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May 22 2022 4:35 PM ˚
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Thai Room: An experience for your taste buds

thai
Thai cuisine is known for blending the five primary tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot. (Photo: Envato Elements/Jordan News)
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AMMAN — 2022 is here and so is my resolution of going to various restaurants and pushing past my comfort zone of social hiding and a instead getting more social interaction. I came across this quote “Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving, and identity,” by Jonathan Safran Foer, and it steered me to try something different than the typical hyped-up places.اضافة اعلان

However, this quote bought to my attention that what was standing in the way of people trying out the uncomfortable goes beyond the type of food; it’s all about our culture.


Thai cuisine is known for blending the five primary tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot. (Photo: Zaid Odeh/Jordan News)

Geert Hofstede developed a framework to understand the dimensional differences in cultures. One of those dimensions is “uncertainty avoidance,” meaning how comfortable or uncomfortable people are with uncertainty. Jordanian people, myself included, fall high on the uncomfortable spectrum, meaning we find the unfamiliar as something we won’t consider.

Even after trying out new food items generally, despite countless recommendations from friends or family, we find ourselves crawling back to the norm that we are comfortable with when no one is watching.

For this week, I chose to try “Thai Room”, a restaurant that I have passed by a handful of times in the Abdoun Area. Before we start digging into the experience itself, we must first understand the culture and the staples of Thai cuisine.

Street food is a staple experience in Thai culture, and it even reached a Michelin Star level with chef Jay Fai. Fai is famous for her rain boots, her red lipstick, and the fact that she runs a street food restaurant in Thailand that has a Michelin Star.


(Photo: Zaid Odeh/Jordan News)

On a technical scale, the food items in Thai cuisine are usually cut into smaller portions; usually, julienne cuts (thin strips) to ensure that the food is cooked faster and many ingredients can be added to the one-pot mix, given that street food items needs to be prepared quickly.

One of the critical aspects of Thai cuisine is its artful blending of the five primary tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot. These flavors can be achieved using coriander, lemongrass, chili peppers, fish sauce, and shrimp paste.

So, let’s dig into the experience of the restaurant from a guests’ perspective. The restaurant area is a constant parking hassle, especially on the weekends. The dim light atmosphere of the restaurant gives off a relaxed vibe. It would be an excellent place for a date or friends gathering.

One thing that caught my attention was the number of orders picked up by guests instead of them dining in, which later into the dining experience made sense.


(Photo: Zaid Odeh/Jordan News)

I tried the lemongrass iced tea, which was very refreshing. I also tried the Tom Yum Goong soup, the Som Tom Thai Salad (Papaya Salad), Gai Phad Khing (Chicken Stir-fry), and Phad Sen-Leang (vegetable noodles) and a lemongrass iced tea.

I started my journey with the Tom Yum Soup, a broth full of flavor with Galangal, a vegetable similar to ginger root that adds a unique fresh flavor to Thai foods soups and curries. The soup contained mushrooms and shrimp in the broth. The overall taste of the soup was rich and satisfying, especially with the cold weather nowadays; it had a perfect balance of the five flavors and ended with a bit of kick of spiciness towards the end.

Yet, the shrimp pieces in the soup were big and had the shell on the tail. Now imagine consuming that using a spoon without splashing the liquid everywhere.


(Photo: Zaid Odeh/Jordan News)

The Vegetable noodles were a highlight for me, filled with vegetables, bean sprouts for the crispiness, provided an umami balance of delicious flavors. The noodles were all tossed with a spicy curry herb sauce. Thankfully you can ask the server to mild down on the spiciness of the dishes if you are not a fan of spicy food and still want to enjoy the other flavors.

The chicken stir fry dish with fresh ginger and shiitake mushrooms was full of flavor, which can be overwhelming after the soup. The shiitake mushroom had a robust earthy flavor filled with amino acid glutamate, also known as umami. The balance of the sauce with the chicken and the mushroom created a delicious dish overall. However, the garnish and topping of green onions threw me off a little, as I am not so keen on having this amount of green onion on one dish.

Finally, the salad, and ironically the last plate that reached the table, gave me a passive-aggressive feeling towards it. The papaya was not ripe, and it still had a crunch, giving it a little bit of a bitter taste. The dressing of the salad, made out of chili and spicy lime sauce, was overpowering the whole dish with a spicy after-taste. I understand the challenge of having limited food items in Jordan due to importing most ingredients; however, if one is unsure of the product’s consistency, maybe it should be executed as a daily special instead of being placed as a fixed menu item.

Now for the elephant in the room, the service. Unfortunately, the service experience was not at same scale as the food. Which made sense why many people had a pickup service instead of dining in; honestly, I would strongly consider delivery next time I try this place.

The overall experience of the restaurant was good, the price is a little bit exaggerated, most probably because of the area. However, the food itself is worth a ride for the taste buds.

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