Nestled in the bustling ICONSIAM, Lay Lao adopts a modern take on Thai cuisine.
Upon learning that RSVP Lifestyle Asia will travel to Bangkok, one of the things about the trip that excited me was tasting the wonderful cuisine of Thailand. Apart from its history rich in culture and remarkable art, the country is best known for its thriving food scene. From street food culture to their lavish gourmet, their meals are all about the artful balance of textures and tastes. It ranges from spicy and salty to sweet and sour profiles as Thai cuisine takes on different forms across provincial borders. Divided into four regions of North, Northeastern, Central, and South, each boasts of a distinct taste, appealing to both casual and adventurous food enthusiasts.
For the RSVP event, we partnered with ICONSIAM’s Lay Lao restaurant to serve only the top-of-the-line gourmet to our distinguished guests. Winner of the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Bangkok for three consecutive years (2018 to 2020) in its Ari branch, Lay Lao is nothing short of a world-class restaurant. It serves a wide variety of Isan or Northeastern Thailand classics and the freshest bounty of seafood. It makes sense, as Lay Lao began from the dishes of a small family in Hua-Hin, a well-known beach district in Thailand. Putting together the best ingredients from local fishermen neighbors and close friends, the family developed the spread of Lay Lao, a mix of Northeastern region flavors and Phetchaburi province’s taste. Bringing together the defining characteristics of these places, Lay Lao creates an unforgettable Thai culinary journey.
Traditional green papaya salad
The RSVP lunch started with a medley of strong flavors. Thin papaya slices drenched in a sauce mixing sweet, sour, and salty flavors with a subtle spicy kick. The crunch of the unripe papaya is muted by the soft texture of the tomatoes and shrimp. The salad is simply refreshing, a great first act for the robust flavors of the following courses.
Charcoal-grilled pork shoulder
Lovers of meat and anything spicy will definitely fall in love with this pork shoulder. Cooked until it reached the utmost level of tenderness, each pork strip is brimming with juices it almost melts in the mouth. When dipped in the savory sauce pounded from herbs and spices, the tasting experience is utterly delightful that I almost found myself asking for seconds.
Stirred fried rice noodle with fresh prawn and water mimosa
Noodle dishes are one of the staples in Thai cuisine. Lay Lao whips up their own creation that nearly resembles the Filipino Pancit Bihon. The exception comes with the toppings–only fresh shrimp and leafy greens come in this stirred fried noodles. Though served dry, there is enough broth to keep the moisture and flavor locked in.
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Grass jelly with brown sugar
To end the lunch, a brown sugar syrup complements the subtle bitter taste of the grass jelly. Its slight viscous consistency envelopes the jellies. For each bite, the refreshingly sweet taste oozes. It seemingly soothes the taste buds from the pungent profiles of the entire menu.
Butterfly pea juice with honey and lime
The caffeine-free herbal tea appears to be a result of magic because of its rich sapphire blue color. Yet this drink simply comes from the extract of a Southeast Asian blue flower called Butterfly pea. With a squeeze of citrus fruit like lime, the color changes into a beautiful magenta hue. Yet its thirst-quenching, subtle sour taste remains.
Made from the taste of local Hua-Hin cuisine, Lay Lao’s spread is truly unique and remarkable. Whether it is trying out one of their signature dishes like Muk Kai Lay Lao (deep-fried squid drizzled with Lay Lao’s special sauce), or tasting Thai staples like the Mango Sticky Rice, each carries only the freshest ingredients. A Thai culinary journey is simply not complete without indulging in Lay Lao’s scrumptious courses. After all, their intention is to have “the best we eat at our home, the best we serve you.”
Photos by Floyd Jhocson of Studio 100.