Written in partnership with Chang Beer
Do you enjoy Thai food, art and music or want to learn more about a new culture? Ape to Gentleman will be investing some time in helping you learn more about Thailand and what it has to offer through Chang (Beer) Sensory Trails.
It’s back for a second year running, and kicks off its 2017 global campaign here in London, before travelling onto San Francisco and Singapore. This free to enter event aims to ‘deliver the unexpected’ by introducing the world to a modern, refreshing take on Thai food, art and music.
Chang Sensory Trails is curated by Chef Bo and Chef Dylan, from the renowned Bo.Lan restaurant, where the duo will share a unique culinary journey inspired by their fondest memories- details of which are shown below.
We were also fortunate enough to speak in person with Thai Chef, Duangporn Songivsava (Bo) and Australian Chef Dylan Jones (Lan) about Bo.lan- their restaurant, at which they serve up authentic Thai cuisine in award winning fashion. This is due to having become one of the most respected restaurants in Bangkok, with Duangporn Songvisava (Bo) being voted Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2013. We were interested to learn more about Thai cuisine from two of Bangkok’s leading lights, and to find out why we should all be eating more Thai food!
What is the food scene like in Bangkok? A mix of world cuisines or a focus on the best Thai food?
The Bangkok food scene is really bustling at the moment, there is a huge movement here for supporting local farmers and Artisans, but each restaurant has very different approaches. Some like us, some doing very abstract modern cuisines, others using it for varied international cuisines. The restaurant scene here is so eclectic, I mean you have an Indian chef cooking a progressive cuisine with a menu entirely made up of emoji’s that’s been ranked number 1 in Asia 3 years running. You have a local Thai pushing the boundaries of what is considered Thai foods. You’ve got a roman chef taking over the Bangkok Pizza scene (he basically invented porchetta). For me the best thing about the Bangkok food scene is that it’s matured into a very warm and welcoming circle of passionate cooks who strive to use the best products and are conscious of the environmental issues surrounding our food systems.
How would you define authentic Thai cuisine?
How would you define authentic? It’s such a contentious issue and certainly one I’m not qualified to answer. If you look up the word Authentic it basically says “of undisputed origin” Well if you apply that to any cuisine then there is no such thing as an Authentic cuisine, I mean since the time we started to cultivate communities we’ve been sharing and trading ingredients, slowly evolving and fusing our culinary histories. Thai Cuisine is no different. It would be easier for me to tell you what Thai cuisine isn’t than what it is.
But to not really answer your question I would describe Thai food as an intensely flavoured and well balanced cuisine that take you on a journey and can often challenge you in ways you didn’t know. For me it’s the best cuisine there is!
What is your favourite Thai dish, and how do you cook it?
This is a tough question, there are so many and Thai food is a communal food, where you share a meal and eat several different dishes that balance and play against each other to create a harmonious meal, but if you push me then I’d say any chilli relish as it’s the dish that eaten in some form in every corner of Thailand. One of my personal favourites would be a chilli relish of young green Thai peppercorns, served with mixed local seasonal fruits and vegetables, accompanied by an “cha om” omelette and sweet pork.
Chinese food is extremely popular in the UK, can you see more people favouring Thai food in the future, and why?
Sure, the more people travel the more eclectic their tastes become. Thai food is a wonderful complex cuisine that is varied and exotic really whats not to like about it.
What does the future hold for Bo.Lan and yourselves?
Hopefully some sleep!!! We’ve recently just launched another concept in BK called Err, and we’d really like to see that take off. We are working on a cook book for Err and have planted the seeds for a Bo.lan cookbook but that will probably take 5 years to write as we’ve got a lot to say!! We’d also really like to continue to evolve and refine the Bo.lan experience and see how far we can take it. We have a 10 year Dream of moving Bo.lan onto it’s own farm and growing as much as possible for ourselves, to be truly self sustainable.
Chang Sensory Trails, London- 29 April, 2017 at Old Spitalfields Market from 12pm until 10pm.