Posted in Restaurant Hopping, The Flavors of Asia

In Which a Thai Favorite Gets a Shrimpy Upgrade…

Bagoong RIce + Prawn Cakes = WIN
Bagoong Rice + Prawn Cakes = WIN

For most tourists visiting Thailand, the bulk of their culinary experience hinges on such things as the classic pad Thai, local salads made with green [unripe] mangoes, green papaya, or pomelo, and tom yam goong.  Since most Westerners aren’t so keen on rice as part of a savory meal and opt instead for the sweet sticky rice with ripe mango slices (khao niaow ma muang), they have not been initiated into the sheer, gustatory pleasure that is khao kluk kapi– stir-fried rice tossed with nam prik (shrimp paste)and served with strips of egg omelet, shredded green mangoes, and diced shallots.

In the Philippines, it is colloquially referred to as bagoong rice as the local spin on fish paste is used by Thai restaurants in lieu of the more incendiary-tasting nam prik.  For many people, it is synonymous with the words “cheap yet flavorful”, a reasonably priced meal with more than a little hint of the exotic.  Bagoong rice only needs a few shreds of sweet, grilled pork, perhaps a few bits of crisply fried fish to turn it into a meal fit for King Bhumibol himself.  One local Thai stall, however, just went a little beyond that…

Thaicoon recently opened at the Zuellig Building’s Laza Food Court and it offers reasonably-priced and satisfying meals from our neighbors in the Golden Triangle.  The saucy take on pad Thai is wondrously tongue-tingling while the Thai salads – crispy catfish and green mango – are both refreshing and make perfect meals for the sultry summer weather we’ve been having of late.  But what I currently like best at Thaicoon is its spin on bagoong rice – it isn’t just bagoong rice, it’s sizzling bagoong rice.

Thaicoon’s ample-portioned offering is cooked fresh to order and plated up on a super-heated cast iron platter with shredded green mango, shallots, shredded carrot, and egg ribbons.  You could get it with sweet pork or crispy fish, but why go for the usual when you can get your platter of khao with some crispy prawn cakes?

These are known as tod mun goong – a spin on the more popular tod mun pla (fish cakes) – and are delectably crispy on the outside, moreish and fluffy within.  The cakes are sweetly savory and taste quite fresh; you can tell that real, fat prawns were used to make them with very little in the way of extenders.  Paired with the savory, flavorful rice, you have yourself a magnificent, even regal lunch.

Thaicoon @ Laza Food Court: 2nd Floor – Zuellig Building, Makati Avenue cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati





Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

2 thoughts on “In Which a Thai Favorite Gets a Shrimpy Upgrade…

  1. Hello “Midge in the Kitchen”, Thank you very much for the write up on Thaicoon. Our first store is in Zuellig Building 2nd floor Laza food court. we are open Monday till friday . Not open on weekends and holidays.
    We will be opening soon in SM North Edsa, Fastfood section and in Lucky China town fastfood section.
    Thank you for liking our food! It means a lot to us.

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