An appreciation of the fact that attention to the small things produces perfection is summed up in the concept of lamiat, a Thai philosophy which has guided everyone from street food vendors to national breweries over the years to create exquisite dishes
In the same spirit of looking beyond the ordinary, Err takes the humble street food and bar snacks and makes them wholesome again, removing the fast-food nature of food so it can be enjoyed at leisure with friends.
The casual eatery may be hidden, tucked away in an unnamed alley off Maharaj Road near Wat Po, but it has some serious credentials – the menu here is curated by chefs Duangporn 'Bo' Songvisava and Dylan 'Lan' Jones of one Michelin-star restaurant Bo.lan. There’s a big focus on sustainability at Err, which uses the same suppliers as its sister restaurant comprising local organic farmers and artisans.
In a deliberate departure from street food traditions, no MSG is used here. Vegetables are handpicked fresh from the farm by the chefs themselves. Curry pastes are hand-pounded, coconut cream pressed, and fish sauce fermented, all in-house.
The urban rustic Thai experience doesn’t stop at the food either. The whole restaurant has a throw-back vibe, with traditional tin plates, antiques, old school children’s games, which make for perfect pastimes when enjoying a meal with friends.
“For us Err is drinking food … it’s food to share,” says Chef Bo. “The portions are just right so you can try several dishes at a time.”
Here is a selection of dishes , best enjoyed with a full squad of friends.
Nang Gai Tord
Just don’t go looking for “chicken skin” on the menu – it’s cheekily listed as “chicken movie” (identical phrase in Thai).
The skin is then dipped in fish sauce – fermented in-house of course – before being deep-fried to give it a salty edge. Served in a wire skimmer, the crispy skin is accompanied with a bottle of housemade Sriracha sauce with a tangy kick.
Peanuts have nothing on this deep fried chicken dish, a classic bar snack in Thailand. Look carefully, and you’ll notice that the chicken (free range from Kanchanaburi Province) is meticulously skinned in one whole piece, with the chef making sure to go around the legs and wings.
Crispy rice ball of salted mackerel
These two-bite-sized rice balls are formed with organic jasmine rice mixed with strings of salted mackerel and seasoned with chili, onion, and kaffir lime leaves. Before it goes in the mixture, the mackerel is first grilled in banana leaves to attain its subtle aroma as not to overpower the other flavours.
Slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these rice balls are delicate but hearty, making for the perfect treats to fuel up for the evening.
This isn’t your standard roadside food-on-a-stick. The chicken is marinated for a day with galangal and turmeric for a hint of citrusy and earthy flavour and colour before being grilled on bamboo skewers.
Moist and flavoursome, the chicken is further enhanced with a housemade peanut sauce made with the same red curry paste used in their chicken red curry dish. The accompanying side bread is also not your ordinary fare – the thick slices of brioche are dipped in egg yolk before grilled, making it the perfect mop to soak up the sauce.
Pad Pak Bung
Vegetables may not be a traditionally associated with a fun evening out with friends, but this stir-fried morning glory with fermented shrimp paste dish, with its mildly salty and spicy flavour, doesn’t seem out of place sitting amongst bottles either.
Young morning glory is hand-picked at an organic farm by the chefs’ own hands, and the shrimp paste is sourced from ladies in a Muslim co-op on Phuket. A quick fry up in high heat later, the dish, with greens still crunchy, is then topped off with a handful of whole dried shrimp.
Yum Kai Dao
If there is one dish that sums up the complexity of Thai cuisine, it’s probably the Thai salad called yum. In this singular dish, salty, sweet, spicy, and sour notes all work together before begging to be washed down and repeated.
The devil is in the details here – the yum dressing is homemade, and all the herbs are organic, as are the eggs fried in a water drop shape. The unique finishing touch of kao kua (ground roasted sticky rice) sprinkled on top adds aroma and texture to the dish.
When Thai food is done well with a dash of lamiat, the sum is far greater than its parts. At Err, the pursuit of perfection in ingrained in every step of the process, whether it is sourcing fresh local ingredients from suppliers who are equally passionate about their produce, or hand-grinding curry paste with pestle and mortar according to the wisdom of tradition. The results speak for themselves.
At the heart of the extraordinary is the faith in lamiat. the same principle which nurtures enduring friendship. The same belief manifests in the extra care shown at Err when balancing aromas, flavours and textures. The food at Err is best enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold beer, and even better when the experience is shared with friends.
To learn more about Chang’s spirit of lamiat, a philosophy underpinned by a deep and authentic appreciation that is the small details that produce perfection, visit www.changbeer.com/lamiat.
This article is brought to you by Chang