On the menu: Thai Lanna cuisine at Pacific Beach


As you walk through the calming entrance to Lanna Thai Cuisine, a long-standing feature of Pacific Beach’s ethnic dining scene, you are greeted by a rustic, iridescent sandstone engraving of a pair of jewelry-adorned Thai princesses bowing down in gratitude.

Jack Jaroenlapnoparat, owner of Lanna Thai, a restaurant named after the region of his homeland which translates to “millions of rice fields”, came from a culture steeped in hospitality, caring and a desire. to feed and feed the people. This credo is reflected in Thailand’s ubiquitous greeting, “Gin khao reu yung?,“which means” Have you ever eaten rice? “

Born and raised in Bangkok, Jaroenlapnoparat acquired his art and passion for Thai cuisine at the age of 7 when he became under chef for his busy mom, who ran a business by day and cooked at night for her large family.

His desire to operate and own a Thai restaurant solidified during his college years when he worked in the restaurant industry under various hats, from waiter and shipper to food preparer and cook, while also working in the restaurant industry under various hats. obtaining his MBA in finance. When jobs evaporated in his field, Jaroenlapnoparat decided to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit and opened the doors at 4501 Mission Bay Drive 16 years ago.

Many of her mother’s authentic creations have been carried over generations – and 8,300 miles across the Pacific – landing on her hearty menu as long as mung bean glass noodles, “or my name,” jokes. there, with some SoCal tweaks.

Some of the favorites for customers include a salad of grilled Angus steak with a hint of fish sauce, red peppers and lime juice, a seared salmon fillet on a bed of baby spinach and topped with a salsa of sassy Thai mango, and a crispy duck breast on top of a mind-boggling blend of sliced ​​tropical fruits.

Miam Neur – steak salad

(Kassamat Thampiruk)

Staple foods like shrimp and vegetable rolls wrapped in rice paper with a fresh peanut dip, Tom kha (coconut milk, lemongrass and chicken broth), Pad Thai and Pad Kee-Mao (drunken noodles) delight traditional palates, while more intrepid taste buds venture into the lavish “Ocean” and “Daily Specials” real estate sections of the menu.

Tom Kha Soup

Tom Kha Soup

(Kassamat Thampiruk)

These highlight exotic dishes like a lightly breaded whole Branzini sea bass with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, a braised lamb shank smothered in a mild Massaman curry with hints of cardamom and cinnamon, and “Island Treasures “mixing shrimp, squid, mussels, and scallops mixed with a creamy Thai basil curry sauce, all stuffed in a young coconut. And as the temperatures cool down, the menu offers more hearty dishes to warm the heart of the heart, such as seafood stews and family fondues.

Summer salmon

Summer salmon

(Kassamat Thampiruk)

Lanna Thai also personalizes the “heat” on a scale of 1 to 10, the former for welcoming faint-hearted diners and the latter for intrepid capsaicinophiles, while the curry is served in Technicolors of red, green and yellow. Vegetarians and vegans can find plenty of offerings for noodles, fried rice, and wok stir-fries with eggplant and other fresh delicacies, faux duck, and tofu complements. All washed down with a refreshing sip of fresh young coconut juice.

For a sweet finish, try the coconut sticky rice topped with crispy mung beans and fresh mango slices, or a fried banana with homemade coconut or Thai tea ice cream.

Sticky rice with coconut and mango

Sticky rice with coconut and mango

(Kassamat Thampiruk)

A seven-person culinary team led by Executive Chef Douangden Yotbounme, along with friendly service staff, keep the restaurant buzzing. While Lanna Thai attracts seasonal tourists, most patrons are local, multigenerational, and many might even have to start paying rent as they frequent the restaurant three to five times a week. The humble restaurateur attributes the loyalty of the clientele to “the consistency in the quality and taste of the dishes year after year”.

Lettuce wrap

Lettuce wrap

(Kasamet Thampiruk)

Passionate about health, Jaroenlapnoparat shares this philosophy with his customers by serving the freshest and highest quality local ingredients, especially a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and roots. These not only amplify texture and flavor, but provide a rich storehouse of antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, including ginger, galangal (a cousin of ginger), lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fresh mint, peppers, garlic and turmeric, which are especially welcome in this flu, cold and COVID climate.

Lanna Thai is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and offers deliveries and take out. Lunch specials are available Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It opens for dinner at 4:30 p.m. Weekends are open from midday.

Besides, “Have you ever eaten rice? “

For more information, visit https://lannathaicuisine.com/

Here is Jaroenlapnoparat’s recipe for Thai Grilled Steak Salad (Yum Nuer).

For 2 people

1 pound skirt steak or flat iron steak

2 tablespoons of fine soy sauce with mushrooms

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

½ teaspoon ground coriander

6 tablespoons of lime juice

3 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of sugar

3 to 5 fresh Thai peppers, thinly sliced ​​crosswise, or ½ to 1 tsp. ground roasted Thai chili peppers

7 sprigs of fresh mint, stems removed

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

5 sprigs of cilantro, stems removed

2 tablespoons of toasted rice powder

1 heart of romaine lettuce

1 Roma tomato, sliced ​​crosswise

1/3 cucumber, sliced ​​crosswise

Toasted rice powder (if not available in the market) –

1 cup of sticky rice

5 kaffir lime leaves, chopped

1 lemongrass stalk, cut leaves, chopped

1/3 small galangal, chopped (optional)

Roast the raw sticky rice in a hot skillet, cast iron skillet, or wok over low to medium heat for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir constantly so that it does not burn. Add the lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal and mix well, stirring for 5 minutes. Grind in a mortar and pestle, or in a clean electric coffee grinder until pulverized. This will make about a cup of toasted rice powder and can be used in other Thai salads. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

For the salad

Marinate the steak in soy sauce, oil and cilantro for 20 minutes. Broil or broil until done. Cut the fat and let cool. Slice thinly about 2 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the peppers, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Adjust to taste. Add the sliced ​​meat and mix with the onion, mint leaves, cilantro and roasted rice powder. Arrange a bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Place steak mixture on top and garnish with cilantro, sliced ​​cucumbers and sliced ​​tomatoes.

For 2 to 3 people as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to a meal.


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