By The Nation
Authentic and satisfying, Dragon Luxury hits all the right flavour notes
BANGKOK DINERS can save themselves the expense of a flight to Hong Kong and instead tuck into the excellent Chinese cuisine at Dragon Luxury, a restaurant at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel, not far from Don Mueang Airport.
Decked out luxuriously in the modern style with warm tones all around, Dragon Luxury has six VIP rooms for added privacy and luncheon meetings.
Each has a round table big enough for eight people, and the centre portion rotates to keep the dishes in easy reach. There are also sofas. Two of these rooms can open up and be joined together, making space for up to 40 guests.
Thanarak “Pom” Shuto – Thailand’s Iron Chef when it comes to Chinese food – was in the kitchen here for the restaurant’s first year. Now, Thanakorn Khutrakulthammongkol, who has more than 30 years’ experience in Chinese cuisine, is working his own magic with the same menu created by Pom.
On my recent visit I was marvelling from the start with bacon cooked in a sour-and-spicy sauce. The next appetiser took the form of varied dim sum dishes, including Steamed Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (Bt109), with soup encased in the bun.
The buns are served individually on spoons, so I had five spoons lined up neatly on a wooden steaming tray. You have to be careful because the soup is hot, so sip slowly before chewing on the bun.
Next up was Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (Bt160). The shrimp, wrapped in a flour dumpling, was lovely and fresh. The restaurant’s signature salty sauce, made with shrimp paste, adds a delicious piquancy to the dumpling.
The same held true with Steamed Pork Dumpling with Abalone (Bt190), very pleasing with the fish resting atop the dumpling.
I also tried four a-la-carte dishes – Peking Duck, Wok-tossed Egg Noodles with XO Spicy Sauce and Seafood, Steamed Snow Fish with Lime and Chilli, and Crispy-fried River Shrimp with Garlic Five Spicy Sauces.
A large bird goes into the Peking Duck (Bt1,200), which is thoroughly seasoned and roasted in such a way that the skin is crispy and the meat is not too oily. The skin, redolent with herbs, is rolled up in flour wrappers and served with the signature sauce, a blissful compound experience of taste and texture.
The kitchen will prepare the meat in any of several ways, as you prefer. You can have it fried with garlic or with black pepper or, as recommended, fried after a soaking in fish sauce. The crisped, browned meat smells wonderful and can be enjoyed with rice or chilli sauce.
The Steamed Snow Fish (Bt1,400 for 400 grams, Bt350 for 100 grams) is equally enjoyable in its dressing of sour lime and spicy chillies. Chef Thanakorn explained with a smile that he overcomes the fishy smell by dousing it with boiling water before it’s steamed.
The Crispy-fried River Shrimp (Bt500 per shrimp) is outstandingly fresh. The mid-size shrimps are splayed and fried so the peels are crisp, and then cooked with garlic and five-spice sauce, a great contrast to the shellfish’s natural sweetness.
Thanakorn pointed out that there are two kinds of noodles in Wok-tossed Egg Noodles – both fried and crispy and fried and soft. The XO sauce is of course the classic Chinese mix of aromatic herbs and has nothing to do with the brandy.
I finished up with the restaurant’s signature dessert, Chinese Jujube Pancake (Bt400 for a serving big enough for four people). The pancake is decorated with colourful strawberry sauce, which, as Thanakorn noted, provides a nice sour contrast to the sweetness of the pancake.
The price of the dim sum buffet at lunchtime is discounted by 30 per cent all this month (you pay Bt483 rather than Bt690). All a-la-carte dishes are reduced by the same amount except the Peking Duck, on sale at half the usual price.
DON’T SKIP THE JUJUBE PANCAKE
Dragon Luxury is at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel and open for lunch from 11.30 to 2.30 and dinner from 6 to 10.30.
The hotel is on Khampaengphet 6 Road in Lak Si, in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district.
Book a table at (02) 575 5599 or http://th.MiracleGrandHotel.com.