By Kupluthai Pungkanon
The Nation Weekend
ONE OF THE most popular choices among Asian families looking to eat out is the Hong Kong-style hot pot restaurant. Enthusiasts will wax lyrical over the mouth-watering anticipation as dish after dish of fresh chilli and spices and such raw healthy ingredients as chicken, vegetables and noodles are brought to the table and fried in front of them.
One place that’s likely to quickly become a firm favourite is Hong Kong’s famous chicken hot pot spot, Ah Nam, which recently opened its first Thai branch at J Avenue on Soi Thonglor 15.
Hot Pot Pork Set
The restaurant’s signature, “Ah Nam Chicken Pot” offers the poultry cooked to a different format, one it refers to as “frying before boiling”.
Prairpun Tumwattana, marketing director, Food Project (Thailand), explains.
“First we pan-fry the chicken to our original hot pot recipe with spicy Sichuan sauce, adding egg noodles and condiments like fresh coriander, spring onions and garlic to enhance the flavour. Once these have been eaten and only the nutritious broth remains, step two is to boil the clear soup and select other ingredients from the set to add flavour. We highly recommend dipping fried curd bean in the soup for just four to five seconds. It tastes delicious.”
Hot pot has long been a big part of Chinese dining culture, Ah Nam, Hong Kong’s top pan-fried chicken brand, was established in 2012 at the junction of Prince Edward Road and Fa Yuen Street. The restaurant is famous for its signature shared dining experience and its pan-fried chicken in Sichuan sauce.
Prairpun says she travels to Hong Kong several times a year and always finds time to stop at Ah Nam restaurant. “I was impressed by its delicious flavour and distinctive style. I like the idea of both pan-fried noodle and adding the soup, which turns it into a special hot pot. To please the Thai palate, we serve rice to mix inside the pot, so it becomes like boiled rice. It tastes really good,” she laughs.
“For those who like their food spicy, we provide extra sauce on the side so that they can use it as a dip for the meat and vegetables.”
We try the Ah Nam Chicken Pot and are immediately impressed by the aromatic scent of Chinese spices, a fragrant blend of Sichuan pepper, cardamon, star anise, cinnamon, and a secret ingredient – peanut butter.
The heavily flavoured pot of stir-fried chicken topped with a healthy handful of coriander is placed on top of a gas stove to keep warm. And while the skin makes it thick and slightly oily, this is quickly remedied by adding egg noodles to the chicken pan.
Sets featuring rib eye beef (Bt289) or pork (Bt279) can be ordered to dip in the soup while seafood fans should definitely opt for the “Ah Nam Seafood Pot” (Bt389), which features prawns, squids, and clams in a secret Sichuan sauce.
If you like more of a chewy texture, follow Prairpun’s recommendation and add fried bean curd to the pot. It cooks in just a few seconds and tastes really great.
Additional menu items include preserved egg spicy salad, cucumber salad in Sichuan sauce made to an original Hong Kong recipe, and crispy fried beef with mustard dip. The side dishes are priced between Bt95 and Bt115.
And if you still have room left for dessert, don’t miss the Salted Egg Hong Kong Waffle, served with special original milk tea from Hong Kong.
FRY AND BOIL
>> Ah Nam is on the second floor of J Avenue Thonglor.
>> It’s open daily from 11am to 10pm
>> Make a reservation at (091) 461 4962