It’s always a treat to be in Davao. Each visit brings new experiences to savor.
The Dusit Thani Residence Davao is home to the judges of the 5th Davao Culinary Cup. The newly inaugurated hotel is beautiful—the rooms clean, spacious and comfortable.
Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by executive chef Jean Marc Vernon.
The Frenchman eagerly introduced Thai chef Suthin Songmuang. Together, the gentlemen showcased the food of the Dusit’s soon-to-open signature Benjarong Thai Restaurant.
Songmuang hails from Udon Thani, northeast Thailand. He started cooking at age 16 in his mother’s kitchen, his style influenced by his mom’s use of fresh herbs.
Three months ago, Songmuang started working at Dusit Thani Davao and has been acquainting himself with the local produce and with farmers for Benjarong’s requirements.
Rooted in tradition
While Thai cuisine is rooted in tradition, Songmuang plates it in modern fashion. He will surely bring life to Davao’s culinary landscape.
The food he prepared for us was very good. The dishes had a home-cooked yet refined quality.
The tom kha gai (Thai coconut soup) was deliciously perfumed. It was a pleasant prelude of what was to come.
Benjarong takes pride in its house-made curry and spice pastes, the secret to the exceptional green chicken curry. It’s one of the most sublime dishes I’ve had—lightly sweet, with subtle hints of citrus, spice and creaminess—all in one spoonful.
Songmuang’s gift is his ability to balance the flavors and tastes—with not one element overpowering another.
The Thai beef salad, spring rolls and khao pad gai (fried rice)—were seasoned to perfection and satisfying overall.
Worth mentioning were the cocktails. While some blends were uniquely their own, the others were interpretations of classics.
The My Thai is my favorite, made with bird’s eye chili, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and spiced rum—shaken with pineapple juice, almond syrup and coconut milk.
Good to know that there’s yet another fine place to dine and call home when in Davao.
Here’s Dusit Thani’s signature khao pad gai (Thai fried rice with chicken) recipe:
Khao Pad Gai
225 g cooked jasmine rice
60 g sliced onions
7 g finely chopped garlic
30 g chopped string onions
80 g tomatoes
80 g slices of chicken meat
2.5 g salt
2.5 ml soy sauce
1 g white sugar
1 ml fish sauce
1 pc egg
0.5 g white pepper powder
Heat the oil high until hot. Add the onions. Stir well. Keep flipping the chicken until it’s white on all sides.
Add the rice and stir well. Add the tomatoes and mix.
Push the rice to the side of the pan and add a bit of oil. Crack an egg on the oil and mix in the pan. Let it set. When firm, flip the rice on top and mix well.
Season with soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Turn off the heat.
Add spring onions and white pepper powder and mix well. Arrange on plate and garnish with coriander, a piece of lime and cucumber slices.
Serve with a small bowl of fish sauce with sliced chilies.