|2/F, Regal Master Hotel, 48, Section 4th, South Renmin Rd.|
|028 8887 8888|
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
The Regal Master Hotel has been raising the bar for international food in Chengdu. The buffet on their second floor international restaurant is not the biggest in town but appeals with the freshness and quality of dishes served up. The foreign dishes demonstrate a rare level of understanding and skill with non-home-grown ingredients and cooking methods.
The commitment to food quality at the Regal Master recently impressed Bangkok-based restaurateur and cookbook author Pitaya Phanphensophon enough to choose the hotel as a setting for a showcase of Thai food. Phanphensophon is a passionate ambassador for Thai food and heads up a global restaurant business that includes the well-regarded Mango Tree Thai restaurants. He also clearly loves spending time in the kitchen. MORE was invited to sample the special dishes on offer.
Since our usual idea of Thai food is noodles and street food, we were impressed with the complex flavors and gentle heat in the curries and the variety of dishes that appealed both to the eye and palate. The mussamun curry was a standout dish not only for its flavor but for the use of pork, which showed Chinese influence. Over at the dessert section, a Thai-style sticky rice dessert topped with salty coconut cream held its own beside the cakes, puddings, and Swiss Movenpick ice cream. We also enjoyed chicken skewers, papaya salad, a cool and spicy salad made from chopped pork, and Thai-style beef. The regular buffet dishes also offered some tempting options. We particularly liked a spicy shrimp and cashew dish and a pork knuckle with cabbage and caraway seed.
Bringing Thai food to Chengdu poses a challenge, since many ingredients and seasonings are not available locally and other basic ingredients differ in flavor and texture. The dishes that were presented at the Regal Master stayed true to the spirit of Thai cuisine by using fresh seasonings such as cilantro and using ingredients that achieved the tangy and salty combination of flavors. We came away with a new appreciation for Thai food and hope to taste more of it around town in the future.