By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend
THE NEW mixed-use complex 101 The Third Place in Bangkok run by Magnolia Quality Development Corporation is offering a wide choice of dining options, many of them brand-new or known brands launching their first outlets in the city.
Among the latter is Ginger Farm Kitchen – the first branch of the Chiang Mai eatery that grows its own organic rice and vegetables in addition to offering local cuisine in outlets both at the farm and on trendy Nimmanhemin Road.
Chiang Mai’s Ginger Farm Kitchen opens its first Bangkok outlet serving Northern-style cuisine cooked with ingredients fresh from its own farm.
Located on the third floor of the project, Ginger Farm Kitchen’s Bangkok branch is decked out in a similar rustic style to that of its Chiang Mai sibling. The interior is inviting with plenty of wood that replicates a classic Thai-style house with old wooden windows, beams and hanging flowerpots. Thai traditional fishing tools are used as ceiling lamps. It can accommodate about 100 diners at any one sitting.
“Our dining concept is ‘From Farm to Table’ and no MSG is ever added to our dishes. Many ingredients are organically planted at our own farm in Chiang Mai’s Saraphi district and the rest are sourced from our network of sustainable food suppliers,” says restaurant manager Jaran Keankham.
The dishes are identical to Ginger Farm’s Chiang Mai outlets although the prices are slightly higher. The portraits of the food suppliers who help stock the kitchen also feature in the menu. The dinnerware is retro-style with white ceramic plates and bowls and enamel trays with floral patterns.
“Our farm covers more than 20 rai and we grow organic vegetables and rice. We also have free-range chickens. The farm serves as a learning centre where visitors can learn how to plant and harvest rice, collect eggs from free range chickens, cultivate vegetables and even ride a buffalo,” he adds.
Stir-fried chiang da leaves with egg
Those who like their comfort food will enjoy stir-fried chiang da - a local plant grown largely in the North - with egg (Bt135), which bursts with flavour thanks to the crispy freshness of the vegetable.
“This is a traditional dish cooked almost in every home in the North because chiang da grows easily along a fence. It has a slightly bitter taste but when stir-fried with egg. the two flavours complement each other,” says chef Tanakit Tasak.
Dry stir-fried hed tob mushroom with minced pork, shrimp paste and young tamarind leaves
Northern-grown fungi hed tob (puffball mushrooms) are dry stir-fried with minced pork, shrimp paste, young tamarind leaves, dried chilli, garlic and ginger. Only young mushrooms are chosen and they are sliced in half to make them easy to eat. A plateful goes for Bt220.
Grilled organic aubergine salad with prawn
Also fresh from the farm is organic aubergine, which is first grilled, then the skin peeled away before cooking it for a spicy salad with prawn and minced pork. The dish is topped with quail eggs, pounded dried shrimp and edible butterfly pea flowers. It costs Bt225.
Pound young jackfruit salad with crispy pork belly
Another recommended dish is Northern-style young jackfruit salad served with crispy fried pork belly (Bt225).
“We cook the flesh of jackfruit, which mustn’t be too mature or too young, in a Northern-style curry made from ma kwaen seed powder (Northern spice), dried chilli, garlic, lemon grass and shrimp paste.
“The Northern people eat spicy jackfruit salad with pork crackling, but we’ve opted for crispy fried pork belly instead,” the chef continues.
Deep-fried pork marinated with the Northern spice ma kwaen
The distinctive flavour of ma kwaen powder is also used to marinate pork before deep frying (Bt185). It is served with Isaan-style jaew dipping sauce and fresh seasonal vegetables.
“The Northern-style dip normally has a slightly salty taste, but we’ve adapted it with a tangy flavour similar to jaew to please the Bangkok palate,” he adds.
Spicy brown rice noodle salad with fried mackerel
One flavourful dish not to miss, particularly if you love the taste of pla ra (fermented fish), is spicy brown rice noodles salad with fried mackerel (Bt175). It’s well seasoned with boiled pla ra sauce, chopped long bean, red onion and dried chilli and complemented with fresh salad leaves.
Northern-style grilled crab paste
Northern-style pu-ong or crab paste has an aromatic flavour and creamy texture (Bt135). The fat from paddy-field crabs found on the farm is mixed with egg and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. The fat is then put into the crab shell and grilled over low heat until the crab fat is dry and aromatic. It’s served with fresh seasonal vegetables.
Organic pak waan leaves soup with fried fish
For something more liquid, sample the Northern-style organic pak waan leaves with boneless salid fish, glass noodles and tomato (Bt225).
Sweet potato with passion fruit and mango sorbet
End the meal with a refreshing dessert of sweet potato in coconut milk topped with passion fruit and mango sorbet (Bt155).
Ginger Farm Kitchen also offers a wide choice of cold press juices and tea (Bt120 each). Among the choices are Juicy Guava – a mixture of guava, cucumber, apple and ginger, and Forest Harmony – a concoction of butterfly pea tea, pineapple juice, honey, lime juice, celery juice, spinach and basil.
Ginger Farm Kitchen’s Bangkok outlet is on the third floor of 101 The Third Place, next to Sukhumvit Soi 101.
It’s open daily from 10am to 11pm.
Call (02) 010 5235 or go to “Ginger Farm Kitchen” on Facebook.