When you think about the Chinese restaurant scene in Thailand, or almost anywhere else in the world, do you always picture similar looking dishes – dim sum in steamers, tofu in clay pot, mound of fried rice on a large plate? I believe most people’s answer to this question would be yes, me included; therefore, when the restaurant MANDOPOP opened its door at Oriental Residence, wireless Rd. a couple of months back I was very excited to give it a try. I remember thoroughly enjoying my delicious dim sum, the modern decor, and trying wine with my Chinese dishes.
Today, I had a chance to go back and chatted with Chef Adrian Chua, the Executive Chef with more than 20 years of experience under his belt about the concept of MANDOPOP and the menu offerings. Chef Chua enthusiastically told me that MANDOPOP stands for Mandarin pop music which represents the modern Chinese cuisine that the restaurant has to offer. (Chef Chua actually selects the Mandarin pop music to play in the restaurant himself.) He says that Chinese food looks the same any where in the world, and as we progress into the age of technology and social media, MANDOPOP keeps up with the changing world since though the taste of the dishes is traditional Chinese, you can expect to see the modern twist in terms of: presentation, healthy alternative, and also beverage pairing here.
The first thing that strikes me as the dishes were being served was the beautiful presentation: rounded ice cubes with MANDOPOP logo, beautifully-colored dim sums plated on plates painted with balsamic reduction, razor clams served with dry ice etc. This “face lift,” as I would like to call it, is a good response to the current “snap and post before I eat” trend caused by various social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Who wouldn’t want to instagram a beautiful picture of unique dim sum dishes for their friends to see especially when they are very fresh and delicious, I know I would!
Instead of using food coloring, Chef Chua decides to go the healthy route and color the dumpling using natural ingredients. The green on the dumpling is from spinach and the red is from beetroot. The Ebiko gives a nice crunch to the dish while the taste of the dumpling itself is still traditional and very delicious.
Despite, our Thai ways of eating all dim sum with vinegar, Chef Chua suggests that we try the dumpling on its own first to appreciate its natural taste, then give the two house-sauces a try: one is spicy with dried chillies and dried prawn, the other one is refreshing with ginger and scallion.
Secondly, though flavorful the dishes here are light – nothing like the greasy and heavy tastes that I so often associate with Chinese food. Chef Chua explains that excessive use of grease not only is unhealthy but also hinders the tastes of certain dishes. For example, he chooses to cook fatty fish such as cod or salmon by panfrying instead of deep frying since he does not want the guests to taste too much oil. Instead the dish is flavored with a honey glaze that gives it a sweet twist.
The tofu is made in house from spinach, soya, and egg. They are slightly pan-fried so the outside is crispy enough to encase the silky filling. The dish is served with stir fried assorted vegetables. A deconstructed version of the old favorite tofu dish would be a nice way of explaining it.
The razor clams are imported live from France. Luckily, they do not display the fish tanks here for guests to see. I, for one, can’t quite enjoy my dish when I see the poor fish’s cousin swimming right in front of me in horror. The razor clams are topped with flavorful garlic sauce.
Another innovative concept about MANDOPOP that I love is the fact that they serve wines! Probably not the most traditional paring choice but I ensure you that they go surprisingly well together. Especially at 99 baht++ per glass, you can’t really go wrong! They also do both old school and “new school” cocktails as well.
And, of course, as a dessert lover, the favorite dishes I had here had to be the desserts. The braised pear in Chrysantamum syrup is very soft, slightly sweet, and very refreshing. But, the star of the meal was the avocado ice-cream which I thought was very delicious, it’s creamy but it’s not heavy with just the right amount of sweetness. I love it!
110 Wireless Rd.,
Bangkok, 0-2252 8001-5
(For those of you used to visiting them at lunch hours, please note that they will no longer be serving lunch as of November 15th.)