We love Thai food at the Vegan Food Quest, it’s a cuisine that stands up well to being veganised and you can still get to experience that beautifully balanced mix of flavour sensations when you use only plant-based ingredients.
So when we were heading to Benz for dinner we were already expecting some amazing vegan food. After all, we were going to be eating one of our favourite cuisines, prepared by the Head Chef at Soneva Kiri’s signature Thai restaurant and, in case you didn’t already know, you can read here about how everything at Soneva Kiri is amazing.
What we weren’t expecting was to be served a 9 course vegan tasting menu containing some of the best Thai vegan food we’ve ever tasted.
The Vegan Food
After some fun, colour changing Butterfly Pea tea to start (it magically changed colour when lime was added – aren’t plants cool?); we were ready to get started on our first course, ‘Mieng Kham’; a traditional Thai dish which is often sold as a snack on the street and which we’d never tried before.
‘Mieng Kham’ means ‘eating many things in one bite’; this is definitely our kind of vegan food! We received a platter with toasted coconut, ginger, shallots, fresh chilies, crushed peanuts and diced limes, a palm sugar sauce and a bunch of green leaves. We then set about making a little parcel from a leaf and filling it with a little of each ingredient, a strangely fun activity that all foodies will surely enjoy.
The result was awesome; an explosion of spicy, zesty, sweet, toasty, nutty, ‘green’ flavours bursting out with every chew (you gotta pop it in your mouth in one go).
We were definitely off to a good start…
A plateful of crispy fried morning glory served on a lemongrass and tofu salad came next and our journey to vegan Thai food heaven was complete. For a start, we love fried food and so when it’s done this well, we get really, really happy.
Light, crispy, battered Morning Glory sat atop an insanely delicious lemongrass based salad with flavours of chilli, pepper, lime and peanuts running through. Throw in some tofu for a balance of texture and you have yourself one of those perfect dishes where every forkful is pure, vegan bliss.
As we’d already eaten all the of the fried morning glory dish, we discussed just eating a little of our next course, ‘Thod Man Hua Plee’ (crispy banana blossom) but it was too good, so we ate it all. The fritters had fresh shredded lime leaves running through them and were just so moreish with the spicy, palm sugary lime and chill dipping sauce, that they were gone before we realised it.
The menu at Benz was definitely crafted with balance in mind as our next course was a, healthy and cleansing soup.
Made from ‘Tum Lueng’ (Ivy Gourd) leaves that were grow wild in Soneva Kiri’s Eco-Centro garden, this light clear soup was surprisingly flavoursome. The leaves were dense with green goodness and had a smooth firm texture; delicate mushrooms floated in the broth.
The soup was followed by more plant based delights; a tofu packed stir-fry, fresh sugar snap peas, spicy rice noodles and high protein Jasberry rice. We were getting seriously full but everything tasted too good to miss and it was a great opportunity to try foods that we don’t often see on other restaurant menus.
We’d eaten a veritable vegan food mountain and still had two dessert courses to go, a platter of organic seasonal fruits and a bowl of ‘Bua Loi’, which translated means ‘floating lotus’.
Small, sweet, glutinous rice flour dumplings flavoured with pandan and carrot floated in a sweet, creamy coconut ‘soup’. Because the name was so pretty and the dessert contained pandan, one of our favourite South East Asian flavours, we were charmed instantly.
But we really fell in love after the first spoonful
‘Bua Loi’ is a really popular dessert in Thailand and if you taste it you’ll know why. The rice dumplings were soft yet exquisitely chewy, the delicious pine-vanilla-cut-grass indescribable flavour of the pandan floating about in that creamy coconut soup is a dessert experience to be savoured. We love it when traditional, well loved food is crafted by a Chef who’s as talented as Khun Benz. It always means you’re in for a treat.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict
Book a table at Benz for an education in vegan Thai food where you’ll get to eat traditional Thai dishes crafted with skill and care by Khun Benz and her team, using the very finest plant-based ingredients.
Sit back and enjoy a well balanced vegan tasting menu, packed with all the sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours that makes Thai food so awesome. If you love Thai food, you’ll adore eating at Benz.
We were guests of Benz but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views
Telephone: +66 (0) 82 208 8888
Opening Hours: 1830 to 2200 (closed Sunday & Wednesday)