More often than not, when you think of a Thai Select restaurant, the image often connotes an establishment of high caliber in Thai flavor authenticity as awarded by the Thai Embassy in the country. The honoree though is often thought of as a fine-dining scene with jazzed-up interiors themed either as royal Siam splendor or modern Thailand. One honoree however exemplifies Bangkok street food realness from the place’s casual ambience down to its bold-flavored offerings. One can say you’ll feel like you’re really dining along the streets of Yaowarat or Charoenkrung. Siam Thai BBQ really is a Thai Select restaurant like no other.
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Siam Thai BBQ is located inside Pioneer Center’s shopping complex. On the outside, it looks like any other bar in the metro—while the first floor is unapologetically cramped from all the stock boxes, the second floor is where the action is. The restaurant is packaged as a sports bar so the place is understandably dark and rugged in interiors—an assortment of international beers neatly framed the main bar while communal wooden benches fill the restaurant. Lunch service is usually reserved for hungry salarymen from businesses around Kapitolyo. Come nighttime, the place is packed with sports enthusiasts looking to watch their scheduled games, barkadas who are going for a late night out, and Thai food enthusiasts who have gone here for years and have kept this hidden gem for themselves. Since being awarded the Thai Select seal, Siam Thai BBQ rep as a watering hole has taken a back seat and is gaining more popularity as a solid restaurant serving flavors Thais would consider authentic.
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Classics Done Right
While their menu carries classic Thai dishes, they take pride in doing them right. For example, the Fried Catfish with Mango Salad (PhP 335) is disclaimed to be cooked for at least 20 minutes to get the catfish its crisp texture and beehive shape. Once you get a taste of it though, you’ll realize it’s worth the wait. Same goes for the bar chows like the Crispy Chicken Skin (PhP 245), Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters (PhP 245), and Prawn Pancake (PhP 295). Let’s just say that in between the sports commentaries and the beer banters, the Thai pulutan choices are also worth talking about.
The mains are also out to impress. The Pork BBQ (PhP 395), Beef Red Curry (PhP 395), Deep Fried Battered Prawns (PhP 290), and Siam Fried Chicken (PhP 575) all stand out on their own. Your choice to try which ones you’d prefer to eat on your visit, but it would be a shame if you miss out on any. Of course, you can’t forget to have the Pad Thai (PhP 365) or Bagoong Fried Rice (PhP 245)—each outstanding and unforgettable even without a viand to pair them with.
One thing that you shouldn’t ever miss when you dine in is the Thai BBQ Mookata (PhP 645). Siam Thai is said to be the only restaurant known to carry this special dish made through a unique cooking method. Think of it as a cross between a Korean samgyup and a Chinese hot pot. The mookata is cooked live so either an attendant or the customer can cook the ingredients. First, pork fat is cooked on the top dome to keep the meat from sticking and to add more flavor. Then chicken broth is poured around the base. Next, ingredients like meat and prawns are loaded on top of the dome to grill while vegetables and noodles are cooked in the broth. The idea is the drippings from the meat would mix into the broth creating a uniquely-flavored soup. The meat in turn can be dipped in Thai sweet chili sauce or mirin-based Japanese sauce.
End your meals with traditional Thai desserts like the Thako (PhP 150), which is kind of like a creamy coconut pudding, or with the Mango Sticky Rice (PhP 190) with the starch made with flavored twists like black rice, blue pea, and pandan.
Siam Thai may not be as chic or urbane in looks compared to other Thai Select co-honorees. However, when it comes down to the dining experience, it is the closest thing you’ll ever feel to Bangkok street food realness without flying to Thailand. Now that’s authenticity at its best.
Siam Thai (Thai Mookata BBQ) . Pioneer Center, Pioneer Street corner United and Brixton Streets, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For inquiries, contact (0961) 408-5351. Follow their Facebook page and Instagram.