I’m sure Thailand has so many delicacies that “arguing” what Thai food is, is somewhat futile. I guess that – just like the Philippines – even popular fares are prepared in different ways in different regions (say, pad thai in Bangkok versus in Phuket). But here’s the thing: So many of the Thai food that – at least we tourists know – tend to be “regulars”, e.g. the aforementioned pad thai, pandan chicken, spring rolls, et cetera. And so these have become – in so many minds – Thai food as is commonly known.
Here’s the catch: Outside of Thailand, so many tried mimicking Thai cuisines; and truth be told, not that many succeed. But occasionally, some manage to capture at least some of the yumminess of Thai foods.
And in Las Piñas, a somewhat austere venue named Erawan manages some hit-and-miss Thai moments…
The “latest” Erawan (along JB Tan St. in BF Resort) is actually the third “version” of Erawan. The first and second had to close (i.e. lease issues), but because of public clamor (claimed the servers), the owner was sorta encouraged to just keep opening up in different places.
Look-wise, there’s not much there; just wooden tables/chairs facing the street. This isn’t that different from so many home-based eateries I’ve been to in various parts of Thailand (and in some ways, even “classier”, since this is clearly a dining venue, while those in Thailand are just houses-turned-into-eateries).
No, perhaps except for that elephant in the logo (and maybe the plastic chopsticks), there’s nothing identifiably Thai here. I remember a statue of Buddha in the second version of Erawan; but in the third version, it’s nowhere to be seen.
WHY GO THERE
But – as in many of the places in Thailand where I had a lot of fun with the chow – you don’t really come here for the place. Instead, it’s the food that ought to entice you to come here. And on this, Erawan pleasantly surprises now and then…
Tried during repeated visits were:
- Papaya salad (P80 for medium; P160 for large) – This one captured the somewhat sweet yet sour lasa (taste) of the Thai original. My one issue is with the shredded green papaya used, with Erawan’s version not malutong (crunchy) and somewhat too soft.
- Fresh spring rolls (P70 for medium; P150 for large) – This is spot on, capturing the right combo of fresh veggies stuffed in oh-so-soft (and even pasty) wrapper. The dip, though, could be bettered.
- Pad Thai (from P110 for shrimp; from P100 for chicken) – This one is a bit tricky for me, since I recognize that different people may prepare it differently. I am appreciative that it uses many of the ingredients found in Pad Thai in Thailand, but taste-wise… it’s just “almost there” for me.
- Laab (Thai pork/chicken salad, P85 for medium; P180 for large) – At least the one I tried was a hit, capturing how I remember Thai street vendors prepared this.
- Tom yum (P150 for medium; P250 for large) – This had the right tang. But if there’s one issue here, it’s the portion – if they put even less seafood, it’s like just having all sabaw (soup). Best when eaten with rice.
- Thai chicken curry (P100 for medium; P200 for large) – Not as curry-ish as I prefer my curry to be, or even as spicy as I expect it to be. But similar to tom yum, the bigger issue isn’t the taste (it’s good in its own way) but the amount of meat in the serving.
WHY AVOID THE PLACE
Perhaps the biggest “issue” is Erawan’s location. Since it’s in a village (if your car doesn’t have their sticker, you even have to leave your license at the guard house), you have to dayo (intentionally go to the place) just to be there. For many in other parts of Metro Manila, this is a deal-breaker.
Then because the place “sells” itself as a “Thai street food” resto, everything here is sorta laidback – e.g. no airconditioning. If you know how hot/humid Metro Manila can be, then this – too – may be an issue.
IN THE END
Various parts of Metro Manila have food havens – e.g. Maginhawa in QC, Jupiter (among others) in Makati, right across DLSU in Taft in Manila, et cetera. If you’re keen to discover what Las Piñas has, then by all means, give Erawan a visit (JB Tan is also becoming the village’s “food hub”, so there are other restos there that are worth checking out).
Erawan is located at 101 JB Tan St., BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City. For more information, call (+632) 6978185 or 09065570324.