Tastebuds

A food blog from everywhere!

Banana Leaf Curry House

Banana Leaf Curry House

Location: 5/F, World Trade Plaza, Huanshi Dong Rd. (环市东路371-375号世贸大厦五楼)

Telephone: 8776 3738


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The one thing that peeves me a lot about food blogs is the lack of accompanying photographs; eating is after all a 50% visual experience! Unfortunately, sometimes I will have to be hypocritical and fail to post photos but I’ll try to keep such posts to a minimum.

A few days ago we were feeling up for some Thai, so my family decided to head to the Banana Leaf Thai restaurant near the Garden Hotel. Banana Leaf is sort of like a franchise with six locations in Guangzhou and three in Shanghai. However, despite that the food here is still pretty good. Authentic, I don’t know, but good, yes.

The decor of the restaurant is very nice. They have a stream running through a part of the dining area with fake market boats floating atop to recreate a traditional Thai floating market. There is a sort of open kitchen at the side with chefs making roti and drinks. Thanks with live seafood were located near the stream, clearly an element catered towards the Chinese obsession with freshness.

Banana Leaf is a loud restaurant. Every night they have a troop of singers who make a huge racket by singing and trying to get people to dance to their songs. It isn’t the place to enjoy a quiet meal.

Service here is very fast. Our food started arriving approximately 10 minutes after we put in our orders.

First was the prawn curry. I really liked this dish. The prawns were flavourful and succulent though I did have to struggle to get the meat out of the hard shells. The winning element of the dish was the curry sauce, which was mild and flavourful and quite rich. Probably not how authentic Thai curry should be but we all enjoyed it enormously. Dipping anything in that sauce makes even the most bland items taste exciting.

Next came some sort of stir-fried curried lamb. The portion was extremely small compared to the photo in the menu. I didn’t really like this dish. It had an interesting array of spices with a splash of acidity but I found it to be too dry. Perhaps I was expecting something bathed in curry and this didn’t fulfill my expectations.

Then came a whole array of dishes. The water spinach stir-fried with sambal was very good and flavourful, though a tad on the oily side.

The roti prata came served with a curry dipping sauce. I didn’t really like the roti; it tasted stale for some reason, even though it was freshly made to order. Perhaps it wasn’t stale but just overly dry…or maybe I just picked the wrong pieces because some of the pieces at the bottom of the basket were brushed with butter. The curry dipping sauce was very different from the curry sauce with the prawns; it was a whole lot stronger spice-wise and oilier. We all preferred the prawn curry over the curry dipping sauce.

The stewed pumpkin with mushrooms was my favourite dish of the night. It consisted of a whole pumpkin stewed and stuffed with stir-fried mushrooms. The mushrooms had a ton of flavour and imparted some of that to the pumpkin so the whole dish tasted wonderful. Well, maybe I’m being partial since I love vegetables, especially pumpkins, but it was a very good dish in its own right.

I also ordered a drink, the red bean and grass jelly with coconut milk. I order this everytime I visit South-east Asian restaurants. The one at Banana Leaf wasn’t that good. It was sloppily assembled and there wasn’t enough ice.

The thing with ethnic restaurants in China is that courses never come in order. The combination satay, which was listed as an appetizer, was the last dish served. There were five different satays (fish, chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp) served with a curry dipping sauce. The satay didn’t taste like satay…it seemed pan-fried as opposed to BBQed. I only tried the beef and the shrimp and there was nothing special about them. The meat wasn’t spiced like it should be so it tasted bland without the curry dip. The shrimp satay had a weird taste…I actually spitted it back out….Also, the curry dip wasn’t very good. I was a little peeved that they didn’t serve the satay with peanut dipping sauce as is traditional.

Overall, the good was decent, but probably not good enough to get me coming back too often. The bill came up to about 260RMB.

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Guangzhou, Restaurants, Thai | , , , | Leave a comment