Pakistan’s gastronomy is so rich in itself that it is hard to peek into other national cuisines and develop a taste. Fast foods as well as Chinese food fall into the category of “acquired taste” and not every average Pakistani is prone to these food diets. Roti, Daal and Chawal is one what we all crave for soon after landing home from a trip abroad.

As our taste buds are prone to high level of spices, Thai cuisine too has managed to manoeuvre some space within the Pakistani food lovers and the admirers graph is on the ascending order. The credit for this increasing clientele goes to the Thai spices which make the Pakistani pallets friendly enough to savour the Thai flavours.

A spectacular Thai food Bonanza night was hosted by the Ambassador of Thailand Pornpop Uampidhaya and General Manager Marriott Hotel Islamabad Maurizo Romani to spice up the taste buds of the crème de la crème of Islamabad.

Thai cuisine has very strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. It demands a convolution combination of texture, colour, taste and presentation which makes the job of a chef much more difficult. “Thai food rejects simplicity” a very apt response to Thai cuisine by one of the guests at Nadia Coffee shop.

The chef at Marriott hotel lived up to the expectation of the Thai food lovers as an array of Thai multi colour dishes were put on display. “Traditional Thai cuisine usually falls into four categories and the food we prepare revolve around these basic four concepts,” informed a Thai diplomat while sipping Tom Yum Goong soup.

Thanks to Executive Chef Lee, a better understanding prevailed while savouring the flavours of the dishes as now I knew that Tom means boiled dishes, Yam spicy salads Tam pounded food and Gaeng means curries.

The starting point for this food fiesta was the flamboyantly garnished and highly aromatic bowl of spicy and slippery glass noodles salad sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Glass noodle salad is a staple dish in any Thai home with an amalgamation of refreshing crunchy vegetables.

Many Thai believe that is also good for the weight watchers not because they are healthy but because the glass noodles absorb a lot of water so one needs only a little bit of noodles to fill the bowl.

It was love at first spicy-tangy –sweet forkful. The starter encapsulated much of what Thai cuisine is all about.

The fresh flavour of squeezed lime, balance between crunchy and chewy, the pungency of the fish sauce and just enough heat to set your tongue tingling, it was divine.

Another point that the spicy glass noodle salad secured was for its elegant simplicity.

The seasoned noodles were the loadstar at the salad bar.

The other dish making a statement at the Thai food festival was the red duck curry with pineapple.

Although Pakistanis are not too fond of experimenting meat with fruit but this infusion is a must try. The bright sweetness of the pineapple and tomatoes, combined with the abundant fresh herbs and spicy curry paste, lightens the richness of the duck making it flavoursome.

“The duck is pre roasted so the curry perfumes the broth with the fragrance of pepper and other Thai seasoning,” added the chef while explain how the bird is cooked. The interplay with richness of the duck and intensity of pineapple was the perfect canvas giving the dish an undercurrent of sweetness.

The love story of and the marriage between the duck and pineapple did not end here, the chef Lee took his culinary experience to another height while introducing mango sticky rice to the food lovers. It was quite a risk for the chef to dare the taste buds with sticky rice which are used to eating the finest quality of rice cultivated in their very own home country.

It is cooked in a small pot with some fresh mango slices and mixed with coconut sauce.

However you will only fall in love with this Thai dessert if you either Love sticky rice or Thai mango. The three day Thai extravaganza will end on the 8th of December.

–The writer is a freelance contributor