Eastern Thai Cuisine Gets its Glory Thanks to this Thai Family
“I told my friend about the food I had at home and no one knows about it. That memory always stuck to me even as an adult, living overseas, visiting many Thai restaurants abroad and in town, where is Eastern Thai Cuisine?” exclaimed Wongwich ‘Ack’ Sripinyo, who co-founded Sri Trat and Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine along with his wife, Nontawan ‘Taam’ Chitwattanagorn. From the launch of Sri Trat in 2017, the duo became renowned among the local F&B industry, as the power couple who brought an almost-instant fame to Eastern Thai cuisine in Bangkok.
The restaurateur partners originally found inspiration through their beloved matricah; Ack’s mother, Srirat Sripinyo, whose original Eastern Thai cuisine recipes served as the foundation for the Sri Trat menu and since recently, paved a new route to develop their latest culinary concept, Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine and Bar.
“The most important thing that my mom ever taught me, is that to never have bad food,” said Ack .While he didn’t have a specific training in the culinary field, his experiences overseas working at many different restaurants and surprisingly, his experience working at a design agency lead him to find a unique path in approaching Thai cuisine. “I think like a design agency, and with that kind of thinking, you always want to bring something new to the table. Before we started Sri Trat I had this big mind-mapping and ideas going but then I thought to myself, but wait, no one is doing Eastern Thai food from where my family came from,”
Being the son of a policeman, Ack had a chance to travel and relocate all over Thailand, he recalled a memory as a kid telling his classmates about what he eats at home. “I told my friend about the food I had at home and no one knows about it. That memory always stuck to me even as an adult, living overseas, visiting many Thai restaurants abroad and in town, where is Eastern Thai Cuisine?”
“The secret to cooking good food is to add love and care, otherwise the dish wouldn’t be good,” said Srirat Sripinyo, the woman who inspired it all. That extra care can be seen in their signature dish, the Turmeric stir-fried Sand Whiting fish where they removed all of the bones so it’s easier for diners to enjoy every bite of the dish. “Little details like that make Sri Trat unique, we want to give out the feeling of eating at home where your mom cooks for you and she cares about how you would eat. That’s the heart of Sri Trat,” added Ack.
The menu at Sri Trat consists of more than 80 dishes, all from Srirat’s original recipes. With the concept of authentic home cooking in mind, all the components that go into making each dish are either fresh, made in house or sourced from the best local producers. “Our coconut milk and chili pastes are made fresh everyday. Most of our ingredients such as Shrimp Paste and Fish Sauce are imported straight from the East and we never use MSG in our cooking,” said Ack.
One of the classic Eastern Thai dishes not to miss is Stir-fried Chicken Thigh with Aromatic Siam Cardamom, Chilli and Garlic which is rare to come by at any restaurant in Bangkok. Their Crab and Coconut Milk Relish is chock-full of crab meat and herbs with every bite. While there are many other classic dishes naming Herbal Salad with Vinegar-cooked Barracuda and Peanut Brittle Dressing and Minced Pork Patty with Salted Mackerel, there are seasonal dishes and special menu depending on the availability of the ingredients as well.
Last but not least, the homemade, local Thai desserts at Sri Trat is an absolute must. “Many restaurants in Bangkok outsource their desserts from local shops but we believe that you have to end a good meal with a good dessert. It’s like watching a firework after an opera,” said Ack. Sample all that Eastern Thai dessert have to offer in their Dessert Platter consist of Turtle Egg Dessert, Soft Brown Sugar Crepe with Green Bean, Rice Cake Ball and Turmeric-infused Sticky Rice with Dried Shrimp topping.
From the Mangrove forest to bustling Bangkok, the family’s journey doesn’t just end at Sri Trat, but reveals another journey with Burapa Eastern Thai Cuisine and Bar. This departing station takes foodies on a culinary journey, where an imaginary train route, ‘Burapa’ explore and take inspirations from provinces it ran past, but never forget its root where it all started in Trat.
“With Burapa, we started with the same question of why Eastern Thai cuisine is not well known, but at Burapa we have more room to play,” said Taam. “Thailand is full of amazing ingredients so why not highlight all of them? The beginning of the journey is always Eastern Thai region of course but we want to explore how far we can go with flavours and combinations from all over Thailand, and that’s how Burapa started out,”
At Burapa, the tasting menu that changes around 3 months or so leads diners on an imaginary trip burst of familiar flavours that are interpreted in contemporary ways. Bangkok Foodies took a journey to the North at our last visits, where we were greeted warmly with marriage between vibrant Eastern Thai flavours and a more hearty and rich Northern Thai style of cooking. “You see a lot of Thai and European fusions, or Asian inspired dishes from all over the world, but who’s to say that we can’t combine different flavours from 2 different regions within Thailand? It’s for certain that Burapa Express will not be traveling out of Thailand,” added Ack.
While there are many projects in planning for the future for Ack and Taam, it will always come back to their family’s pride; their Eastern Thai cooking heritage. “Most people know Thai food as in Pad Thai, Green Curry, Tom Yum..it’s all Central Thailand food. So the concept of what we do is simple, to showcase Eastern Thai Cuisine the way my family experienced it. Even though Sri Trat and Burapa are different in concept, the heart of them are the same; to create wholesome and good food with the best local ingredients, a little bit rustic and always familiar, like you’re cooking for someone you love. And who wouldn’t like that?” said Ack.
Hours: Tue-Thu, Sun, 5:30PM – 11PM, Fri-Sat, 5:30PM – 12AM (closed on Monday)
Tel: +662 012 1423
26 Soi Sukhumvit 11, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Hours: Mon-Sun, 10:30AM – 9:30PM
Tel: +662 088 0968
90 Sukhumvit 33 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
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