This post is sponsored by Chang Beer to showcase the Chang Sensory Tails. All opinions are mine etc. 

In my recent years of intense food travels, Thailand was on of my favourite and most surprising countries to travel to. Bangkok remains one of my favourite world cities. Hot and intense, yes, but also chilled and laid back. The food is sublime, and I love it. The culture, the sense of joy, the dancing, the puppet shows (there are surprisingly many) and the colour everywhere.

I wandered as I love to do and I would duck into shrines when the streets got too hot. I could smell the walls of durian for sale at 1000 yards. We travelled lots by boat, I had no idea there were so many canals. I promised myself that it would not be long until my return. I am still working on that promise, but I will get there. Until then we have many excellent Thai restaurants in London. Contemporary and old school, Thai food has always been popular but it is now thriving in London.

Chang beer have noticed this and have developed Chang Sensory Trails. A multi-sensorial Thai experience centered around Thai food, art and music, all paired with Chang beer. It is a global event, with events in Singapore and Los Angeles as well as London. The Chang Sensory Trails return to London (on Saturday 12th May at the Last Days of Shoreditch) but will also go on tour across the UK with events in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Chang Sensory Trails Dish Preview at LAO Café

As part of the Chang Sensory Trails, Chang has partnered with 8 Thai restaurants: Tawana, Bang Bang Soho, Patara, 101 Thai Kitchen, LAO Cafe, Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Thai Tho and Nipa Thai. The head chef from each restaurant has been challenged with creating a signature dish representing Thai home cooking.

I went to LAO Café in Covent Garden to sample their food that would be served at the Chang Sensory Trails. Specifically the Papaya Salad Thai-Lao style, aka Som Tam, a dish which they have several takes on. If you have not had Som Tam before, or at least a proper one, prepare yourself for a hot salad dish, hot in the chilli sense, of green papaya with pickled crab which will be served at the Chang Sensory Trails. It was lovely, and a perfect partner to the beer.

Chef Saiphin Moore of LAO Café is from Khao Kho in the Petchabun province where the food has a distinct Laos influence. Laos is a country that I have yet to visit and I was intrigued to try this food influenced by it. Chillies and flavour are plentiful here, there is lots of sour (which I love!) and it is a treat for people who want the real deal and want to explore something new.

I have a weakness for Thai fermented pork sausage, and I tried it here in Nham Khao with sticky rice. Laab is anothr essential dish, and the duck one here is gorgeous (I have never tried a duck laab before). The Tom Zaap Gadook Moo, a spicy sour pork rib soup was very special, tender chopped ribs with meat falling off the bone in a very refreshing broth.

 

Chang Sensory Trails promises to be a feast for all the senses and I look forward to trying the remaining dishes. Event goers will get to experience two fantastic up-and-coming bands also, the Soul Strutters and CDD Trio Band with musical performances throughout the day.

Chang Sensory Trails at Last Days of Shoreditch

#ChangSensoryTrails at Last Days of Shoreditch was an energetic affair. Lots of music and some of London’s most established Thai restaurants lining the sides serving their signature dishes, alongside bars serving Chang beer. In the middle an enormous slide which adults battled kids for a place on (I refrained, but I was tempted). I had a tasting with the chefs from the 8 partnered Thai restaurants: Tawana, Bang Bang Soho, Patara, 101 Thai Kitchen, LAO Cafe, Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Thai Tho and Nipa Thai along side Chang beer.

It was charming to hear each chefs story, and the concept of Lamiat, the Thai idea that it is the appreciation of the small things that produces perfection. All chefs were Thai but have been living in London a long time. Stories were diverse from the kitchen at Nipa Thai which has all female chefs (in London and Bangkok) to family run 101 Thai Kitchen (whose Krapow was one of my favourite dishes) who serve North East, Central and Southern Thai dish. The chef is from the North East, his aunt is from Southern Thailand and cooks the food of that region, and he explained that most Thai chefs learn central Thai cuisine. 

An all round fun and delicious day. The Chang Sensory Trails are on tour, for more information take a look at the Chang Sensory Trails website. 

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Niamh

Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.
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