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Vol. XV No. 26
Friday June 29 - July 5, 2007


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by Saichon Paewsoongnern



Bali Hai

Chinese for romance?

   by Miss Terry Dinerner

The name Bali Hai is one steeped in history and romance. It is a song (by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) from the musical South Pacific (1949 on Broadway and 1958 as a movie). It is also an enduring restaurant on San Diego’s Shelter Island, which opened in 1954. Getting closer to home, but still historical and romantic, is the Bali Hai restaurant in South Pattaya which opened in 1970 and has been at its relocation on the bayside of Siam Bayshore Hotel for over 20 years. It is so much of a local icon that the new Pattaya pier was named the Bali Hai pier.

So with that historical introduction, the Dining Out Team arrived at the Siam Bayshore Resort looking forward to a Bali Hai evening (by the way, the Siam Bayshore has had an extensive make-over, and is all clean and bright and very inviting).
The restaurant is set out in the area between the very top end of Walking Street and the Siam Bayshore and the waters of Pattaya Bay. Tables are dotted around between the palm trees, a waterfall and free standing rotundas. We arrived at 7 p.m. and the sun had just gone down, but there was still that luminescent glow in the sky, and it truly was romantic. I began to hum the chorus from Perry Como’s version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Yes, that romantic!
We chose a table under two palm trees close to the beach and sat back with an aperitif and absorbed the calmness of the venue. It was difficult to imagine that only a few hundred meters away there lay the noise, bustle and hustle of Walking Street’s bar area. We just might have been on an island paradise.

After our reverie, it was difficult to get back to the serious business of restaurant reviewing. I felt like throwing away the notebook and just relaxing. It is that kind of a restaurant, but in the name of investigative journalism, the Dining Out Team persevered.
Bali Hai’s cuisine is predominantly Chinese, though you can order items from the other Siam Bayshore restaurants, but we stuck with the Chinese. The menu also gives you around 100 choices, with many able to be ordered as small, medium or large.
Eleven hors d’oeuvres begin the list with most around B. 165, with standards such as cold chicken in Chinese wine at B. 175. These are followed by 11 soups, with most under B. 100, but for the shark-fin choices you pay a hefty premium.
The rest of the menu (75 items) covers all the usual Chinese favorites, and again reasonably priced.
The wine list is not extensive at 14 reds and 14 whites, but covers both old and new worlds, and most well under B. 1,500.
We began with a prawn toast, which arrived with two small side dishes per person. One with ground pepper and the other with sweet plum sauce. Sprinkle the pepper over the toast and then drizzle on some plum sauce as well. A wonderfully contrasting combination, and a great palate reviver.
This was followed by the Szechwan soup (B. 115), a great example of the spicy, full-bodied soup, served in bowls held in silver containers. Very elegant.
We then dined on Peking Duck, the archetypal Chinese delicacy and at B. 795 not expensive feeding three to four persons. This was followed by braised bean curd with minced pork. This was probably my favorite dish of the evening, and at B. 115, a real bargain.
We finished with Irish coffee and just savoring the fresh cooling breezes. A great night.
I have always believed that food should be fun, and the Bali Hai supplied both. High quality Chinese food delivered in a very pleasant atmosphere, and the prices have been kept very reasonable. It would be hard to imagine someone not enjoying this tropical ambience. Parking is easy in the hotel grounds and I consider Bali Hai to be well worth a visit.
Bali Hai, Siam Bayshore Resort, top end of Walking Street, Beach Road, Pattaya, telephone 038 428 678-81, fax: 038 428 730, email: [email protected], open seven days, 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Coconut Prawns

BBQ’s are always very popular. People like to stand around the BBQ (men in particular) with a beer, and chat. This recipe allows plenty of chat time, and also uses a can of beer, so keep one aside for the beer batter. The only secret here is to select the best, plumpest prawns from your supplier or supermarket. Around 8-10 cm long after removing the head is a fair indication, and fresh is best with seafood.

Cooking Method:
Remove head and de-shell prawns. Split prawns lengthwise down to tail with a sharp knife, but do not remove tail. Combine lime juice, salt, curry powder and ginger in a small bowl. Add prawns, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To prepare coconut coating, lightly toast coconut on cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside. In another bowl, mix beer, flour, white pepper, sugar and paprika to make the batter.
Heat oil in heavy pan. Dip prawns in batter and fry until brown. Roll immediately in toasted coconut. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.

Ingredients                Serves 6
Large prawns,
de-veined, tails on            36
Lime juice                       ¼ cup
Salt                                ½ tspn
Curry powder                  1 tspn
Ginger                            ½ tspn
Grated coconut               2 cups
Beer                               330 mls
Flour                              3 cups
White pepper                  ½ tspn
Sugar                             1 tbspn
Paprika                          2 tbspns
Oil                                 2 cups

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