The restaurant at Doi Kham's Bangkok headquarters offers an interesting take on traditional dishes
ONE OF the agricultural projects initiated by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej to help long-suffering farmers earn a decent living, Doi Kham Food Products has since morphed into a successful business that’s best known for its ready-to-drink juices and processed fruits.
Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Spread, and Cream Cheese Sandwich with Strawberry Spread
Its flagship store, located on the first floor of the company building next to BTS Rajtheve station, is home to a restaurant, cafe and store. It is a great place to enjoy a snack or a full meal, sip a coffee and shop for Doi Kham’s famous products.
The 80-square-metre cafe and restaurant has plenty of windows to let the natural light stream in. The interior design is clean and simple, the dark green counter with a marble top adding a pop of colour to the light grey floor tiles and white walls.
Close to the entrance, the shopping area is filled with packets of brown rice, ready-to-drink juices and dehydrated fruits while the dining area is on the right and boasts an open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs preparing their lunch.
Many of Doi Kham’s own products are used in the cooking. For example, the brand’s tomato juice concentrate is reduced for spaghetti sauce while the strawberry and rose-petal spreads are used for sandwiches. Its ready-to-drink fruit juices and concentrates are whipped into refreshing sorbets and ice creams.
The kitchen is under the supervision of Anucha Pattanasiriruk who honed his culinary skills at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School and then spent three years in the kitchens of Red Sky restaurant at Centara Grand at CentralWorld. Trained in French cuisine, Anucha sometimes uses French cooking techniques to give his dishes an authentic Thai taste.
“I stick to the original flavours but use sous-vide cooking and poaching to get the best results,” he explains.
Khao Na Gai
The best-selling dish is Khao Na Gai (Rice with Chicken and Gravy, Bt120). The chicken breast slices are first marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce and Chinese rice wine for four hours then cooked sous-vide. The chicken skin is boiled then roasted until crisp. A soft poached egg replaces the usual boiled egg and is also lightly batter fried to give it a crispy texture. The Chinese sausage comes from an old shop in Chinatown and the gravy is made from chicken stock, Chinese rice wine, mushroom and tapioca flour and served separately.
Khao Tang Na Tang
Thai appetiser Khao Tang Na Tang (Crispy Rice Crackers with Minced Pork Dip, Bt65) is not served with rice crackers and a separate dip as tradition demands but comes in a glass jar with a dip at the bottom made from minced pork, coconut cream, shrimp fat in oil, coriander root, pepper corn and garlic that’s seasoned with salt and palm sugar. The top layer boasts ground crispy rice crackers mixed in with edible charcoal.
Anucha’s Miang Poo (Bt200) too veers from the familiar with the small dried shrimps, roasted coconut, chopped ginger and shallot for wrapping with cha plu leaves replaced with crab paddle-leg, chopped onion and spring onion, chopped ginger and lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Presented in a bowl, it also features lotus petals, ground crispy rice crackers in charcoal as well as roasted peanuts.
Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo
One dish not to be missed is Khao Nam Prik Makham (rice with spicy young tamarind paste, Bt120) served with crispy fillets of pla salid (snakeskin gourami), salted egg and fresh vegetables. Equally delicious is Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo (rice noodle with crabmeat curry, Bt150) – a Southern-style dish served with rice noodles, chunks of crab and fresh vegetables.
Doi Kham’s fruit bread spreads are used in the sandwiches. Among them are ham and cheese sandwich with tomato spread, and a cream cheese sandwich with strawberry spread (Bt65 each).
The star of Doi Kham products is tomato juice, made from 100-per-cent tomatoes. It is the fruit of the tomato plantation at the Third Royal Factory (Tao Ngoy) in Sakon Nakhon province and a part of the Tomato Belt project, launched in the Mool River plain in the north of Isaan. The project was initiated by His Majesty to generate a sustainable income for farmers in rural areas.
Strawberry, passion fruit, and milky ice creams
Today, Doi Kham has three factories in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Sakon Nakhon that press and blend tomatoes and other fruits such as passion fruit, strawberry, mulberry, apricot, peach and lychee into juices and jams. Honey is another popular product.
Its fresh juices and fruit concentrates are used to make refreshing drinks at the bistro. Rosalyn drink, for instance, is a concoction of tomato juice, mulberry juice and roselle concentrate, while Passion Mango blends mango, passion fruit and mulberry juices with lemongrass powder and honey (Bt60 a glass).
Do not leave without trying the refreshing desserts, among them strawberry sorbet, passion fruit ice cream and an iced mocktail made from tomato, strawberry and passion fruit.
TALES FROM THE FARM
>> Doi Kham is on Phya Thai Road, next to Rajthevee Station. Call (02) 656 6992 extension 145.
>> The cafe offers freshly brewed Doi Kham coffee, drinks and sweet treats and is open from 7.30am to 8pm on weekdays and 8am to 6pm on weekends.
>> The restaurant serves lunch from 11am to 8pm.