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Bringing the flavors of the Land of Smiles to your plate: Azuthai in Makati

Let this award-winning restaurant in Manila take you on a gastronomic journey to Bangkok, Thailand --- flight tickets not required

There was a time when Thai cuisine wasn't much of familiar territory in the country until a few Thai restaurants started to introduce it, most particularly to the Manila-based crowd.

This is the same time when Azuthai went their way as one of the first places that offer guests with discerning palates with delicious homestyle dishes inspired by the flavors of the Central Region, most specifically the capital of Bangkok, Thailand.

Since then, Azuthai continues to be recognized both locally and internationally. One of their accolades being the first to receive the Thai Select Award from the Thailand Ministry of Commerce back in 2017 for promoting Thai cuisine in the country and its use of authentic ingredients and techniques.

Thai Select is a program headed by Thailand's Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, and the Royal Thai Government to certify and promote authentic Thai cuisine around the world. Azuthai is the first restaurant in the Philippines to receive this award.

Paying a visit at Azuthai means that your food will be expertly prepared by their resident Thai chef, Chef Watee, where she makes use of her amazing cooking prowess to provide only the best Thai dishes, all served family style.

The ensemble of food and drinks served at Azuthai are curated by the same team behind other noted restaurants at the corner of Arnaiz and Legaspi streets such as Cirkulo, Milkyway, and Tsukiji, all led by the one and only Chef J Gamboa as overall Executive Chef.

I went to Azuthai with a few of my foodie friends where we started our lunch with some addicting Crispy Larb Moo which I find to be legit flavor bombs in my opinion with a citrusy, slightly spicy kick. Larb is essentially a dish using either minced chicken or pork, mixed with chili, roasted rice powder and kaffir lime leaves.

The Kai Jeaw Poo is reminiscent to streetfood-style Crab Omelette that you can try in Bangkok's many notable food stalls and the dish has also been globally popularized and given a Michelin star recognition thanks to Jay Fai. This dish has generous portions of super lump crabmeat in between a mixture of eggs, onions and mild spices; and served with a tangy, spicy chili dipping sauce for good measure.

Azuthai pays homage to one of the most popular Thai dishes and good ol' fried rice with their Khao Pad Tom Yum that resembles the fiery colors of the actual dish with bits of chili, galangal and lemongrass. The Khao Pad Poo has more crabmeat,

spring onions, eggs and oyster sauce. Both are good as is but it was never a bad idea when I paired it with the rest of the savory dishes that I tried.

I personally prefer making Thai green curry when I'm eating at home so it was a treat to try the Gaeng Pet Phad Yang, a Roast Duck red curry with tomatoes, pineapple, coconut milk, and grapes. Yes, that's fruit in such an intensely flavored dish that actually gave the extra oomph I was looking for as supposed to just being plain spicy.

Looking at this plate of Gai Pad King lierally made me want to mop up all that golden liquid with rice.

I would defer this to others who may likely choose this as a lighter option as it's made with the leaner chicken breast, ginger, mushrooms, sweet peppers and celery.

If you haven't tried Soft Shell Crab Curry, the Poo Nim Phat Pong Karee would have to be one of my top recommendations at Azuthai. It has a yellow curry and coconut milk base, sweet peppers, onions and eggs. The crab itself is chockfull or salty sea goodness with the spicy gravy. It's so good when I paired this with the Khao Pad Poo.

Rat Na Seafood is the only noodle dish that we tried, one that I think is a Thai version of the Birthday Noodles which is a staple at many Chinese restaurants. Made with wide noodles, veggies and seafood, it may already seem filling and yet I would still consider eating this dish with rice.

Azuthai's Kha Moo Tod Grob is their version of Crispy Pata (Crispy Pork Leg) only that this is served with two kinds of chili sauces (red and green). It's a true showstopper with its crispy skin and fall of the bone meat that makes this one of the many crowd favorites at the restaurant.

Gaeng Hang Lay may be one of the last ones to arrive on our table, but this is my favorite most of all. What could go wrong with melt in your mouth pieces of pork in rich curry aauce with lots of garlic, shallots and peanuts? THIS IS SUPER. I know it would be unfair to compare it with Adobo (I'm an Adobo lover, not an Adobo fighter) but can't help but see some similarities using techniques such as braising it until its flavorful liquid turns to a thick gravy and al that flavorful pork oil comes out.

While Mango Sticky Rice is a common Thai dessert, Azuthai levels it up and made it into a sundae with my personal verdict that's summed up in four words: Gone. In. Sixty.


Something happy and extra

Aside from my recommendation for you to try Azuthai soon, try saving up that dessert space in your tummy and try Milky Way's famous cold sweet treats such as Halo Halo or my personal favorite, the Guinumis, which they tweaked using a panutsa sorbet and a generous sprinkling of crispy pinipig.

Azuthai is a great walk-in spot for family style lunch and dinners as well as advanced bookings (they can also customize your menu depending on the occassion). It's also a fantastic and convenient option for spontaneous business lunch and dinner meetings since it's just a few steps away from the Makati business center.

Follow Azuthai Makati on Instagram for contact/reservation details, check out their menu and packages available for parties and gatherings.

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