Chef whets Myan­mar ap­petite for Thai dishes

The Myanmar Times - - The Metro - ZON PANN PWINT zon­npann@mm­times.com

YUT­TA­PHUM Sim­palipun used to feast on her grand­mother’s tra­di­tional Thai food when he was a kid. He would watch her whip up recipes to per­fec­tion in the kitchen of their an­ces­tral home and at times he would vol­un­teer to help pre­par­ing the dishes. She be­came an in­spi­ra­tion for him when he was in his teens.

He went to Van­cou­ver, Canada where he stud­ied and fin­ished his high school. Chas­ing his dream, he took a di­ploma at Pa­cific In­sti­tute of Culi­nary Arts in Van­cou­ver. Af­ter com­plet­ing his stud­ies, he started pur­su­ing a ca­reer in cook­ing.

The 29-year-old Yut­ta­phum is now run­ning two restau­rants of his own in Bangkok and in Ed­mon­ton, Canada where he pre­pares mod­ern Thai cuisines.

A na­tive of Bangkok, Yut­ta­phum vis­its Yan­gon this week to cu­rate the menu of ‘A Taste of Thai­land’ fes­ti­val, hosted as part of the 22nd an­niver­sary of Se­dona Ho­tel Yan­gon. The chef cooks his favourite Thai dishes, in­clud­ing Tom Yam, Tom Kha Gai (chicken and co­conut milk soup) and pa­paya salad.

“At first I learnt from watch­ing my grand­mother when she cooked Thai food. My par­ents used to op­er­ate a restau­rant but they do not con­sider them­selves as chefs,” Yut­ta­phum told to the Metro.

Cook­ing Thai food is not easy. It’s stren­u­ous and needs at­ten­tion to ev­ery de­tail.

“You have to do ev­ery de­tail to make a tra­di­tional dish that is colour­ful and tasty. When you cook green curry, you have to make paste from the scratch,” he said.

When he came back to Thai­land af­ter stud­ies, Yut­ta­phum makes fu­sion of tra­di­tional Thai food and west­ern food cui­sine.

He opens a restau­rant named 1 Nares in Bangkok three years ago. The restau­rant serves tra­di­tional Thai food, fu­sion cuisines, west­ern and Ital­ian food. His restau­rant in Ed­mon­ton is called Kaengthai, a small a 40-seater venue which pre­pares Thai food us­ing lo­cal in­gre­di­ents.

“My fa­vorite food to cook is Ital­ian food. I love Ital­ian cuisines more than Thai cuisines. I love to eat cheese so much. Even now I make Ital­ian and Thai fu­sion,” he said.

Cook­ing be­comes the per­fect out­let for his stress. “I am very happy when I cook. When I feel stress or when I feel sad, I go to the kitchen and cook food. My stress goes away,” he said.

Thai food is highly pop­u­lar in Myan­mar. Many Thai restau­rants have mush­roomed across the city over the past few years.

“I am so happy that Myan­mar peo­ple love Thai food. They all come and see ev­ery sin­gle menu I cook. That makes me happy. They may want to cook Thai food,” he said.

“A Taste of Thai­land” will be held un­til the end of the month and Yut­ta­phum will be at Se­dona Ho­tel Yan­gon un­til Septem­ber 16.

‘When I feel sad, I go to the kitchen and cook food.’ Yut­ta­phum Sim­palipun Thai Chef

Photo: Thiri Lu

As part of its 22nd an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, Se­dona Ho­tel Yan­gon is host­ing “A Taste of Thai­land” fes­ti­val with guest chef Yut­ta­phum Sim­palipun.

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