James Beard Foundation (JBF) celebrated Loy Krathong, Thailand’s Full Moon Festival and one of its most important religious events, on November 8, 2017. In honor of the festival, JBF hosted a special dinner at James Beard House in New York City. This special dinner featured a New Bangkok-style menu by Chef Nikky Phinyawatana.
Chef Nikky Phinyawatana is a celebrated Dallas, Texas-based chef. She is also the founder of Asian Mint, one of Dallas’ most acclaimed Thai restaurants. “I am honored to showcase Thailand and Texas at the James Beard House in NYC,” said Chef Phinyawatana.
Chef Phinyawatana created a dazzling and innovative Asian fusion dinner for the festival. Hors d’oeuvres included kratong tong, or marinated chicken with corn and shaved coconut in crispy golden cups; plah goong, or shrimp ceviche with herbs, crispy lemongrass, and fried shallots; tom kha, or galangal-coconut broth; and mee krob, or crispy rice noodles.
For dinner, Chef Phinyawatana prepared four dishes. These dishes are: miang khum, or herb wrap with sweet-and-sour reduction, crispy dried shrimp, toasted coconut, ginger, lime, peanuts, shallots, Thai chiles, and shallots; pla muek nueng manao, or shrimp and pork-stuffed squid with pickled garlic and seafood, chile, and lime sauce; nam prik ong, or braised minced chicken-tomato dip with sticky rice, crudité, and crispy pork rind; and beef short ribs with panang curry sauce, lump blue crab fried rice, green cabbage, and kabocha squash.
Dessert is lychee flower jelly with jasmine flower cake, coconut cream, and crushed nuts. All the hors d’oeuvres and dishes served are paired with wine.
Chef Phinyawatana previewed her James Beard House Loy Krathong menu at a VIP dinner event at Asian Mint’s Inwood Village location on October 8, 2017. The dinner also honored Ron Hall, author of Same Kind of Different as Me, with the 2017 Inspiration Award for his work with the homeless. The preview earned a rave from respected food news site The Daily Meal.
Aside from being one of Thailand’s most important annual festivals, Loy Krathong is among its most colorful. In Thailand, the highlight of the festival is setting on the river small containers made of cardboard or banana leaves. These containers hold offerings to water spirits and are left to float on the water, symbolically bearing the wishes of the person who made the offerings. The containers are also called krathong, hence the festival’s name. Loy Krathong is held on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. It’s also celebrated in other countries in mainland Southeast Asia.
Asian Mint is one of the most renowned restaurants in Dallas. It specializes in New Bangkok-style Thai food with an Asian fusion twist, served in a modern, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere. Established by Chef Phinyawatana, Asian Mint has been serving the greater Dallas area since 2005. It has three locations to date: 75 & Forest Lane, Oak Lawn, and Inwood Village.