Qi Brings North Eastern Thai to Union Square

BY Catherine Yang TIMESeptember 5, 2013 PRINT

Fresh herbs, hot peppers, and tangy, sour citrus characterize the cuisine of the mountainous Esarn region of Thailand which borders Laos. 

Next Thursday, Chef Claire Handleman of ABC’s The Chew and Chef Pichet Ong will bring the taste of North Eastern Thailand to Qi Esarn Kitchen’s reopening on 14th St., in Union Square.

Qi Esarn Kitchen is Qi’s third restaurant in the city, and each echos a different part of Thailand. Restaurant co-owner Ahm Bopit was drawn to the bold flavors and rich character of the Thai borderlands for the Union Square location. Qi Times Square has the same busy buzz as Bangkok, and Qi Thai Grill in Williamsburg was inspired by the street food-stalls of Thailand. 

The restaurant, which is reopening after remodeling, is decorated to reflect a mix of elegance and fun—much like its menu.

Chef Ong plans to bring traditional dishes such as Goong Pao Yahm Pollamai; grilled Tiger Prawns with gooseberries and seasonal fruit salad; as well as whimsical desserts like the Lychee Semifreddo made with coconut meringue, Oreo crust, sour cherry foam, chocolate sauce, and curry pop rocks.

Handleman, who considers Thailand her second home, will bring authentic and vibrant tastes with dishes like Laab Pehda—minced duck salad with sawtooth coriander, mint, cilantro, scallions, toasted rice powder, and chili.

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