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Bangkok Golden – Laotian Culinary Seduction: A Stunning, Salubrious, and Sensual Introduction to Southeast Asia

August 21, 2014

By Vice Chargée de Presse Claudette Veronica Ferron, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.

Few people could find Laos, an emerald jewel nestled in the middle of Southeast Asia, on a globe unaided. Leave it to the Greater Washington, D.C., Bailliage, led by its dynamic new Bailli, Judith Mazza, to find it in Falls Church, a northern Virginia suburb of Washington, at Bangkok Golden. The latest “Chaîne on the Edge” dinner for the pioneering Bailliage, continues to affirm a visionary, 21st Century Chaîne gastronomic concept – exotic cuisine can be exquisite!

The breathtaking dinner was an exciting and herbaceous journey to an exotic and timeless paradise where the faint remembrance of another era vanished into a tranquil and seductive epicurean Eden.

Chef Seng Luangrath, a pioneering culinary phenomenon, created singularly Asian dishes unique to Laos. Showcasing the evocative spice of the fertile plains, mystical mountains, ancient traditions, and visually spectacular culture and art of her beloved homeland, Chef Seng’s creations dazzled the eye and tantalized the palate.

Surrounding guests with expressive native works of art, conjuring scenes of idyllic Laotian village life, Chef Seng opened with eye-popping hors d’oeuvres, paired with Bosco Di Gica, Superior Prosecco (Valdobbiadene, Italy), a rich orchard scented, delicate sparkler, with floral notes, courtesy of the Bailliage’s bountiful cellar -- an elegant complement to the crisp and spicy Laotian appetizers. From the Sai Oua, tender morsels of pork infused with an herbaceous marriage of lemongrass, kafir lime leaves and fresh dill, and Jeow Mak Lenh, miniature bursts of charred cherry tomatoes ignited by birds eye chili, green garlic and an exquisite fish sauce; to the Sakoo Yad Sai, sensuous, velvety tapioca orbs concealing tantalizing treasures of pork with piquant ground peanut, and Koong Sae Nampah, superb sashimi shrimp, splashed with invigorating lime, chili and garlic, diners were wooed with enticing nibbles of spicy excitement, before their palates were cleansed by a divine, silky Thai tea.

During a brief intermezzo, Chaîne members were delighted by news of the attainments of three of their own. Beloved Bailli Honoraire, Paul Haar, had been elevated to Juris Consulte des Etats-Unis, effervescent former Chargèe de Presse, Judith Mazza, had been elevated to Bailli, and au courant Tony Busalacchi, Vice Echanson des Etats-Unis Honoraire would soon be appointed Chevalier d’Honneur, the highest honor afforded a Chaîne member at the upcoming Assemblage in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, members were elated to learn that two guests, Colin and Elizabeth Jordaan, had literally traveled around the world, all the way from Johannesburg, South Africa (where they will shortly be inducted into the Johannesburg Bailliage), to join the Greater Washington Bailliage members as they relished Chef Seng’s thrilling gastronomic homage to Laos, Asia’s secret gem.

Returning to the sumptuous reverie, surpassing the spectacular culinary prelude, the main courses were a decadent feast of seven visually stunning, sensual offerings. Beginning with Chuenh Nok, a tender fleshed quail, enlivened by the brightness of lemongrass and the warmth of ginger, the Chef followed with Pak Nam, ethereally crisp, flash fried watercress bathed in a silken sauce of tropical mango indulgence, vibrant green apple, sultry cashew, and tangy tamarind. Delving deeper into Eden, guests sampled Nam Khao, crispy rice mingled with snowflakes of fresh coconut, earthy peanut and pungent sausage wrapped in translucent lettuce. Next was Mee Kath, a seductive soup of tender coconut curry noodles, harmoniously blended with minced pork, fragile wisps of egg, succulent bean sprouts and a julienne of cabbage. And then there was Kor Tod Jeow Som, forbidden bites of fried snakehead fish dancing with hot birds eye chili and sebaceous avocado. Chef Seng continued to allure with Som Pah, a pan-kissed fermented fish luxuriating in an earthly mushroom bath, sprinkled with a tongue tingling chiffonade of ginger and shallot, and Orm Lam, a beef curry stew with succulent smoked eggplant, teased with a dash of fresh dill and slivers of wood ear mushroom. The Chef consummated the feast with two unique Laotian desserts, Namh Vanh LotSong, a marriage of virginal coconut milk and silken Pandan rice noodles, blushed with the exotic sweetness of palm sugar, and Sung Kaya Khao Kum, sticky rice noir, luxuriating beside a luscious egg custard and smooth coconut cream, dotted with fine crisps of shallot.

Each main course was accentuated by a choice of Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Oriana, a fruity, aromatic white blend with hints of jasmine and anise, or Beerlao Euro Dark Lager, a full- bodied, mahogany, Laotian beer with a caramel background and overall nuttiness. Both libations were excellent companions to the salubrious Laotian cuisine.

In its fullness, Chef Seng treated Chaîne guests to an evening of Laotian gastronomic passion. Fortunately, now that Chaîne members’ appetite for sensuous Laotian cuisine has been aroused, they along with other Washingtonians will soon be able to satiate their Laotian culinary cravings with the opening of Chef Seng’s new restaurant, “Thip Kho,” in the Columbia Heights area of downtown Washington, this fall. In short, Bangkok Golden was a culinary lover’s delight!

What’s next for the lively Greater Washington, D.C., Bailliage? “The Tabard Inn,” and the gastronomic wizardry of its new Executive Chef, Adrian Diday, formerly of Michelin 3 Star restaurant “Daniel,” in New York City, and Sous Chef to the renowned grand master, Daniel Boulud. Undoubtedly, it will be divine!

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