Monday, September 1, 2014

Just Thai at Forbes Town Center, Bonifacio Global City

Just Thai is a casual dining restaurant located at Forbes Town Center BGC and specializes in Thai cuisine. Forbes Town Center is a township project in Fort Bonifacio which includes residential condominiums and a retail strip featuring restaurants and shops. Burgos Circle is another premier dining destination situated within Forbes Town Center.

Every region, every household and every restaurant in Thailand has its own version of Thai cooking and dishes slightly differ in taste. So, what then is authentic Thai cuisine? That we honestly can't answer. The last contact I had with "authentic Thai cuisine" was in 1999 during a weekend trip to Bangkok when I was still in college. Back then, I wasn't that adventurous when it comes to food. Thai food tasted too exotic for me, so I usually ate Western food at the hotel where we stayed. In some occasions, we ate at an international fastfood chain. I did try some Thai dishes, but chose the more familiar ones such as curry, sate and chicken in pandan leaves.

Fifteen years to the present, things are a lot more different. A Thai restaurant is as common as a Chinese or a Japanese restaurant. Over the years, I also got to acquire the liking to Thai cuisine. Thanks to restaurants like Just Thai, Thai food has become readily available to Filipinos. One does not need to fly all the way to Thailand just to have a taste of Thai cuisine.

Just Thai imports many of their ingredients from Thailand, specifically the spices and flavorings. This way, they ensure the authenticity of the taste of their Thai dishes. Another good thing about Just Thai is that they can customize the level of spiciness depending on the taste profile of the customer.

A set of condiments and spices are also provided per table so customers can adjust the saltiness and spiciness of their food. Without further delay, let's start reviewing the dishes we sampled at Just Thai.

Poh Piah Tod

Poh Piah Tod (P260): Poh Piah is the Thai word for Spring Roll while Tod means Fried. I was surprised to find out that this variant of the fried spring roll (minced meat and glass noodles wrapped in rice paper and deep fried until crispy) also exists in Thai cuisine. I first knew about this dish in Vietnamese restaurants. In fact, it is one of my favorite Vietnamese appetizers. This just shows how Thailand and Vientnam influence each other's cuisines.

Gai Sate

Gai Sate (P290): Chicken Sate is another famous Thai appetizer. Just Thai grilled the chicken sate perfectly because they were not burnt and not dry. The chicken was also perfectly marinated because the flavors were still intact after they have been grilled. The peanut sauce on the other hand has well balanced sweetness, sourness and spiciness. The bits of peanuts also add an exciting texture to the dish.

Thai Iced Tea
Thai Iced Tea (P80): Their Thai iced tea has a bold brewed tea flavor and served with rich and creamy foam on top. Perfect drink to rinse your palate before tasting another dish.

Tom Yum

Tom Yum (P190): This is another classic Thai dish that has become famous internationally. It is my first time to try Tom Yum and I loved it. It's a hot soup with a clear broth and is made sour by lime juice and flavored with herbs and spices. It was rainy that night and it was just the perfect soup. It is cooked with prawns and reminded me of my favorite Filipino dish, sinigang na hipon. This will definitely set my standard for Tom Yum.

Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai (P190): This is another soup dish. Chicken is cooked in a broth with coconut milk and is flavored with lemongrass. This one is milder compared to the classic Tom Yum. The two has their own character and can't be compared, so I love them both.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai (P280): Said to be Thailand's national dish. Just Thai's version is more savory compared to the Pad Thai I tried in one of the restaurants in Kapitolyo, Pasig. I liked this one better because this isn't sweet. It has the right balance of saltiness and spiciness, with only a light sweet taste to combine all the flavors.

Pla Rad Prik

Pla Rad Prik (P430): A very basic Thai dish made of fried tilapia and served with tamarind sauce. The fish has a very light flavor while the tamarind sauce adds a little sweet-spicy kick into the dish. This one is best with plain steamed rice.

Gai Pad Met Ma Maling 

Gai Pad Met Ma Maling: This is a savory chicken dish cooked with cashew nuts. This is quite a surprise for me because it did not fit my limited notion of Thai cuisine. I find it more Chinese than Thai, but considering the close proximity of Thailand to China, it just makes perfect sense that Thai cuisine has Chinese influences as well.

Bplah Pla Muek Kratiem

Bplah Pla Muek Kratiem (P300) is a seafood dish made of squid cooked in a thick sauce with garlic and pepper. This is another dish that I guess is of Chinese origin. The squid is perfectly cooked, they are easy on the bite and not rubbery. The sauce makes a perfect sabaw for the plain rice.

Gaeng Leuang

Gaeng Leuang (P260) is basically vegetable and tofu in yellow curry sauce. I am a big fan of Thai curry, and this one is quite new for me. I usually have chicken red curry or beef green curry. It's my first time to eat a vegetarian curry. I expected it to be boring, but I was wrong. I actually enjoyed it, every piece of vegetable and tofu had the flavorful yellow curry taste. Nothing went to waste. I love it with white rice.

Kung Kratiem

Kung Kratiem (P500) is similar to the Bplah Pla Muek Kratiem, only this one uses prawns instead of squid. They have the same base flavor but the use of prawns makes this dish look more festive.

Pad Kapron Talay

Pad Kapron Talay (P280) is my favorite among all the dishes we sampled. It's a dish of mixed seafood cooked in a thick coconut cream based broth and served with crispy basil leaves. It's a mouthwatering explosion of flavors that will make you crave for more. I will definitely be back for this dish!

Gai Ob Bai Toey 

Gai Ob Bai Toey (P290) is another famous Thai dish that now a days has already become part of Filipino feasts. Pandan Chicken is one of the Thai dishes that I first fell in love with. I think I have tasted countless versions of this dish already so I find it quite predictable, yet still enjoyable.

Khao Krok Kapi

Khao Krok Kapi (P250): Shrimp Paste Rice or Bagoong Rice is something that I enjoyed eating back in 2003-2005 as lunch when I was still working in Makati. The combination of bagoong and green mangoes, plus sweet pork and fried egg appeals a lot to my Filipino taste. Back then, I had no idea that this is actually a Thai dish. Just Thai's version has the combination of flavors, the way I know Bagoong Rice should have. This is already a meal in itself which I don't recommend combining with other savory dishes. The flavors will surely overpower each other or even clash.

Khao Niaow Ma Muang

Khao Niaow Ma Muang (P260) is a classic Thai dessert made of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with slices of ripe mangoes. I admire the amount of work done by Just Thai on the presentation of this dessert. The sticky rice has a rich sweet coconut flavor which perfectly blends with the sweet-sour taste of the ripe mangoes. It's no wonder that this appeals to Filipino taste because even here in the Philippines, we also pair our native suman with mangoes.

Tha Kho

Tha Kho (P140), or Takho, is another classic Thai dessert made of coconut cream jelly wrapped in pandan leaves. There are many versions of this dessert, the most common one is filled with beans, same as what is served at Just Thai. It tastes similar to Sayongsong of Surigao City in Mindanao but has the consistency of a Maja Blanca. Some versions of the Tha Kho has fruits inside the coconut cream jelly such as jack fruit. I have also seen versions of it wrapped in a cone made of leaves, which really looks very similar to the sayongsong.

Overall, Just Thai has broadened my knowledge of Thai cuisine by introducing me to least common Thai dishes. I also learned that Thai Cuisine has a wide array of flavor with influences from its neighboring countries such as Vietnam and China. My experience at Just Thai also confirms how diverse authentic Thai cuisine can be. Just Thai is definitely a good choice of restaurant when craving for Thai food.

Just Thai
Forbestown Road, Forbes Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Contact Number(s): (02) 403-8718
Instragram: @JustThaiPH

They also have a branch in Molito Lifestyle Center in Alabang (02) 808-4058

Disclaimer: Dishes featured on this article are provides by Just Thai for photo shoot and sampling purposes only. Opinion on their food are ours and is based on our personal taste.

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