Bangkok-based Beervana, a specialty beer importer, recently sponsored a Christmas Luau, a Hawaiian feast cooked by chef Tim Butler (from Eat Me restaurant) and hosted at Flow House, Bangkok’s first spot for “indoor surfing” on the FlowRider wave machine. Bangkok Glutton writer Chow invited me to come along for the fun.
It was a warm and windless evening, which didn’t bode well for an outdoor dinner. The location, Flow House Bangkok, is on Sukhumvit Soi 26 near Rama IV Road. It has a nice second floor terrace that overlooks the Flow Rider wave machine and provided a private dining space for our twenty or so diners.
The Flow Rider provided plenty of entertainment, watching the (mostly younger) crowd surf on this high-powered sheet of water. Especially fun was to watch how, when they wiped out, the spray of water would carry them up the ramp and onto the platform at the top of the wave. Looks like fun!
While we waited for dinner to be served, Beervana’s owners plied us with a couple of their imported beers. Beervana searches for unique beers with character. They are typically non-pasteurized and non-filtered and are made by small, independent brewers. While I’m not a beer drinker, several of their beers were very enjoyable and all paired well with the food.
After a bit too long of a wait, the first course arrived, an ahi tuna poke with ginger and chili coconut vinaigrette. Poke is a typical Hawaiian dish generally made with raw fish mixed with various dressings. In this case, the vinaigrette made the poke into more of a ceviche. It was okay in itself but the accompanying beer, an Anderson Valley Poleeko Pale Ale, was excellent.
Second course was a grilled prawn with ogo ogo seaweed salad, basil, and Spam. When preparing prawns for large groups, the risk is that the prawns will be overcooked. In this case, the prawns were actually slightly undercooked. The seaweed salad was underwhelming and the prawn lacked seasoning. The addition of Spam (and cilantro instead of the basil listed on the menu) added nothing to the dish other than a convenient shortcut to make the dish more “Hawaiian”… kind of. Paired with an enjoyable Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale.
The third course was very nice, a spicy lomilomi salmon with heirloom tomatoes and coriander. Lots of lomilomi salmon in Hawaii is served with smoked salmon of so-so smoked salmon and is usually too heavy on the tomatoes. In this case, the salmon was excellent and there was plenty of it. Assertively flavored, it had a nice kick. The course was served with an Anderson Valley Solstice Cream Ale, which tastes heavily of cream soda and didn’t do much for me.
After a long wait, the whole roasted pig was served. It was ostensibly served “family style” but that meant that we needed to walk over to get our plates.
The pig was very flavorful and moist. Pieces of crisp skin were enjoyable but the skin attached to the sliced meat was rubbery. The taro puree and pineapple lime confit, while simple, were nice accompaniments for the pork. This was served with a Rogue Yellow Snow IPA, which was nice but I soon reverted to some more of the Anderson Valley Poleeko Pale Ale served with the first course.
For dessert, we were served vanilla coconut custard with roasted pineapple and rum. This tasted okay but way too much gelatin had been used so the custard was rubbery. The pineapple went well with the custard, though. Served with a Rogue Chocolate Stout that complimented the dessert but I don’t like stout – too bitter for my taste.
All in all, it was a fun evening. It is fun to try a new experience and the idea of pairing beer with food is an interesting one. The beer was a bottomless flow, so if I were more of a beer drinker, it would have been heaven. Instead, it was just a slice of beach in Bangkok.
That’s quite an interesting meal, having Hawaiian cuisine in Bangkok. And watching indoor surfing as well!
I think I’d have liked the dessert.. and maybe the pork – but I never eat the skin. Too much fat!
Salmon and dessert for me. It is interesting pairing beer with the food. I am not a beer drinker but would have enjoyed sampling the different taste and how it added to the food.
Oooo…. this looks like fun! I love beer and watching those hot guys surf. I would recommend they change the name of Rogue Yellow Snow IPA.
I was a bit skeptical about a luau in Bangkok, but that’s not too far from the usual fare—including the dessert. It would be a haupia pudding or custard.
That Flow Rider looks like fun and I wonder if they would allow an old lady to sit on the surf board and surf down. I think I would give that a try.Meal looks good but not the beer. Totally disagrees with me. The pork looks wonderful.From my home to yours, a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.
Prawn and Spam. The Odd Couple. Too bad it didn’t work for you.
The pork looks good! I didn’t get to a luau when we in Hawaii, it just didn’t sound like something I wanted to do. Too bad about the custard. I guess eating out with friends isn’t always all about the food.
Usually the Chinese add red dye to their roast pork. Was there dye added or that was just due to the photography?I wouldn’t know if the Prawns were undercooked or overcooked. Does overcooking them make them tougher?
Looks festive and fun. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Thai style….
lomi salmon without poi?! and what about all the other dishes, like the squid luau or the chicken long-rice? the haupia (coconut dessert) looks good though.i wonder if the kalua pork had the right flavors… traditionally it’s cooked over coals to give it that smokey flavor and crispy skin, but the other thing is that you can’t put the pig directly on the coals or it will burn… chopped up banana stumps are laid down first, and then the meat is wrapped (or covered) in banana leaves. So you end up with this delicious sweet-savory addition to the meat that most kalua pork recipes fail to include.
Merry Christmas!! That looks like such a fun place to have a meal. Any plans to try out that Flow Rider yourself?!
@murisopsis – “If done right, hasn’t most of the fat melted away during the cooking?” he asked with innocent naïveté.@CurryPuffy – Sadly, the selection of surfers didn’t compare with a proper Hawaiian beach. @Fatcat723 – Agreed – I’m not a beer drinker, either, but the nuances of the different types of beers with the different ingredients were interesting to observe.@ElusiveWords – I’d imagine the name was chosen quite purposefully. =P@n_e_i_l – @kunhuo42 – Of course, some corners were cut and some compromises made when it came to authenticity of the luau. For the most part, though, it wasn’t too far off from what I’ve enjoyed in the islands.@Grannys_Place – Thanks for the rec. Yes, I’m sure they would invite you to jump on. If I understand correctly, you start out by kneeling on a wider “boogie board” and then move to more upright positions.@Inciteful – Prawn, Spam, and seaweed – the odd trio!@whyzat – You know, I’ve gone to one proper luau in Hawaii and it was a great experience. The more touristy luau I attended was okay, but the one held at a friend’s family’s compound was fantastic.@PPhilip – I would be very surprised if this chef used any artificial coloring in his roast pig. As for the prawn, yes an overcooked prawn has tough meat and an undercooked prawn is a bit mushy.@armnatmom – Thanks, and a Thai-style Happy New Year to you!@mizz_chan – I received a coupon for a free one hour Flow Rider session. If I could find someone to go with, I would probably try it. Looks like fun.