Thai BBQ in BGC is the real deal | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Tom yum
Tom yum


At a dinner hosted by a good friend, Chito Recto, at Flavors and Spices Thai restaurant in Makati City many years ago, I remember its Green Mango Salad. It was love at first bite—sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors swirling in my palate.

Then came the Phad Thai, Larb (meat salad), Chicken Pandan and Crispy Catfish Salad among others.

And then my mom put up her own Thai restaurant, Mai Thai at Edsa Central in Mandaluyong City. She had three Thai chefs who helped develop my taste for Thai cuisine.

In the Philippines, many Thai restaurants have come and gone because they lost their authentic taste. Even I couldn’t sustain my fast food chain version of Mai Thai without the Thai cooks.

The use of local patis, toyo and suka couldn’t substitute for real Thai ingredients. And my frequent trips to Bangkok set my standards and expectations higher than usual.

Today, a once popular Thai restaurant in a Makati hotel is no longer that great.

As for Chinese restaurants, a good sweet-and-sour pork or chicken feet means most of its menu will also be delicious.

For Thai cuisine, the standard dish is Phad Thai—stir-fried rice noodles with sweet tamarind sauce, spring onions, banana blossoms, hibi and bean sprouts.

My standards for Phad Thai went sky-high after visiting Thip Samai restaurant in Bangkok.

The fuss

A few months back, I was invited to eat in Thai BBQ Original in BGC. This franchise is so popular and always full in Los Angeles, the owner decided to bring it to Manila. But I wondered what the fuss was all about, because something seemed amiss in the food.

But last week, I was back, and my gosh, it was a different experience. As it turned out, Thai BBQ had six Thai chefs flown in from their homeland.

We started with Tom Yum Goong—the Thai version of sinigang but with prawns, which were fresh and huge, in a spicy, mildly sweet and sour broth made with lemon grass, chili paste and oil. Wow, ang sarap!

Pak Boong (water spinach) is simple, stir-fried kangkong topped with lechon kawali was good, as well as the fragrant Chicken Curry, which was creamy, a bit sweet, spicy and perfect with steaming white rice.

Then came the Massaman Beef Curry, tender beef cut with all the melting gelatin in a red curry sauce. Yum!

The star and namesake of the restaurant, Thai BBQ, has fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

The Gai Yang, or Thai-style BBQ Chicken, had a similar taste to the pork. We had a sate combination of beef, pork and chicken barbecue—delightful with peanut sauce and cucumber on the side.

For dessert it was Bualoy or glutinous rice flavored with pandan, squash and taro in coconut milk—the Thai version of guinataan.

Then came the sticky rice with mango. The rice had a salty gata on top, that blended with the mango’s sweetness.

We also had a refreshing Thai Halo-halo. The one I have been going crazy over is the Tab Tim Grob, singkamas coated in red gelatin in a sweet, smoked coconut milk.

Now, finally, there’s a new go-to place for my Thai food cravings.

Happy eating!
Call 8460000.