If there's one flavour that absolutely typifies Thai cuisine it has to be lemongrass. Its fragrant and citrusy tones can be found in everything from soups to curries and even salads. Far more subtle and aromatic than using lemon itself, it also goes perfectly with those other staples of the country's cookery: coconut milk, chilli and kaffir lime. So it's hardly a surprise that you'll find lemongrass dishes aplenty on the menus of Thai restaurants everywhere. With so much choice the tricky part is deciding which ones to go for. But luckily for you, we've been searching for the very best and here are our top four choices.
1. Pla Pa Kao - Shogun
Shogun have a spicy treat waiting for you if you're a fan of seafood and it comes with a kick. Their Pla Pa Kao is a classic dish featuring deep-fried fillets of white fish, served with lemongrass, cashew nuts, green mango, hot Thai chillies, aromatic herbs. It's all covered in a rich, hot sauce. You might imagine that all the strong flavours would overpower the lemongrass but it comes through loud and clear, adding to the symphony of tastes in the dish.
2. Ruam Mit Talay - Lemongrass Thai Restaurant
The fantastic combination of citrusy herbs and seafood makes another appearance in this very popular dish from Lemongrass Thai Restaurant. The seafood is lightly steamed, allowing it to be gently infused with the delicate flavour of the lemongrass with contrasting acidity being provided by the slightly sharper lime. Extra herbs add a fragrant note and it's served with their special spiced seafood dip which is mild enough for most but still piquant, giving the dish a subtle lift. It's another winner from this hidden gem of a restaurant.
3. Lemongrass Tofu - Hanoi
Veering off the beaten Thai track a little, for this entry we're going Vietnamese. Even the biggest fans of tofu would have to admit that it can taste a little bland on its own. But the way that they cook the bean curd at Hanoi makes sure that this is never an issue. It's pan-fried to give it some extra texture and it absorbs the flavours of the lemongrass and chilli to create a satisfyingly complex dish. If you're looking for the perfect vegetarian accompaniment to go with it then the water spinach with garlic would be our number one choice.
4. Khao Soi - Fuschia Urban Thai
We're going to wrap things up with a real taste sensation from Fuschia Urban Thai, masters in the art of recreating street food with an extra element of refinement. It's a whole meal in itself, with noodles and chicken in a coconut milk sauce, spiced up with lemongrass, cumin, galangal and turmeric. All of this is topped with crispy, fried noodles, bean sprouts and pickled cabbage. There are so many flavours and textures going on that every forkful brings a different taste sensation. So there's just one word to describe it – sensational!
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