The Lost Food Frontier - Portuguese Food Stand Opens at W District Bangkok

          Bangkok Foodies discovered, by fellow foodies, of a “new”, as in, “only”, Portuguese food stand which has just opened up at W District. Now, how many of us are ignorant to what in-fact, genuine Portuguese food embodies?

          I’m the first to put my hand up and I guaranteed scores of other local Foodies who don’t know a bifanarissóis to a rissóis. Well luckily for us, one of those foodies who outed the new food shack, happens to be Portuguese herself.

Credit: Paula Machado

          Paula Machado said of the new food shack, “you feel immediately home. The smell that comes out of the kitchen brings all your memories back and instantly you have a smile on your face!”

          But how does it taste we asked, “Portuguese food is very tasteful and with strong flavors. And for someone that was born in Portugal, we can be very picky about the quality of “real” Portuguese food… but the flavors at Tasquinha are there, the textures, just like my mom and grandma cooked for me….You can’t even tell that you are on another continent.”!

Credit: Paula Machado

          Meanwhile another (non-Portuguese) foodie dying to share the news, messaged our inbox with simply, “f**king tasty AF” (you know who you are). Those bold statements by legit foodies, had us so curious, we were obliged to investigate further.

          Bangkok Foodies got a hold of the owner João Viegas Mourão Gomes, who enlightens us about how influential (and lost) Portuguese food has been to Thailand, starting with the introduction of chili.

FULL NAME:FULL NAME: João Viegas Mourão Gomes and Vânia Gomes

OCCUPATION: Former Portuguese Police, now owner and Chef at Tasquinha with Vânia, former Baker Chef.

OCCUPATION: Former Portuguese Police, now owner and chef at Tasquinha

BUSINESS: Tasquinha (Food Stand)

LOCATION: Phra Khanong – W District

BFK: What inspired you to open a Portuguese food stand?

          JVMG: What really inspired me was the 500 years history between Thailand and Portugal, and the fact that 400 years were lost in between the 2 countries. Since my first visit to thailand 8 years ago, i asked myself how come there aren’t more Portuguese products and food all over Thailand?? Portuguese people were the first to come to Siam, the first community that settled at Ayutthaya and helped Rama II, we brought the Spicy Chilli to Thailand, the angel hair (sugared strands of egg yolk) and some other recipes. So that was my original inspiration. Starting with a humble food stand and typical portuguese food with no fancy recipes and real flavors is my bet for now.

BKF: It seems very little to no Portuguese restaurants are available in Bangkok, or if so, where do you go to have Portuguese food in Bangkok?

          JVMG: That is an amazing truth, and part of my answer to that was on the previous question. Anyway, i can point just one that recently open, with the help of my wife Vânia and Me, the “La Portugália” restaurant is the first one to serve original Portuguese food, belongs to Chef Carlos, also owner of the only Portuguese import/export company in Thailand. It’s located at Sutthisan, opened about 1 month ago.

BKF: What can people expect of Portuguese dishes?

          JVMG: What can i say? Portuguese food, goes from a simple bread with pork meat, better known as a Bifana, to an elaborated Francesinha on a dish, full of a secret sauce, various meats and melted cheese. Another world known dish is the Portuguese Cod Fish, made in 1000 different ways, just pick one. To add a note Portuguese cod fish is salt dried, not fresh fish, salted the way Portuguese Sailors did 500 years ago to preserve the fish for the long discovery voyages across the globe.

BKF: What style of dishes do you serve at your food stand?

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          JVMG: At the Food stand I serve finger foods, no fancy dishes or anything gourmet. For start i have the fried patties or pastry, with different fillings, the well known chorizo bread, also with cheese and the favorite Bifana sandwich. And also some desserts, one of them the world famous Pastel de Nata or Egg Tart, but only the Original Portuguese.

Credit: Paula Machado

BKF: What is most misunderstood about Portuguese food locally and/or globally?

          JVMG: Honestly i think it’s only because of World history in itself, Portugal is such a small country, next to Spain, that most of the world don’t even recognize it on the map. And maybe also because of our own way of living, very peaceful and down to earth people. We discovered the World and since then we just laid back at our own coast catching the sun. Not generalizing of course.

BKF: Will you provide ingredients or dishes that are totally unique to the Bangkok Foodies?

          JVMG: As far as possible and to my knowledge, yes of course i will be glad to provide everything.

BKF: What do you hope to achieve with introducing Portuguese food to Bangkok?

          JVMG: I just wish that Portuguese food and its history is properly introduced and known across Asia, we are not only some half a dozen sweets and a couple of dishes.

BKF: What are the price range of your dishes?

          JVMG: Our price range goes from 50 thb to 200 thb.

BKF: What does Tasquinha mean?

   Tasquinha is like a modest establishment that sells snacks or a tavern where people gather to drink and eat simple food. In Portugal is like an everyday place to go after after work and relax, or first thing in the morning for a fast snack. Tasquinhar ( verb) (tasquinhar is the act of going to a tasca and eat and drink with friends).  

TASQUINHA OPENING HOURS: 5.00 PM – 11.30 PM

WEBSITE/FB PAGE: Tasquinha

EMAIL: tasquinhabkk@gmail.com

PHONE: 0627753412

          And for the ultra curious, Paula Machado has kindly offered to describe some dishes in detail. It’s quite evident that the Portuguese share the same deep passion for food – and even further – a love of food history, which they are anxious to share and educate, to lead us out of the dark. 

          Bifana: This is one of the most known and enjoyable dishes in Portugal. The meat is set in a marinade full of flavor and then cooked and set on a bread, with all the sauce that turns it into a piece of heaven, with a fried egg and cheese.  It makes your stomach smile and you feel so comfy.

          
Rissóis: Best snack ever! This is what your mom and grandmother send you on the lunch bag and you know immediately your day is going to be a good one! You make a doe with butter, flour, and milk with some seasoning (secret recipe for every family) and then stretch it till it is thin but firm and fill with several types of meat or vegetables. Pork, chicken, shrimp, anything you might be into. Then the last magic touch is deep fry them!

          
Chocolate Mousse: A very indulgent dessert in Portugal. You will see this desert in every single family dinner, and it is always a must at the restaurant. We do it in the traditional way, everything is made from scratch with lots of love. That is what gives the mousse the creamy texture and rich flavor. In Portugal, we give it a twist adding a zip of Whisky or Brandy to the mousse, wisp it well and make sure you always have an espresso with you.