Searching for authentic menus+ Saan review Ponsonby

(For Saan review, scroll down a little to skip my rant)

I find it quite disappointing sometimes, when I visit restaurants and I see on their menu that they have adjusted it to fit Kiwi's taste buds.  This probably means that the meals are not really authentic or taste like what you'll eat in the actual country. It probably means you'll order teriyaki chicken at a japanese restaurant, sweet and sour pork and fried rice at a Chinese restaurant or butter chicken and naan bread at an Indian restaraunt. Theres nothing wrong with these foods, but do they really represent the vibrant, flavourful cuisine of these cultures? I'm pretty sure there is more to Japanese food then teriyaki chicken, California rolls and tempura. How about Chawanmushi (a steamed egg custard), dango, onigiri, sekihan (japanese red bean sticky rice), sakura mochi, chirashizushi or tamogoyaki (japanese rolled omelette). Why don't we see the use of umeboshi plums, shiso leaf, fermented natto bean or raw eggs more often? Is it because it is too much to handle for the delicate Kiwi palate?

I think restaurants should not be scared to offer authentic cuisine, just because it may taste a little different to the average kiwi. There are alot of people out there who want to sample authentic cuisine and are not afraid of bold flavours, blooming spices and exotic fragrances. Yes, it's easy to play safe and order the butter chicken, but who know's what you're missing out on? We need to come out of our comfort zones and try some new things!

Speaking of trying new things, I must introduce you to a new restaurant that has opened on Ponsonby road.  It's called Saan, and it's a thai restaurant.

 You won't find green curry chicken, spring rolls or pad thai here! Thai chef Wichian "Lek" Trirattanavatin opened this thai restaruant because he wanted it to be different to every other thai restaruant in the city. He cooks Isaan and Lanna cuisine of his family, many of his dishes are family recipes that have been passed down many generations. The dishes at Saan are vibrant, zesty and full of contrasting flavours. The restaurant itself is beautiful in it's simplicity. When I step inside, I feel like I'm back in the 1950's in a  island resort in asia.

We ordered a Ab Pla, Pad Pak, Lon Phu Nim and a side of sticky rice.  Ab Pla was a small piece of market fish coated with spices that was cooked in a banana leaf. The banana leaf gave it a lovely fragrance and brung out the flavours of the spices that coated the fish. Pad Pak was a little ordinary, but still nice to eat. Bok choy, straw mushrooms and bean curd stirfried together with some sauces. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing either. Lon Phu Nim was my favourite, it was so delicious! Deep-fried soft shell crab, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside topped with herbs and paired with a coconut curry sauce.
 (Ab Pla)

(Lon Phu Nim)

The staff were friendly, and I liked the open kitchen scheme, which helped bring the food closer to the diners. When we came to visit, the place had only opened for one week, but it was running quite smoothly. I'd recommend you try this place out if you are in ponsonby, or looking to try some authentic south-east asian cuisine. No cashew chicken or fried rice with pineapple here. I will be back soon!

160 Ponsonby Rd



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Hi I'm Cindy.