Thai Ladies, Thai Lunch: Thai Square, St Albans

During half term, my mum, Annabelle and I went to visit two close family friends in St Albans. Together we were five Thai ladies, three generations and two families at one place, Thai Square.

Group Shot

The restaurant is a beautiful mix of Thai and English, modern and traditional. The owner, although not Thai, upholds and respects the Buddhas and Ganesha (Ganesh) on display by leaving offerings of milk, orange juice, banana and food.

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You may notice that Ganesh is a Hindu God. My mum, like some Thais pay their respects and pray to many religious deities from around the world. In addition to Ganesh my mum also prays to the Chinese goddess, Guanyin (Phra Mae Kuan Im in Thailand) and Luang Por Khong (a Chinese Monk who helps you find things that you have misplaced). Followers of Guanyin, like my mum do not eat beef. I’m told that this is because cows and buffalo used to work hard on the paddy fields in Asia and it would be unkind to slaughter them after their service for the people.

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We chose a selection of dishes from the lunch specials and à la carte menus. We ordered duck spring rolls, Thai ice tea, and Gai Yang (barbecued chicken) with Som Tum salad (papaya salad) and sticky rice.

Food1

Below left is the Pad Thai prawn with an egg net placed on top. Pictured next to it is tapioca balls with a minced pork filling. It is similar to the Japanese Mochi I wrote about in a previous post, however this is a savoury dish. You don’t need cutlery to eat these, you take one of the little balls, place it in the middle of a lettuce leaf and pop into your mouth.

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The lunchtime set meal resembled a Japanese Bento Box with Tom Yum prawn soup, a spring roll, satay chicken, a vegetable ‘golden bag’, steamed rice, stir-fried mixed vegetables and a main dish. We had stir-fried mince pork with basil and chilli.

The service at Thai Square was first class. Friendly, welcoming and never too busy to assist. A great atmosphere to eat authentic Thai food. What’s your favourite Thai meal and have you tried the pork tapioca dish I mentioned?

Bx

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Grass Jelly Drinks

Grass Jelly

I’d been reminiscing about Asian drinks from my childhood with Mabel over at mabelkwong.com recently, which made me really crave Grass Jelly. I asked my mum to buy it from her local Chinese supermarket, in London for me. There is normally a brand that we buy, I think it’s called Foco, but they didn’t stock it at the shop my mum went to. Instead she bought Chin Chin’s and what caught my attention, which is the main reason I thought I would share this post with you, was that it was banana flavour. Grass Jelly drinks are quite unique tasting anyway and I thought it was made even more so with a hint of banana. Normally, there is a sweet almost honey and herbaceous taste to these beverages and a bit like bubble tea, there are little jelly pieces that sink to the bottom and you need a big straw to help you drink it.

Jelly on a spoon

What I like about this and a lot of Asian drinks is that there are bits to chew as you drink. I really like Foco’s Roasted Coconut juice as this has chopped up coconut flesh and the tapioca jelly balls in bubble tea too. I remember drinking the latter for the first time about 15 years ago on a trip to Thailand. My younger cousin, Bank, took me to Siam Square (a trendy shopping area for students) and I remember liking it so much, I desperately wanted it to be sold in the UK. It wasn’t until my cousin came over here to study at University, about five years later, that I had it again when he took me to a Chinese restaurant that sold it in Chinatown, London.

Have you tried a Grass Jelly drink before and did you like it? Let me know.

Bx