Mango Tree unveils new dishes for 2014

By Joko Magalong

Posted at Jan 24 2014 12:24 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2014 07:17 PM

Mixed satay. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA -- Mango Tree at the Bonifacio Global City recently unveiled new innovative dishes that will be added to the Thai restaurant’s menu this year.

The launch dinner included a cooking demonstration by the company’s CEO Pitaya Phonphansophon, who entertained the guests by preparing the Thai staple som tam or Thai papaya salad, finishing it off by adding a final familiar ingredient to Filipinos -- salted eggs.

You can watch a video of the cooking demo here:

He also demonstrated how to make the sauce of the Pla Nuy Suan, or "fried fish walking through a garden," named because all the ingredients are typically found in a Thai garden. The fish was tender and flaky, while the sauce tasted of tamarind and fresh Thai herbs.

An array of appetizers started the dinner, including mixed satay of beef, chicken and pork served on a grill heated with lava rocks, with its accompanying rich peanut sauce and a sweet and sour sauce.

Yum Taya ceviche. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

It was followed by Yum Taya ceviche, a delicate but spicy ceviche of shrimp and squid that had the hint of lime.

The Nam Tok Ped (duck salad) and Khor Moo Yang Nam Tok (pork salad) shared the same Thai dressing and both surprisingly reminded me of sisig. The duck salad was sweet and the crispy bits of skin reminded me of the texture of crispy sisig.

Khor Moo Yang Nam Tok. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

The pork salad, which used pork neck, had big tender slices of pork, complete with its fatty bits reminiscent of the original sisig in Pampanga (the one without the sizzling plate).

Both salads had a Thai dressing that had the right amount of heat, sourness and sweetness, which highlighted the meats in the two dishes.

Mango Tree’s spin on the ever-popular Thai mango salad, Yum Poo Nin, featured soft-shell crabs as the perfect counterpoint to the sour mangoes.

Tom Yum Rock Lobster. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

The soups were next. Tom Sab See Krong , which had a pleasing Thai pork sinigang vibe to me, had super tender pork falling off the bone in a lightly spicy sour broth, while Tom Yum lovers can try the Tom Yum Rock Lobster, a luxurious twist to the Thai favorite.

For the main entrees, we were treated to two new seafood dishes. Poo Nim Phad Grapow had tender soft-shell crabs in Mango Tree’s signature spicy basil sauce, while the Pla Muek Phong Karee was a sweet dish of squid with yellow curry powder, finished interestingly enough with egg.

Panang Kee. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

Carnivores will love the Panang Kee, a “caveman”-sized lamb shank in Panang sauce. The lamb was so tender, and that with the Panang sauce, which is a “milder” but still creamy Thai curry, was perfect with a bowl (or two) of rice.

The table's favorite was the Mussaman Nua. In 2011, Mussaman Nua was ranked first in a CNN survey on the world’s most delicious foods.

Mussaman Nua. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

Mango Tree’s version does not disappoint, using beef shortribs, the dish came unassumingly to our table and was devoured with servings of rice or with the accompanying potato. The beef was tender and the sauce was spicy and sweet, a wonderful rich creamy marriage of flavors. A must-try.

The dinner was completed with smooth desserts -- Thai Tea Crème Brulee and Mango Panna Cotta.

Thai Tea Crème Brulee and Mango Panna Cotta. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

“This is my passion,” Trevor Mackenzie, Mango Tree Worldwide’s managing director, said in a short speech.

With its local partner, led by businessman Eric Teng, Mango Tree is set to double its branded restaurants in the Philippines this year.