On Friday 16th June 1995. Volume 37.

PRONOUNCED "sa-wa-di",Sawasdee is actually a Thai greeting similar to Hawaii's Aloba and our very own Mabubay.

Quite appropriate, too. Indeed, Sawasdee, the fine dining restaurant located at the fifth level of the Edsa Shangri- La Plaza, has Thailand written all over it. From the traditional greeting to the authentic oriental interiors to the soothing stringsbased piped-in music rignt down to the preodominantly hot, spicy and exotic flavor of both appertizers and entrees, there is virtually nothing un-Thai about Sawasdee.

The secret lies not only in the restaurant's lone Thai chef but also in the authentic Thai ingredients such as coriander leaves, lemon grass, chili, Kaffir line leaves and galangal-all of which are sourced directly from Bangkok.

" Unlike the other Thai restaurants in the city which have lately Filipinized the taste of their dishes by using local ingredients, our chef refuses to compromise the pure Thai quality of our dishes ", says Erylnn Campos, one of the 3 " partners " who operateSawasdee.

" Sometimes we even have customers who suggest that we make this dish sweeter or to cook it in this or that manner or make it less spicy," adds the charming Ave Ignacio, another partner. " But as much as we want to accommodate them, we simply couldn't divert from the original Thai recipe. Even the bagoong or shrimp paste that we use for our rice dishes has to be 100 percent Thai or our chef wouldn't use it "

Such steadfast attitude has eventually paid off for Sawasdee. Since it was set up three years ago, the restaurant has enjoyed a small but steady following among the upscale diners of Greenhills ( where the restaurant was initially located ) and the cellular-toting executives of Ortigas and Mandaluyong, not to mention the expats and tourists ( especially Thai nationals ) currently billeted at the adjacent Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.

For many good reasons, too. For starters, there's the Porpia Tod, spring rolls filled with glass noodles, mushrooms, ground pork, shrimp and bean sprouts or the Porpia Sawasdee, the restaurant's own special seafood lumpia served like a pizza. Then you can literally work out a sweat with the Thai soups, the best of which is either the Tom Yam, a classic hot and sour soup with your choice of prawn, chicken or fish fillings, lemon grass, galangal, coriander, herbs and spices or the Tom Kba, the same hot and sour soup with either prawns or chicken, coconut milk and galangal.

As for the main course, there are countless combinations to choose from. We tried combining the Kbao Klu Kapi, a Thai fried rice with shrimp paste served with sweet pork, crispy dry shrimp and shredded green mangoes with the Tod Man Goong, a delicious deep fried shrimp cake with sweet and sour sauce and Sawasdee's speciality of the month, the Gai Ob Nga, a Thai Fried Spiced Chicken with sesame red wine sauce.

" Every month, we come out with our own specially dish," Erlyn continues. " If the specialty becomes popular with our diners, we either wxtend them to another month like our Gai Ob Nga or we bring them back within the year."

Aside from the above mentioned dishes,Sawasdee offers plenty more. There's a good number of salad specials, all served on a bed of fresh vegetables. There's a wide variety of vegetable dishes, fish and seafoods, meat and poultrym curries, rice and moodles. And there's the usual line of beverages but for a total Thai dining experience, Ave recommends the Thai Iced Coffee or Thai Iced Tea. Beer and spirits are also available in limited servings.

Written by ...
Edwin P. Sallan
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