PATTANI, THAILAND – I was excited to be in the very far south of Thailand, in Pattani. When I was there, one of the restaurants I was most looking forward to trying was Papa Tagu, a restaurant specializing in Thai Arabian food – especially what’s called “khao mok” in Thai, or a combination of both biryani and mandi.
We met up with Muhammad and Rus, the amazing owners of the restaurants, who have a unique story and passion for what they do. They are both professors, and when they decided to start a primary school, they each stopped what they were doing and went back to school to study for their doctorate degrees. But at that time they didn’t have a big income and needed to do something to support their family, so they looked into a small restaurant. Rus said, why don’t we make biryani, because your family makes biryani at home. So that’s what they did.
Their recipe is served Arabian / Middle Easter food style, yet the flavor of the rice and the taste of the ingredients, toppings, and sauce, is the Thai taste – strong, sour, spicy, balanced with sweetness.
It was an honor to see the process of the rice being made and to see our platter of rice being assembled into an insane platter – including two types of rice, a fried turmeric fish, fried turmeric prawns, fried chicken, and an entire surprise goat leg! She then sprinkled the entire plate of food with fried onions, crispy shallots, fried chilies, friend tomatoes, and garnished with more fresh vegetables – it was spectacular.
What a meal and experience eating Thai Arabian food in Pattani, Thailand. Highly recommended when you visit Pattani!
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