Chennai's Chap Chay has a Thai Food Festival curated by an expat chef who's all about the Joy
Chap Chay’s Thai Food Festival leaves us spoilt for choice, thanks to their visiting expat chef from Thailand — the vivacious Siriporn Krasae-at (Chef Joy) who has carefully curated a set menu, an a la carte menu and the restaurant’s signature stir-fry menu. Not easy for any chef to do, but a piece of cake for Joy, who brings with her over a decade of experience in the profession, coupled with cooking tips from her grandmother’s kitchen. Ahead of the festival, we sit down with the Lopburi-born chef for a chat about traditional Thai cuisine and her love for baking choco lava cake, as we sample some of her delicious fare.
Get sticky with it
Joy tells us she hasn’t come empty-handed. “I have brought a few special ingredients like a Malaysian spice mix and sticky rice from Thailand to elevate the flavour profile of the festival. But we have also used local ingredients in tandem,” she says, pointing out how for the Mango Sticky Rice dessert, the rice used is sticky rice from Thailand, paired with locally grown mangoes.
We choose from the a la carte menu – fairly simple to understand, thanks to familiar dishes like Som Tam and Pad Thai. The aromatic Chicken Tom Yum soup is first, a sour and spicy concoction flavoured with galangal and lemon leaf. The Som Tam follows, bringing with it the familiar crunch and flavours of papaya, raw mango and green beans tossed in chilli lemon and peanut dressing.
Corn & crunch
From the starters, we settle for the Goong Pun Ta Krai, a delectable minced prawn wrap on a lemongrass stick, which adds to the flavour. But it is the Toad Man Khao Pod, the crispy corn cakes, best had with the accompanying sweet chilli dip that has our attention, with its crunchy exterior and mildly sweet-and-spicy filling of mashed corn. Eager to try the Mango Sticky Rice, we stick to keeping the main course light, and opt for the Gaeng Kari Kai Yang, perfectly grilled chicken in an aromatic yellow curry, and Phad Phak Boong Fai Daeng, yellow beans tossed in morning glory and garlic, which sadly fails to impress us as much as the rest of the meal.
It’s time for dessert, and the piece de resistance, the Mango Sticky Rice is served – sweet sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and served with cut mangoes – making it a light, wholesome dessert. Promising to come back for Chef Joy’s signature choco lava cake, we bid adieu.
On till July 15 at Chap Chay, Raintree St. Mary's Road
Meal for two Rs 1,800.