Chef Chumpol Jangprai and his team at R-HAAN restaurant are dedicated to preserving Thailand’s rich cultural heritage through the practice of age old Thai culinary traditions. Their approach at R-HAAN is based on ancient wisdoms that have shaped courtly Thai cuisine down the centuries and helped it to become the popular global culinary phenomena it is today. A Thai proverb that says, ‘There are fish in the water and rice in the fields’ denotes the fertility of the land and the strong bond that Thai people have to rice. The old saying speaks of an agricultural abundance, a prosperous land of plenty. It is the ethos that drives the culinary concepts of R-HAAN.
The restaurant was established in partnership with Todd Piti Bhirom Bhakdi—scion of the family behind Singha Corp and a self-confessed foodie. Both Todd and chef Chumpol have a commitment to spreading the delights of authentic Thai cuisine, as demonstrated by the three exquisite set menus served at R-HAAN throughout spring, summer and fall of last year. The Samrub Aek, Samrub Tho and Samrub Tri offerings made use of each season’s finest and freshest ingredientsprepared with the chef’s highly developed art of seasoning.
Explaining his five pillars of Thai cooking, the genial chef says, “The first is ingredients—you have to start with the best produce you can buy and at R-HAAN we begin our food prep early each morning by shopping at local markets for the best fresh meats, fish and vegetables. Secondly, you need to be spot on with seasonings. They also need to be as fresh as possible, which is why we use our own home grown micro herbs and only the best shrimp paste from Krabi and coconut milk from Koh Pha Ngan. Thirdly, you need balance. The cardinal flavours of authentic Thai cuisine—sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy—must be properly in proportion.”
The last two points are less precise, explains the chef, requiring more of a gut instinct. “When you cook you need to control heat properly—the temperature at which the dish cooks against the time in the pan or oven. Finally, you must put passion into your cooking. Turning out a passable tom yum is relatively easy but the reason your mother’s always tasted better than anyone else’s is because she cooked it with love,” he laughs. The chef also highlights cooking techniques, saying that the more authentic they are, the better the food. “Which is why in my kitchen you see old-fashioned Thai-style clay charcoal burners for barbecuing and old woks alongside state-of-the art western-style salamanders and ovens.”
No stranger to culinary accolades, chef Chumpol and R-HAAN recently received a coveted Michelin star in the second Thailand edition of the famous dining guide. “I know Khun Todd is proud that we have a star, we all are in fact. It is a great achievement. But for me, my main focus is keeping our customers happy with great food. The best reward for a chef is seeing people enjoy his creations, patrons who come back for more.”
As with all his menus, chef Chumpol’s winter Samrub is based on the folk wisdoms surrounding Thai food and the availability of seasonal ingredients. Comprising multiple courses—some of which are individual bite-sized items while others are main dishes for sharing—traditional winter produce including steamed new jasmine rice from Yasothon province, Chitralada Palace tilapia, organic pork belly prepared in a Lanna style soup, Maeklong River winter mackerel and red grouper from the Ranong coast star in dishes packed with authentic celebratory flavours.
131 Sukhumvit Soi 53
Open daily 6-11pm