Many have heard of Chef Aom, Sujira Pongmorn, due to her tenure at SAAWAAN and winning the MICHELIN Guide Young Chef Award for 2021. After parting ways with SAAWAAN, Chef Aom finally opened her solo project, KHAAN restaurant, in October 2023 on Somkid Alley, a few blocks away from Central Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand.
The restaurant's name, KHAAN, comes from the Thai word that means tiger and the Chinese Zodiac year, Tiger Year (1986), when Chef Aom was born. The tiger is a symbol of protection, power, strength and prosperity. Naming the restaurant after this animal is a way to attract good fortune. Furthermore, this word puns with another Thai word for announce.
Whether or not the restaurant's name helps its success, people certainly come to Thai Fine Dining in Bangkok because of Chef Aom's culinary skills. Her passion for cooking is deeply rooted in the street food culture of her hometown, Chareon Krung. Growing up in a family of professional cooks, Chef Aom was exposed to the art of cooking at a very young age. Her passion for cooking was further fueled by the bustling street food scene in her neighbourhood, where she spent countless hours observing and learning from local street vendors. Guests can find comfort and warmth through each dish, coupled with her mastery of traditional Thai recipes handed down by culinary masters she had learned from The Oriental Hotel Apprenticeship Program (OHAP) at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and restaurants she had worked for. Her aim is to showcase Thai cuisine by utilising high-quality ingredients. This way, she maximises the intrinsic value of each component and adds intricate layers of flavour to her eleven-course meal.
The dinner starts with amuse bouche, which represents Thai 4 regions. Representing the South is Steamed Egg with Crab Meat Geang Khua. The dish contains an organic chicken egg with egg white steamed till fluffy and egg yolk confited in turmeric oil at the temperature of sixty-two Celsius for two hours. The egg is covered with spicy and aromatic Crab Meat Geang Khua with kaffir lime zest on top. The East's representative is Pork Chamuang. Traditionally, this dish is made from pork belly stir-fried in Chamuang paste. Still, Chef Aom's interpretation is constructed from boiled pork skin, left dry over a night, then roasted in low heat to give the pork skin thinness and crispiness, and served with Chamuang paste sauce and young Chamuan leaf. Representing the Central, Lotus Miang is a dish with finely chopped aromatics and chillies, dried shrimp and fresh lotus stamen wrapped in a lotus petal, drizzled with sweet and savoury sauce and sprinkled with roasted coconut. At KHAAN, this dish is deconstructed into Thai sponge cake, topped with sauce and a piece of lotus seed. Phulae pineapple is the North's representative. Chef Aom got her inspiration from Chae-Im, similar to fruit compôte. The whole Phulae pineapple is grilled, resulting in the sweetness. Some of the fruit is soaked into pomegranate juice, and another is soaked into passion fruit juice. It is recommended that everything is eaten in order.
The appetiser then begins with Hokkaido Scallops Laab Muang, scallops from Hokkaido marinated in Makwaen pepper, a famous spicy from the North, served with a sauce made from Thai mussels and lime juices, a few drops of Vietnamese cilantro and ginger oils. The sauce and oils' spicy, umami and refreshing characters go with the scallops' freshness and sweetness.
The next course is Rice Paddy Crab Fat with Grilled Sticky Rice. The crab is sourced from Sing Buri Province in the Central. The crab fat is mixed with red geang paste and bitter orange zest and vassaled in a rice paddy crab shell. The crab is accompanied by Kiew Ngu sticky rice that has been stir-fried with coconut cream, wrapped in banana leaf and charcoal-grilled. Thee coconutty and creamy sticky rice with a hint of sweetness is perfect with spicy, salty, rich, aromatic crab fat.
Khao Pun Puk is a staple in Uttaradit, a northern province, which inspired Chef Aom. For her take on this dish, she makes the rice sheet with fermented Saam Yhod rice. Under the rice sheet, sixty-day-dry-aged white radish that has been stir-fried with house-made peanut butter, jícama stir-fried with Sam Gler and steamed taro, sweet potato and purple sweet potato. The sauce is a byproduct of fermenting ginger mixed with Indian borage and other local herbs. The briny, herbaceous, refreshing sauce goes well with the crunchy, flavourful vegetables and fermented rice sheet.
Oyster Tom Kha represents the Central. Chef Aom was inspired by the ancient Tom Kha recipe, a salty, umami, rich and citrusy dish that usually cooks chicken or duck in galangal soup. The cooked chicken or duck is dipped in the chilli paste and eaten. However, the chef wants to present it in a contemporary way. Instead of using poultry, she uses oysters. The oysters are from Washington State — not the US capital city, Washington DC — called Barron Point. The Barron Point oysters are creamy, sweet and slightly salty. In the dish, a fresh Barron Point oyster comes with herbed coconut cream foam, chilli paste purée, and young coconut shoot purée. The soup is based on fermented king trumpet mushrooms and dried straw mushrooms. The mushrooms are stuffed and wrapped with a banana blossom petal hidden under the foam. The dish comes with a side made from Triploid Tropical oysters from Surat Thani in the South.
Palette cleanser is a chef's take on Namprik Ong. This dish is a mix of the North and the South. The form of the dish comes from a Southern dessert called Oh-Aew, a shaved ice with toppings. Namprik Ong is a northern relish based on tomato. The dish comprises tomato, honey and lemon granita, vodka from Chiang Mai and Tua Nao or Northern fermented beans.
Before the main course, a fish dish called Pla Yang Taam Jai Chao Pramong. The fish comes from local fisherfolks from Ranong in the South, whose availability depends on the catch. The fish is treated in suitable ways; for instance, if it's giant trevally. The chef will dry-age it until firm, then cold-smoke it with coconut for coconutty and smoky aromas, and finish the process with a charcoal grill. The fish is served with local vegetables from the Northeast. The fish surplus, such as the head and bones, is used as the stock base of the dish's sauce.
The main course is Gaeng Bumbai. Chef Aom found a record of King Rama V's trip to India. The king enjoyed the dish very much. This dish has a taste similar to Gaeng Mussaman. Chef Aom's Gaeng Bumbai contains curry powder, making it a curry dish. The protein is lamb stewed with herbs and spices before pan-seared, resulting in a crispy exterior and soft, juicy interior. On the plate, the lamb comes with sections of condiments and relishes, including chilli chutney, cumcumber ajard, grilled cucumber and pickled shallots. Basmati rice is the dish pair. The rice is cooked with cardamons, cloves, turmeric and multiple spices. Mixing every element together is recommended for enjoying this dish to the fullest. Those with a low tolerance for spicy can skip the chilli chutney.
The first dessert dish is Phuket Pineapple Cream. This dish is a pineapple from Phuket made into a cream form with calamansi juice and basil oil. This dish is sweet and tangy. The aromas of each ingredient are displayed refinely.
Pumpy-umpy-umpkin is a pumpkin stewed in a cinnamon and ginger blend syrup for two hours, then flambéed with local white spirit in front of the guests. This process not only adds a touch of excitement to the dining experience but also enhances the flavour of the pumpkin, giving it a rich and complex taste. The flambéed pumpkin comes with ice cream, sponge cake and purée made from pumpink.
Petit four is a reminder of Thailand's four regions. The first bite is Black Sesame Khao Nhuk, representing the North. This bite appears in a cigar-like form. The exterior is a Thai dessert called Thong Muan, a crispy pancake roll assorted with Sesame Khao Nhuk, rice mixed with sesame, mashed into mochi-like. This bite is served with sesame cream and perilla seeds. The second bite represents the South. Chef Aom was inspired by the southern chewy, coconutty sweet Khanom Dhuang. She transforms it with her flair, a marshmallow with sweet and sour ginger flower syrup. Representing the Central is Lod Chong Pie, a twist on the famous Thai dessert Lod Chong. The East representative is Chocolate Nugget, made from chocolate from Rayong Province with Calamansi yam inside. It is best to eat these bites in an orderly fashion.
Chef Aom has developed her distinctive style, which brings traditional Thai recipes, often obscured with time, back to life. She adeptly marries traditional techniques with innovative presentation while staying true to the essence of traditional Thai cuisine.
Hours: Daily, 17:00 - 01:00 Hours
Telephone: +6691 407 5687
Email: email@example.com Location: 14 3 Soi Somkid Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330