As the excessive usage of plastic containers in delivery service becomes more and more frowned upon, restaurants look to become more environmentally aware or should we say, more “consumer conscious” by converting to biodegradable food containers alternatives. Often these alternatives are made of paper, foil, biodegradable plastic or edible materials. Thailand and a large proportion of South East Asia have used the humble banana leaf as a form of preserving and transporting ready-to-eat food items for many decades now.

Although banana leaf wrap was very common back in the old days of Bangkok, there’s no exact evidence when Thais started using banana leaves to wrap their food because unlike clay pots, bowls and plates, banana leaf wraps are naturally degradable and therefore untraceable but we do know that plastic was never the first option. Bangkok Foodies recently discovered Fried Dining, an eatery located in Khlong Tan Nua Bangkok, had brought this funky biodegradable food “container” back to life. To the eyes of expats and tourists, or even to some millennial Bangkokians, this food packaging may come across as a little bizarre in modern-day food delivery culture.

“We started off with a ramen shop called Chim Ramen and Diner, and on the menu, there is Shrimp Fried Rice (280THB). It was one of the shop’s popular dishes because people order it for delivery a lot so we decided to open a shop just to particularly deliver this dish but the shop shares the kitchen with the ramen shop.” Said the admin of the official Facebook page of Fried Dining. “Later the chef added more rice and fried rice dishes in the menu that aren’t common in the market.”

The Buttered Garlic Crab Fried Rice (280THB), as direct as it sounds, the butter and the garlic truly elevates the taste and aroma to the common Crab Fried Rice. Another dish in the same category, Chilli Crab Fried Rice (280THB), is absolutely loaded with Thai chilli which could easily scorch the tongue of any spice-sensitive taster. Although, these two aren’t wrapped in banana leaves. 

However, the following dishes do come skillfully wrapped by banana leaf. The Homemade Fermented Beef Fried Rice (170THB) the sourness from the homemade fermented beef fried with rice and egg creates a delightful combination. Fermented beef as known as Naem Nhua [แหนมเนื้อ] is not as common as Fermented Pork or Naem Moo [แหนมหมู] because Thai people often eat pork more than beef, which makes this dished particularly special.

Fried Dining also serves Homemade Fermented Pork Fried Rice (110THB) which gives it a little different aroma and texture. These two dishes have a touch of (North-Eastern Thai) Isan flavour in them. Customers will be sure to enjoy both dishes equally.

Pork and Salted Fish Fried Rice (118THB), This strong odorous dish is a Thai style “Surf and Turf” dish that we recommend everyone to try. The sun-dried salted fish gives a little crunch and distinct aroma to the meal. The chef clearly knows how to handle strong fish, so that the smell isn’t going to be “fishy” as many foodies may be afraid of. 

Ox Tongue Fried Rice (205THB) could be many’s favourite. The ox tongue is chopped and cooked perfectly tender, not at all chewy. The whole dish is well seasoned with local herbs and spices.

Bah Teng Pork Fried Rice (112THB) is a twist of Thai Southern dish and this dish isn’t a very common dish seen in Thailand. The Bah Teng Pork [หมูบะเต็ง] is a dish that Chinese immigrants took with them. The pork is simmered in white soy sauce, black soy sauce with dried squid, dried shrimp, herbs and shiitake mushroom. The chef seasons the rice with the Bah Teng sauce with egg and then top with the gravy Bah Teng Pork.

Although all the meals were undeniably tasty, what brought it to the next level was the charm of the natural banana leaf wrap and natural rope to tie it all securely together. The Fried Dining spokesperson said, “Our chef often goes to the country to find local products from local organic farms. He likes to get in touch with people and learned that people in the country are still often using banana leaves to wrap their food, which is amazing. Fried Dining has always wanted to participate in saving the planet and banana leaf wrapping is a plastic-free and degradable food container.”

The restaurant doesn’t give you the condiments if you order delivery from the shop because the chef’s dishes are already packed with flavour, there is no need to deal with a bunch of small plastic bags filled with dry chilli or fish sauce like so many other delivery options. It simply does not need it.

Bangkok Foodies did dig further to find there are a few advantages of banana leaf wrap, we discovered that banana leaf has a distinct subtle smell which gives the contents a more appetizing aroma. So, for those looking for a rice-loaded Thai treat but are and are conscious about the eco-friendly packaging then Fried Dining is certainly one of the eateries that you can support.  

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