a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thai cuisine brewed right

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The delicate blend of flavors that gives Thai food its appeal can be found in the country’s most-popular brand of beer.
is a barley malt that has the right amount of cinnamon, flower and lemon additives that have helped to crown it the No. 1 beer of Thailand. It’s a product of Boon Rawd Brewery of Bangkok and brought to the United States by the Paleewong Trading Co. It’s a great compliment to Thai cuisine wherever it is served, especially in Pittsburgh, which seems to have more Asian restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States.

Tapas, or small plates of food, continue to draw me to the Silk Elephant in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill district. On my last stop there, I had Tom Kah, a delicious coconut broth with shrimp, mushrooms and peppers, and roasted leg of lamb swimming in green curry sauce with steamed vegetables.

Thai food has a perfect balance of aromatic ingredients that are spicy, sweet, salty, bitter and sour, my server said while offering her reasons for loving the food.
“You taste it and think, ‘Oh. What is that?’” she said. Often it’s the fresh, rather than dried, basil and lime leaf that give the food its distinctive character, she added.
The Silk Elephant is casual and intimate yet classy with its high-back, upholstered chairs and silk draperies. The servers are young and hip. The soup, which came with three large shrimp, cost $4.65, while the lamb had a price of $7.95. The bottle of Singha was well worth $5.50.

The restaurant is located at 1712 Murray Ave. For information call 412-421-8801.

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