‘Manee Meena’ at Wang Hinghoi Exclusive: A 10-course dinner that celebrates the gems of nature and Thai cuisine
A gastronomic journey through Thailand’s abundant nature
The term “unique” is banded around too liberally in the culinary world these days. Few establishments actually push the envelope to offer jaw-dropping inventions.
Wang Hinghoi Exclusive is one of those few. Recently, the restaurant launched its “Manee Meena'' 10-course dinner, designed to transport diners on a gastronomic journey celebrating Thailand’s precious abundance.
First, an explanation of the theme: Manee are precious gems, representing the luminescence of life itself. At Wang Hinghoi (which translates to “Palace of the Firefly”), this is especially apt as the restaurant is famed for fireflies (literally) accompanying diners amid the establishment’s urban forest decor.
Meena, meanwhile, refers to the abundance of nature in Thailand, which is essential to sustain the lives of the fireflies. Marry the two concepts together, and we have a 10-course degustation menu that celebrates the abundant and illuminating nature of Thai cuisine.
Before guests embark on their journey to find valuable treasures on their plates, they are invited to warm up their palates with the amuse-bouche sum-phao. Comprising vanilla crackers, bonito flakes and whole grain crackers propped up like sails, the appetizer is akin to the beginning of a journey in the sea.
And there’s still a long way ahead.
The first stop is the loka (kari puri), meaning “World of Firefly” and served in a globe-shaped container. Inside is a spherical puri, held up by hundreds of millets as an homage to the more than 2,000 species of fireflies around the world. The puri is filled with sweet potato and topped with curry mousse.
Moving on, guests will marvel at the Kamphaeng Din (tub bud), which is inspired by the clay wall that has become an iconic feature and Instagram magnet at Wang Hinghoi Exclusive. The clay wall is impeccably illuminated by night, creating a stunning visual effect. Similarly, the dish mimics this effect with yuzu jelly on top of tub bud, a traditional Thai dessert made from coconut milk and rice flour.
The fourth dish is u-dom, which represents the fertility and abundance of the land and sea. It features three varieties of pomelo that symbolizes the bounty of the land, and hotate (scallop) that symbolizes the bounty of the sea. The two elements are combined and complemented by a spicy red tuile shaped like a firefly, creating a harmonious balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
Completing the phrase “udom somboon” (prosperity and happiness) is som-boon (lhon phu). It consists of jumbo crab meat with lhon phu, a creamy coconut-based sauce that is popular in southern Thailand. The dish also has ong cream, a pineapple mousse that adds a refreshing twist to the dish.
We’re now nearing the home stretch with the dish home (mhok muek), which is a tribute to the habitat of the fireflies. The dish features steamed red grouper meat with Thai curry paste and fish sauce. The fish is hidden under a golden honeycomb-shaped honey tuile that resembles a treasure chest. When you open it, you will see octopus from Spain and lumpfish roe on top of the fish. The roe, one might notice, looks like small gems waiting to be discovered by adventurous diners.
The seventh dish is tom yum goong (tom yum goong), Wang Hinghoi Exclusive’s signature dish that has been well-received in previous set menus. It is inspired by the Thai tom yum kung soup, but with a twist. The soup has been simmered for over 10 hours to extract its intense flavor, and it is served with tiger prawns, milk foam, and pickled tomatoes.
Another heavyweight is the kang phed ped yang (kang phed ped yang), also extremely popular among guests. The disk features confit duck leg – cooked in its own fat for hours until it becomes tender and juicy. The duck leg is served with homemade curry paste with grapes, kiwi, and pineapple for sweetness and sourness. The dish also features Idaho potatoes and Japanese sweet potatoes, with pineapple mousse layered in between.
Next up, pla lui suan (pla lui suan) is a dish that celebrates the amazing bounty of the land and the wisdom of Thai ancestors who knew how to use herbs for health and flavor. The chef uses red grouper from the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea as the main ingredient. It’s served with crispy saffron Japanese rice and a clear sauce that has a kick of spice and herbs, like bell pepper and berries. The best way to enjoy it is to mix a piece of fish, some sauce, and some rice in your mouth, and then crunch on some herb crackers.
Last but not least, kao soi neua (khao soi neua) is a dish that takes inspiration from northern Thai cuisine. The star of the show are bone-in Wagyu short ribs from Australia that have been cooked slowly in their own fat. They go well with a rich soup that is made from fresh coconut milk, coconut sugar, and curry paste. The dish also comes with homemade angel hair pasta that adds some texture.
Desserts, naturally, sweeten the deal.
First, guests will be treated to the fallen angel (lod chong), which is a modern twist on the classic Thai dessert of lod chong nam ka ti (lod chong in fresh sweet coconut milk). This dessert is made of a crispy saffron meringue shell, filled with creamy cendol mousse and chewy lod chong noodles.
Then there’s the ma-peed calamansi (somjeed) – a fruity sorbet that will perk you up with its sourness, derived from calamansi. The sorbet is topped with raisin crumble, which adds some sweetness and crunch.
The drinks are also part of the story, showcasing more gems and the charm of Thai fruits.
Mukda (moonstone), combining sweet lychee syrup and fizzy soda, is inspired by white pearls. For a citrusy kick, amber (amber) combines three types of oranges and is topped with honey. Emerald (emerald) is particularly catered to the health-conscious, comprising basil leaves, green apples, and kiwi. The vibrant ruby (Ruby) features dragonfruit as its main ingredient, but has a wide variety of flavor notes nonetheless.
The 10-course Manee Meena dinner is priced at THB3,190++ per person. Patrons may go for seconds of pla lui suan for an additional THB550 and of kha soi neua for an additional THB650.
For drinks, guests can opt for the 1-glass cocktail pairing (THB420), 2-glass cocktail pairing (THB550), or the 4-glass cocktail pairing (THB1,050).
At Wang Hinghoi Exclusive, art, nature, and gastronomy come together in harmony. Don’t miss this chance to experience “Manee Meena” at Wang Hinghoi Exclusive.