Creator of Bangkok Viral Burger Discovers the “Perfect” Fries | Bangkok Foodies
Thin and crispy, crinkled, steak cut or smothered in cheese? You would think that making French Fries is an easy and straightforward task, but for Chef Taiki Rattanapong at Homeburg it’s both science and art. In 2018 his take on classic American burger exploded on the internet. The previous location of Homeburg in Onnut only served 4 burgers a day and had a wait list of 1000 people, making Taiki’s iconic long hair, beanie and spectacled image, a common face among discerning foodies in Bangkok.
Recently, Taiki is back in his food lab once again and after 2 months and more than 200 potatoes later, his quest for the perfect fries has almost come to a fruition, and Bangkok Foodies were on the scene with Taiki to hear all about it.
Don’t try to make this while you’re hungry, because the whole process of creating his perfect fries took roughly about 6 hours. Taiki was inspired by Heston Blumenthal & Modernist Cuisine in Bellevue, Washington. Not only the timing has to be right, but the technique has to be perfect as well. “If you get the timing and technique right, anyone can cook any dishes perfectly. To me cooking is all about the science and everything else comes after, like flavours, people have their own preferences so they can adjust to taste but if you don’t have your time and technique right to get certain results, it won’t happen,” said Taiki.
As you may have guessed, all fries started as potatoes and to get the perfect fries, the type of potato used in cooking, more than matters. “After experimenting with both imported and local potatoes, we decided to use Thai potatoes from Chiang Mai here because it gives a bit more of a potatoey taste,” said Taiki. Then math comes into play; each fries has to be cut to exactly 1.5 cm and rinsed until the water runs clear, the potatoes are added to a rapidly boiled water for 20 minutes then let to cool.
This is where things get interesting and science fiction-like, the key component for Taiki to create that perfect fries is…wait for it… an ultrasonic jewellery cleaning machine! “I had to explain to the guy who sold this machine to me for 2 hours about how I would use it,” Taiki laughed. The machine created different levels of ultrasonic waves to shake the water to create air bubbles which scrubs and blows the surface of the potatoes, leaving it with a fine and fuzzy texture. After Taiki leaves the potatoes resting inside for 1:30 hour, they’re ready to go into the fryer.
“We will fry the potatoes twice, this first round we use very low heat at around 170 °C for 3 minutes to get rid of the excess moisture on the surface because to make them crispy, the surface of the potato has to be dry,” said Taiki. After the first fry, the waiting game begins. Taiki freezes the fries until ready to use, which is usually by the next day. When the fries are ready to serve, the second round of frying will be at 200 °C for 5 minutes. “200 °C is hot enough to give fries the golden brown colour, and also the hotter the oil, lesser greasy it will be because the moisture is evaporating from the surface of the fries very very quickly,” The fries are best served fresh although Taiki mentioned that it will be stay good and crispy for a few hours. Dip it in the homemade mayo or ketchup!
The result? The “perfect” fries’ come out in a nice golden shade, the texture is light and crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. If Bangkok Foodies are curious to give it a try, Chef Taiki is planning to open the door to Homburg again in March with a 4 seats capacity, twice a day ( 2 rounds ) and secured only via reservation! Not only will foodies get to sample the “perfect” fries and see for yourself, but you’ll get to have Chef Taiki’s signature burger along with appetisers and dessert as well.
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