An au­then­tic Thai joint hid­den in the streets of Malate

Get your Thai fix from a neigh­bor­hood resto in the side streets of Manila

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT ALYOSHA J. ROBILLOS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY NICCOLLO SAN­TOS AND MANU FER­NANDO

They say sec­ond time’s the charm, and it proves true for Jun Puno, owner of Doon, a lit­tle Thai restau­rant hid­den in the side streets of Malate.

“It wasn’t sup­posed to be a Thai restau­rant, but when we started serv­ing Thai cui­sine, peo­ple liked it. Cus­tomers pre­ferred it to the lu­tong ba­hay we ini­tially served,” he says.

Doon isn’t Puno’s first Thai restau­rant. In 2014, he had to close a four-year-old Thai joint he had es­tab­lished in a res­i­den­tial vil­lage in Parañaque. There, he had a cook who was half Thai. With a lit­tle help from the in­ter­net and his for­mer cook, Puno had mas­tered the fra­grant, tangy fla­vors of Thai cui­sine. These dis­tinct fla­vors are now the heart of Doon.

Puno takes his dishes’ au­then­tic­ity se­ri­ously; all sauces and pastes used in Doon are made from scratch, from fish sauce to ta­marind paste. Even the milk tea is made from brewed tea leaves straight from Thai­land. “You can­not make Thai food with­out Thai sauce made from scratch. You can­not pre­pare Thai food with­out Thai in­gre­di­ents.”

And by grow­ing his own pro­duce, among them kaf­fir lime and galan­gal, Puno is able to of­fer herb-heavy Thai dishes at stu­dent-friendly prices—apt, too, since Doon is a just a few blocks away from Taft Av­enue’s bustling univer­sity zone.

They have the fa­vorites, tom yum, pad thai, and sweet sticky rice. They also of­fer fu­sion rice meals with a choice of bar­be­cued chicken or pork ribs.

Af­ter all, at the end of the day, Doon doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate and stays true to what it aims to be: your no-fuss neigh­bor­hood Thai resto with “good food and good in­ten­tions.”

“That’s why the slo­gan of Doon is ‘A Plate of Faith.’”

Clock­wise from right: Sticky rice with mango; Red curry, but­ter gar­lic shrimp, sweet and spicy chicken with basil, pad seuw; Doon’s open kitchen

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