Destination Thailand 2016 Media Preview

Destination Thailand 2016 Media Preview

Destination Thailand 2016 Media Preview located at the Thai Trade Centre at 31 Gloucester St in Toronto

I had the pleasure to be invited to a tasty media preview of the upcoming Destination Thailand cultural food festival that will take place in Toronto on September 10, 2016 at the Yonge & Dundas Square in Toronto!  Thanks to Rey of EatnMingle events who organized and hosted the event, several members of the food blogger community and I were able to experience and taste the restaurants that are selected to represent the Thai food community at the Destination Thailand festival before anyone else.  

I was really excited for this event!  The media preview took place at the Thai Trade Centre at 31 Gloucester Street in Toronto.  There were seven restaurants who were part of the Thai Select restaurants that would also be at the upcoming Destination Thailand festival.

To be considered a “Thai Select” restaurant, the Thai restaurant has to fulfill a number of criteria.  One of the criteria is:

“Thai Select or Thai Select Premium certification identifies Thai restaurants that offer at least 60 percent authentic Thai foods on their menus. They also imply that these restaurants employthe same or similar cooking methods as in Thailand, and may import ingredients from Thailand. The certifications,however, neither rates foods nor endorses any quality standard of the restaurant. They merely indicate authenticity of the Thai foods prepared.” (Taken from their website and you can view the rest of the criteria there too)

I learned something new!  I wasn’t aware that there were Thai Select restaurants in Toronto.  This is definitely something to keep an eye on as I attend Thai restaurants in the future as I do want to aim for the ones that are mostly authentic Thai.

 Destination Thailand 2016 Media Event

Destination Thailand 2016 Media Event

Thai Trade Centre

Media preview hosted at the Thai Trade Centre

The event was set to begin at 5 p.m. on a Thursday evening.  As I approached the Thai Trade Centre building, I noticed that the event was to be conducted partly outdoors and indoors!  There were some restaurants set up with their booths outside in the yard while the presentation and mingling was going to be conducted indoors.

After we signed in, got our name tags, and mingled a bit, we then gathered together inside the building (which was actually a really nice house).  Rey welcomed us warmly to the event and thanked us for coming.  Then Daovipa Leekumjohn (also known as Oy), the Minister Counsellor, excitedly greeted us as well and gave us a brief introduction and presentation about Destination Thailand, its phone apps, details about the festival, restaurants that will be there, and so much more.  Oy was extremely passionate about Thai food and it was evident in her presentation.  They also informed us that this was the first time that they opened up the Thai Trade Centre to the public just for us food bloggers so that we could enjoy the food on their premises.  What an honour! 🙂

Destination Thailand 2016 media preview

The living room of the building/house was set up with Thai ingredients and decor

Destination Thailand 2016 media preview

Thai Select banner

Destination Thailand 2016 media preview

Rey and Oy speaking

We got to see the fun “passport” that participants will receive at the Destination Thailand festival where they get to collect stamps from each vendor they visit.  When they collect all the stamps, they can get a free T-shirt and apply to be part of a draw!

Destination Thailand 2016 passport

Thai Select Passport that will be handed out at the event for you to collect stamps from each food vendor!

Destination Thailand 2016 passport

Destination Thailand 2016 sample passport

Thai Select Ambassador

The Thai Select Ambassador

Thai Select Ambassador

Nuit Regular as the Thai Select Ambassador!

After the presentation, it was time to eat and mingle! 😛  We were free to roam around and taste food from each vendor in the order of our choice.  Some of us went to the back of the house first while some of us started our Thai food journey at the front of the restaurant.

 UFC Refresh coconut water

It was a really hot and humid day in Toronto so this coconut water really helped to refresh us as we started the event!

Out of all the restaurants that were present, I had only tried Pai Northern Kitchen before. 🙂  What an adventure it was that day to try so many dishes from new Thai restaurants that I never been to in the past!

I tried the Toasted Cashew Chicken from Bangkok Garden first.  Their dish was presented in a little take-out box that I found extremely cute!  Bangkok Garden is located on Elm Street (near Elmwood Spa) and is in operation since 1982!  They are probably the oldest Thai restaurant in Toronto, if not the oldest!

Bangkok Garden logo

“Keep Calm and Curry On” from Bangkok Garden

 Rice, Toasted Cashew Chicken, Vegetarian Emerald Curry

Rice, Toasted Cashew Chicken, Vegetarian Emerald Curry from Bangkok Garden

 Take-out box from Bangkok Garden

The cutest take-out box!

Toasted Cashew Chicken

Toasted Cashew Chicken

Pai Northern Kitchen

The amazing spread from Pai Northern Kitchen

Pai Northern Kitchen was serving their Gai Ping chicken skewers.  I actually had their chicken skewers before when I dined at their restaurant!  (Blogged here.)  Their staff were grilling the chicken skewers right on open charcoal and it smelled delicious!  They expertly set up a platter of these chicken skewers, sticky rice (that was wrapped with banana leaves), and Moo Namh Tok (pork jowl) for us.

Pai Northern Kitchen chicken skewers

Live Gai Ping skewer grilling outside!

Pai Northern Kitchen chicken skewers

Gai Ping

 Sticky rice wrapped in leaves

Sticky rice wrapped in leaves

Moo Namh Tok

Moo Namh Tok
-Thai style grilled pork jowl in sour/spicy sauce

Moo Namh Tok

Moo Namh Tok freshly prepared as well!

The Gai Ping chicken skewers were grilled chicken thigh with tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, and roasted rice dipping sauce.  The Moo Namh Tok were Thai style grilled pork jowl in sour/spicy sauce.

Gai Ping, Moo Namh Tok, Sticky Rice

Gai Ping, Moo Namh Tok, and Sticky Rice served by Pai Toronto

Gai Ping

Gai Ping
-grilled chicken thigh with tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, roasted rice dipping sauce

I had really enjoyed their chicken skewers before when I dined at their restaurant but these ones that they served here at the preview were even more amazing!  These were seriously the best dishes of the night.  The chicken thigh meat was incredibly tender, moist, and so delicious!  Everyone raved about them that night.  The pork jowls were also very good, perfectly thin and chewy, and the sour and spicy sauce made it very tasty too.  I ate these with the sticky rice since the spice was quite strong at times.  Absolutely delicious, Pai! 🙂

I enjoyed a nice cold beer from Singha Beer during the meal.  I liked how the beer tasted light!

Singha Beer

Singha Beer

Singha Beer booth

Singha Beer booth

postcards from Singha Beer

We were given these nice postcards from Singha Beer too!

Linda Modern Thai was set up inside the kitchen area of the house.  They served us beef salad and a lemon chicken dish (didn’t get the exact names of the dishes yet..).  The presentation of these were so nice!

Beef salad

Beef salad

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

Linda Modern Thai

Linda Modern Thai

Golden Thai served us their new Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay as well as the Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice.

Golden Thai

Golden Thai

Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice

Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice

Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay

Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay — breaded and non-breaded

I was incredibly impressed with the Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay!  It was a skewer alternating between fresh peppers and breaded tempeh (they had a non-breaded version too) with satay peanut sauce drizzled on top of it.  Wow, the breaded tempeh was delicious!  The first time I had tempeh was in the comfort of my own home when I made it using a Fresh City Farms recipe.  The way this tempeh was served was so moist and delicious.  Yum!

Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay

Golden Thai Tempeh & Tofu Satay with peanut sauce drizzled on top

The Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice was also quite good and the curry wasn’t too spicy either.

Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice

Massaman Lamb Curry with Rice

Golden Thai Restaurant details

Golden Thai Restaurant details

Soi Thai served us the Khao Kha Moo, pork hocks stewed in soy-based broth, spiced with star anise, cinnamon, cilantro root, garlic and white peppercorns, served over jasmine rice, with sides of blanced gai lan, pickled mustard greens, hard-boiled egg, and chili-vinegar sauce.

Pork hocks and hard-boiled eggs

Pork hocks and hard-boiled eggs for the Khao Kha Moo dish

Veggies for the Khao Kha Moo dish

Veggies for the Khao Kha Moo dish

I really liked the chili-vinegar sauce that was quite spicy but went well with the pork hock and price.  The hard-boiled egg was also really good since it was drenched with the soy-based broth.  It was so good!

Khao Kha Moo

Khao Kha Moo
-pork hocks stewed in soy-based broth, spiced with star anise, cinnamon, cilantro root, garlic and white peppercorns, served over jasmine rice, with sides of blanced gai lan, pickled mustard greens, hard-boiled egg, chili-vinegar sauce

Before enjoying the Thai desserts, I went back to Bangkok Garden and tried their Vegetarian Emerald Curry.  This was also packaged nicely in a little take-out box.  I was really surprised with how smooth their vegetarian curry was.  I liked the tofu in the box too and how it soaked up all of the curry.  This was really good!

Vegetarian Emerald Curry

Vegetarian Emerald Curry

Last but not least, the final Thai Select food vendor was Patchmon’s Thai Desserts & More.  They were the only company in Toronto to offer authentic Thai desserts!  They said that all of their ingredients were imported straight from Thailand.  Indeed, many of the desserts they served us that night were not to be seen in Toronto before.  They had a beautiful set-up for us as well.

Patchmon's Thai Desserts & More

Desserts galore from Patchmon’s Thai Desserts & More

Patchmon's Thai Desserts & More info

Patchmon’s Thai Desserts & More info

Patchmon's Thai Desserts & More info

Patchmon’s Thai Desserts & More info

Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream , Thai Flower-Shaped Cookies, Pineapple Cookies, Thai Spicy Pork Cookies

Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream , Thai Flower-Shaped Cookies, Pineapple Cookies, Thai Spicy Pork Cookies

We got to try a little bit of each dessert that they had which was genius.  We tried the Pineapple Cookies, Flower-Shaped Cookies, Thai Spicy Pork Cookies, Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream, Rice Cracker Cake, Thai Taro Custard, Steamed Pandanus Cake, Thai Coconut Layers Cake, Steamed Tapioca/Cassava Cake, and Steamed Flower with Coconut Filling.  Wow!  This was absolutely incredible to try so many of their creations!

 

Thai Coconut Layers Cake & Cassava Cake

Thai Coconut Layers Cake & Cassava Cake (cassava and shredded young coconut, steamed together)

Thai Coconut Layers Cake

Thai Coconut Layers Cake
-combination of coconut cream, naturally extracted pandan juice, tapioca flour

“…the dessert’s layers that are steamed one layer at a time and can be pulled out for fun!  It is also used for auspicious occasions for this reason because the dessert’s make-up symbolizes good luck as one moves up the layers (like ladders) towards prosperity.” (Taken from their website.)

Steamed Pandanus Cake & Thai Taro Custard

Steamed Pandanus Cake & Thai Taro Custard

I really liked the Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream since the coconut cream on top was a little salty and definitely different from most sweet desserts.  The Thai Coconut Layers Cake was unique because you could peel back each layer of the cake.  The owner explained that the cake signified a person’s development in life since we all have different layers.  I also really liked the Thai Spicy Pork Cookies (so interesting to have pork in a cookie) and Steamed Pandanus Cake (similar to the Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream since the top was also a little salty due to the coconut cream).  It was all so delectable!

assortment of Thai desserts from Patchmon's

Thai Flower-Shaped Cookies Pineapple Cookies, Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream , Steamed Flour with Coconut Filling, Thai Spicy Pork Cookies, Thai Coconut Layers Cake, and more

Steamed Pandanus Cake

Steamed Pandanus Cake
-two distinct layers: a white layer of coconut cream on top and a flavourful green layer of pandanus and palm sugar mixture at the bottom

Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream

Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Cream
-two-layers dessert contains a layer of coconut cream on top and a layer of tapioca pearls mixed with sweet corns and young coconut meat. Wrapped with pandanus leaves

Steamed Flour with Coconut Filling

Steamed Flour with Coconut Filling
-relatively sweet filling made out of coconut and palm sugar and the filling is covered with steamed flour mixed with coconut cream

 Destination Thailand media preview finale

Destination Thailand media preview finale

Alas, that was the end of our amazing and thorough tasting of the Destination Thailand festival that will be happening on September 10, 2016 in Toronto.  We had a final hurrah in the living room where we received a notice of thanks and appreciation from Rey and Oy, as well as a recognition of all of the participating restaurants and their owners and chefs.  We were also gifted with a very generous goodie bag of ingredients and recipes in which we could create our own Thai dishes!  They gave us rice, rice noodles, fish sauce, palm sugar, green curry paste, and more!  We each got a “Life is Short.  Eat Thai Food.” T-shirt too.  It was an amazing gesture from Thai Select and I am sure I speak for everyone when I express how grateful I was to be a part of this amazing media preview event.

restaurant owners and chefs at the Destination Thailand media preview

All of the restaurant owners and chefs at the Destination Thailand media preview wrap-up

media preview goodie bag

Destination Thailand media preview goodie bag

media preview goodie bag goods

All the goodies!! Thank you so much, Thai Select! ❤

Thai Select cookbooks

Thai recipes from these Thai Select cookbooks!

Thai Select

What Thai Select is

Thank you, Rey, for hosting an incredible media preview tasting event, Oy, the rest of the Thai Select staff, and to the seven restaurants who allowed us to taste their food ahead of the Destination Thailand event.  Thank you so much for a night of feasting in Thailand without getting on a plane! 🙂

 Destination Thailand media tasting 2016

Amazing summer evening of feasting in Thailand!

FTC Disclaimer: Although EatnMingle reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting to showcase the food and vendors at Destination Thailand, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the organizations.

Advertisements

One comment on “Destination Thailand 2016 Media Preview

  1. Pingback: Canada’s 3rd Annual Coconut Festival & Marketplace 2016 | stenoodie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s