What is Royal Thai Cuisine

What is Royal Thai Cuisine?

One of the core differences that sets Baan Lao apart is our commitment to offering Royal Thai Cuisine. Recognized as the apex of Thai cuisine, Royal Thai Cuisine is quite complex, prepared to specific rules and exacting standards, as established by the requirements for meals served to the Thai royal family.

From the ingredients, to the preparation, and through to the presentation, it elevates the Thai dining experience and few restaurants will even attempt to meet the standards. Yet that’s the commitment of Chef Nutcha Phanthoupheng at Baan Lao Fine Thai Cuisine in Steveston, the charming fishing village just outside downtown Vancouver.

“When I decided to pursue a career as a chef, I was fortunate to have private cooking courses with Chef Chumpol Jangprai, the Iron Chef of Thailand and the only two Michelin star Thai chef in the world. It was an extraordinary experience!

I continued my training under Chef Vichit Mukura. Renowned across Thailand, he has earned a Michelin star and served the Thai Royal family. I’m in awe of his creations.

I’m honoured and humbled to have these two extraordinary chefs as my mentors. They continue to help guide and counsel me as I’m creating new dishes for Baan Lao.”

Preparation of Royal Thai Cuisine dictates adherence to very specific criteria, including:

  • All ingredients must be of the highest quality
  • Ingredients should be organic, whenever possible
  • Fruits and vegetables must be peeled, skinned, pitted or seeds removed
  • Fruits and vegetables to be prepared together must all be the same size, regardless of how they will be served
  • Meat should be deboned, with fat and sinew trimmed
  • Fish is filleted and deboned
  • Curry pastes are made fresh, using a mortar and pestle to create a smooth texture
For Royal Thai Cuisine, fresh, organic ingredients are essential

Chef Nutcha Phanthoupheng insists on doing her own shopping for the restaurant, spending hours each week sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients. In addition to growing fresh herbs on the living wall at Baan Lao, and harvesting a range of produce from the organic garden in her backyard, she also owns a cultivator to produce the microgreens needed for her creations.

She personally visits each supplier before committing to a partnership with them. And with her belief in our responsibility for sustainability and protecting the health of the planet, she carefully evaluates each supplier’s growing, harvesting, and packaging methods.

Though many people believe Thai food is spicy, Royal Thai Cuisine must be perfectly balanced, absent of excessive heat or overwhelming spice.

As such, you won’t find over-the-top spicy dishes at Baan Lao. Chef Nutcha Phanthoupheng delicately balances each flavour, rather than introducing heavy, hot spices. As each bite glides along the palette, the intricate, nuanced layering of flavours is delicately revealed.

Additionally, Royal Thai Cuisine requires an elegant presentation aesthetic. Baan Lao guests rave about the dramatic presentations and beautiful garnishes that adorn of each dish during the Signature Dinner Experience.

Her beautifully balanced flavours and breathtaking, artistic presentation has not gone unnoticed by restaurant critics.

“The food was magnificent, with each dish presented and served in a distinctly artistic manner. It was like going to the theatre and being surprised again and again and again,” said Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight in his article, Golden Plates 2021: Chef Nutcha Phanthoupheng wows diners at Baan Lao Fine Thai Cuisine in Steveston.

Alexandra Gill, restaurant critic at Globe & Mail, selected Chef Nutcha’s Sohm Dtam as one of Vancouver’s 12 Best Bites of 2021, describing it as,

Lilliputian morsels of fresh green papaya were carved into cylinders, tossed in zesty lime dressing, adorned with an itsy-bitsy bouquet of edible flowers, cucumber and bird’s eye chili appliquéd with tweezers. It was set on a spoon in a thimble of tomato water that exploded with a pinpoint balance of sweet, salty, spicy and sour notes

Restaurant critic Mia Stainsby describes how Baan Lao Fine Thai Cuisine surpasses some other renowned Thai restaurants, noting others don’t have “…dishes making a diva entrance in an ethereal swirl of dry ice like at Baan Lao, or white-gloved servers, or tom yum soup broth suctioning its way through herbs in a siphon coffee maker. Or cutlery and dishes like those used by the Thai royal family. Or a table-side welcome by a Thai dancer, fingers curled in balletic backbends,” in her Vancouver Sun and The Province review, “This Richmond Thai restaurant aims to be the best in North America.”

Yes, in a nod to the commitment to Royal Thai Cuisine, Baan Lao selected and imported the same cutlery as that used by the Thai royal family – minus their crest, of course.

At Baan Lao Fine Thai Cuisine, every bite is made fresh each day, with Chef Nutcha Phanthoupheng at the helm in the kitchen. She revels in the precise, sometimes onerous requirements of preparing Royal Thai Cuisine for her guests. It’s a labour of love for her.