Walk into any Thai restaurant and you’ll find the same list of som tam, green curry and pad Thai. But the menu at the new Westin Doha’s Thai restaurant, Sabai Thai, is familiar and unfamiliar in equal measure. Especially when it comes to appetisers like the steamed dumplings, Chor Muang.
The flower-shaped parcels are stuffed with fragrant crab meat that has been fried with garlic, pepper and coriander root.
The name of the royal Thai appetiser translates to “violet bunch of flowers”, the colour of which comes from butterfly pea flower extract.
Chor Muang isn’t easy to find. Tricky to make, and even trickier to store as they don’t hold their shape for long, they won’t turn up in your usual basket of dim sum.
What many restaurants would have you believe is authentic “royal” Thai cuisine is not so, but everything about the Chor Muang dumplings exemplifies it, as the food of Thai royals was all about beautiful presentation and a balance of flavours – nothing should be too spicy, mild, sweet or salty, and Sabai Thai acheives this with flair.
When it comes to dessert, the sticky rice with mango follows suit. Sabai Thai’s version is topped with salted and sweet coconut milk and sprinkled with roasted mung bean to give it some crunch, while butterfly pea flower extract gives the rice the same, almost luminous, violet colour.
Again, the balance of flavours is exquisite. It’s food fit for a king.
QR55. Open daily 7pm-11pm. Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Salwa Road, Freej Bin Mahmoud (4492 1555).