey, & computer tablets, leaving the rest of the restaurant undisturbed. He says the restaurant might close Saturday so employees can join what’s expected lớn be a massive demonstration downtown.
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