Signature dishes are the culinary world’s equivalent of an artist’s masterpiece or a singer’s greatest hits. The signature dish is what defines a chef's or restaurant’s cooking techniques, personality and cuisine philosophy. We’ve asked our local and international inspectors for the top 10 signature dishes that impressed them during the 2019 Thailand restaurant inspections, making the cut for the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Phang-Nga 2020 selection.
Top 5 Signature Dishes from Thai Inspectors
1. River Prawn with Pork Belly Jam, Shrimp Paste and Organic Rice
Le Du, Bangkok (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: A whole river prawn cut in half and cooked to perfection maintaining freshness and natural flavour. The mildly sour and spicy tom yum sauce full of shrimp fat added another dimension to the dish while contrasting the freshness of the prawn. Served with organic rice and shrimp paste, the dish is further balanced by a pork belly jam which was sweet and salty tasting and provided a perfect contrast to the finely diced raw mango pieces.
2. Siam Ruby Thai Twisted Dessert
Redbox Thailand, Chiang Mai (MICHELIN Plate)
Inspector’s notes: The best coconut ice cream I’ve had this year. This dish is famous all over Thailand and very simple to make, but what makes this one special is the use of coconuts from Umpawa district in Samut Songkhram. Served on top of a crumble of Thai crispy coconut rolls for texture, coconut cookies “Sommanut’, homemade syrup made from Malaysian palm sugar, the dish is spectacularly finished off with an edible gold sheet.
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3. Cochon de Lait
Le Normandie, Bangkok (Two MICHELIN Stars)
Inspector’s notes: This was a proper suckling pig that was tender, flavourful from the marinate and perfectly cooked. The cooking techniques and ingredients were of the highest quality, which made this dish faultless.
4. Seared Foie Gras
Chef’s Table, Bangkok (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: Thick pieces of seared foie gras served with citrus mosaic mix and carrot coulis. The foie gras was extremely well cooked; seared to perfection giving it a colour and crisp while remaining soft inside. All accompanying elements were perfectly cooked and blended together well in a simple composition. The best foie gras I’ve had!
5. Carrots Cooked In The Soil They Came From
PRU, Phuket (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: A simple dish but a highlight. The carrot was wrapped in banana leaf and cooked in soil by fire made from eucalyptus wood for six hours. The dish is then finished with a hollandaise sauce made from carrot puree instead of vinegar. When eating, the natural sweetness of the carrot comes out the most with a hint of wood and earthy soil. A very memorable and unique dish indeed.
Top 5 Signature Dishes From International Inspectors
1. Tuna Tartar with Beets, Capers and Parmesan
Upstairs, Bangkok (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: The tuna is risotto like in its texture with a rich, beetroot-based sauce delivering a degree of sweetness, great depth of flavour and intensity. Topped with a fine crisp wafer, finely grated aged parmesan, a small amount of rocket and a little well-judged horseradish cream which added creaminess and a small amount of heat. The dish is accompanied by a superb intense beef broth that elevated the dish to even greater heights. One of the finest tuna tartars I've ever tasted!
2. Roasted Duck Red Curry
Methavalai Sorndaeng, Bangkok (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: A very fine red curry, the duck was finely sliced and superbly tender, pieces of pineapple were beautifully sweet and cut through the richness and fattiness of the duck. Lovely layers of light spice and flavour with a fine consistency to the coconut-based sauce which was topped with a little coconut cream, plenty of fresh kaffir lime leaves and vibrant red chillies. Quite simply a flavour explosion!
3. Organic Burnt Coconut Sugar Ice cream and Pork Floss
Gaa, Bangkok (One MICHELIN Star)
Inspector’s notes: This was exceptional, a delicious intense smooth, creamy gelato- style ice cream with a deep rich caramelised flavour. The pork floss was effectively ultra-fine caramelised pork 'candy-floss' which worked exceptionally well from a textural and flavour perspective. Highly original, unique, looked simple however very complex.
4. Omas Eirlikör; Süssigkeitenbox
Sühring, Bangkok (Two MICHELIN Stars)
Inspector’s notes: A small ultra-fine crisp pastry tart filled with a plump light vanilla cream and topped with a sweet ripe blueberry. The accompanying 'egg nog' made from grandmother’s recipe was simply superb, as it was intense but perfect in consistency. Very memorable and enchanting flavours.
5. Durian with Sticky Rice and Coconut Cream
Magnolia Cafe, Chiang Mai (MICHELIN Plate)
Inspector’s notes: The durian was wonderfully ripe, full of flavour with a beautiful sweetness. The bed of sticky rice is cooked just right with grains falling apart nicely. The coconut cream is smooth with a lovely balance and appealing sweetness. A memorable dessert featuring the ‘King of fruits’ which simply deserves the utmost respect.
*Please note that the dishes listed may not be available or not as pictured due to seasonality and the time of inspections.