Chai Jia Chai is the first Cantonese omakase restaurant in Thailand to offer elevated modern Chinese food. Chef Tsai Shih Wei, Chef-Owner of the restaurant, has had more than 2 decades of experience in many countries, including Australia, Poland, China (Shanghai and Nanjing), and Thailand. He made it his duty to elevate Chinese cuisine by combining Chinese and modern techniques. In fact, he has won IRON CHEF Thailand ONE-ON-ONE BATTLE Episode 19 for his innovative approach to cooking.
This first Cantonese omakase restaurant in Thailand is located on Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok. The restaurant's ambience is an epitome of calm, modernity and opulence, designed with black walls and white tablecloths that exude a calm feel. The geometric chandeliers hanging from the ceiling are a sight to behold, adding to the restaurant's luxurious and sophisticated charm. Black translucent partitions have been installed to create a distinct separation between diners, giving them privacy while they enjoy their meals. The restaurant's aesthetic is further elevated with jars of dried abalones that add a mystic touch.
The dinner is a thirteen-course menu created in celebration of the beginning of the year 2024 and Chinese New Year. The dinner starts with an introduction to the main ingredients of the highlight courses. Firstly, four Chinese herbs, namely lotus seed, Gorgon plant, adlay, and Chinese yam, are presented in a transparent safety cabinet that can only be opened and closed by a staff member using a remote. Alongside the box of herbs are fish maw and a jar of ginseng and dong gui in Chinese wine. These are the ingredients of Four Gods Soup. These four herbs are carefully placed in a transparent safety box that can only be opened and closed by a staff member using a remote.
Next, a huge chunk of tenderloin A5 wagyu is dry-aged for 30 days with mala. The dry-ageing process results in tender and juicy meat infused with the signature aroma of mala, a Sichuan peppercorn-based spice mix. This is the main ingredient for the tenth course.
Following the wagyu is a gigantic, succulent, fresh Alaskan king crab. This crab, known for its sweet, delicate flavour and tender meat, is featured in the fifth course.
After the presentation of the ingredients, the first course is served. New Year Lao Qi Shrimp Salad is a dish made with celery, white radish, onions and chilli tucked with a New Zealand scampi and topped with garlic oil. The dish is served on a tray with a red envelope on the side. On the envelope is a message that, when translated into English, means "The finer, the more prosperous.". Inside the envelope is a deep-fried lotus root that needs to be crushed into small pieces. The finer, the better.
After guests finish this course, the empty plate will be taken away while the tray remains on the table, ready for the second course, Beginning Trios. This course comprises three bites, each with its own unique flavour and texture. The first bite, Fujian Taro Duck, is a taro dumpling filled with succulent duck cooked in the traditional Fujian style. The second bite, Red Fermented Foie Gras, is a ball of rich, creamy foie gras delicately sprinkled with cured minced duck and crowned with a burst of refreshing pomelo. The final bite, Caviar Quail Egg, is a soy sauce-soaked boiled quail egg crowned with a generous serving of caviar.
The third course is Spring Roll, a delectable crispy golden spring roll dish filled with succulent crab meat and juicy seabass. The dish is accompanied by a dropper of authentic 20-year-old Italian balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavour profile. The crispy and crunchy texture of the spring rolls perfectly complements the soft and delicate seafood filling. The 20-year-old balsamic vinegar provides a sweet and tangy taste that perfectly balances the savoury flavours of the dish.
Next is Red Grouper, comprised of a thick and firm chunk of red grouper cooked to perfection, ensuring each bite is as flavourful and juicy as possible. The fish is served on a bed of Chinese asparagus julienned into delicate noodle-like strands. The asparagus and fish are cooked in a delicious blend of Guangdong-style chicken oil infused with umami and ginger flavours, enhancing the dish's overall taste and giving it a unique edge.
The following course is Alaskan King Crab. The dish is prepared with a blend of Taiwanese sesame oil, rice wine, ginger, and yamaimo, which enhances its unique flavour and texture. The Alaskan king crab is presented to the diners earlier.
The dinner continues with Palate Cleanser of roselle-infused peach gum and tomato juice-infused plum. The peach gum added a chewy texture, while the roselle's tartness and the peach's sweetness complemented each other perfectly. The tomato juice-infused plum adds tangy and slightly savoury notes.
The lotus seed, Gorgon plant, adlay, Chinese yam, fish maw and a jar of ginseng and dong gui in Chinese wine presented at the beginning are made into golden Four Gods Soup. The lotus seed and adlay add layers of nuttiness to the dish, while Chinese yam gives a touch of sweetness to the soup. The fish maw contributes a slightly chewy and umami taste, while the ginseng and dong gui enhance the soup with a subtle herbal aroma and mildly sweet aftertaste.
The soup is accompanied by a yellow waterlily bud, which will bloom when placed in the soup.
The eighth course is Abalone. The dish is made from Dalian-style dried abalone, known for its distinctive taste and texture. The abalone will be expertly braised in a rich and flavorful scallop, Yunnan ham and chicken stock for three nights, resulting in a dish that is both tender and full of flavour. To complement the abalone, the dish is served with a side of fragrant Taiwanese sticky rice, which perfectly accompanies the succulent seafood. Additionally, the dish will be garnished with a finely julienned omelette and ikura, adding a subtle richness and depth of flavour. Finally, the dish will be topped off with a generous serving of black truffle, offering a luxurious and earthy flavour. Also, the dish is paired with traditional Taiwanese Millet Wine, which is quite similar to Korean Makgeolli.
Dry-Aged A5 Wagyu is a dish made from the mala dry-aged wagyu, previously shown after the ingredients of Four Gods Soup. The wagyu is sous-vided before being tea-smoked. The meat comes with a grilled aubergine topped with coriander leaves and chillies, a dollop of grainy mustard and some chilli peanut powder.
For those who don't eat beef, the restaurant offers a rack lamb option. The lamb has undergone the same procedure as the wagyu, resulting in tender, aromatic rack lamb.
Lobster Porridge is the final savoury dish on the menu. The recipe was inspired by Marseille Fish Soup. The porridge's broth is simmered for eight hours with Thai seafood, fresh vegetables and dried Cantonese orange peels for flavours and aromas. Once the soup is ready, crispy fried puffed rice is added before serving to the bowl with chunks of lobster with uni on top and scallops.
The porridge comes with three condiments on the side: dried radish, fried onion with chicken oil sauce and stir-fried chilli mixed with seven mushrooms.
Bird's Nest is a highly indulgent and coveted dessert crafted using only the best quality swallow nests. The nest are carefully soaked in Osmanthus syrup, a fragrant flower syrup that infuses the dessert with a sweet and delicate flavour. The nest is then served with a jiggly, sweet, fermented rice pudding, which perfectly complements the rich and creamy texture of the dessert. Along with the nest and pudding, yam balls are added for a chewy texture. To add a pop of colour and enhance the overall presentation, the dish is garnished with dried tremella mushrooms dyed in vivid red beetroot water. The result is a visually stunning dessert that is an absolute treat for the taste buds.
The dinner is finished with Petit Four, including a peanut ball filled with peanut sauce, an Osmanthus jelly with Chinese pear and water chestnut inside, and a deep-fried dumpling with red bean and sticky rice fillings. The dessert was accompanied by fresh fruits and a cup of Oolong tea smoked with charcoal to enhance its aroma.
The intricate presentation and meticulous testing of the meal not only appeases the appetite but also transports the diners to an era of grandeur, making them feel like they are being treated as esteemed Chinese monarchs.
Before leaving the restaurant, every guest will receive a package of Chai Jia Chai's special XO Sauce as a souvenir.
Chai Jia Chai
Hours: Daily, 12:00 - 14:00 and 17:00 - 22:00 Hours
Tel: +669 3117 1909
Location: 265/2 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana Bangkok, Thailand 10110