Established in 1985, Siam Orchid was not only Manchester’s first Thai restaurant but also one of the first in the country to open up outside of London. Siam Orchid is also the only Vietnamese restaurant in China town. The cosy and intimate ground-floor restaurant is situated on Portland Street at the edge of Chinatown.
Siam Orchid is open late (until 11.30 most nights) but if you want to make a real night of it you can move upstairs to the Orchid Lounge Bar, which boasts full karaoke facilities (with thousands of tracks, including the latest chart-toppers) and is open for drinks and snacks until 2am. If you wish, you can eat your full meal upstairs or hire out the private function room for up to 25 people.
Also the whole of Siam Orchid can be rented out
Thai or Siamese cuisine was virtually unknown outside of Thailand until the middle of the 20th century. Many dishes, now changed or incorporated into Thai cuisine, have their origins in China. The Indian influence is more subtle and difficult to trace. However, after the first few mouthfuls of a Thai meal, it becomes clear that this is a unique cuisine, and not merely a regional adaptation of Chinese or Indian food.
The use of certain spices and herbs plays a large part in distinguishing Thai food from its Chinese or Indian counterparts. The main spices that go into Thai dishes are coriander, turmeric, peppercorn, cumin, cinnamon cloves and dried chillies.
Flavourings include garlic, onions, ginger, tamarind and lime. A large number of herbs, leaves, roots and even flowers are also widely used for their aromatic qualities. These include lemon grass, citrus and curry leaves, various species of sweet basil, mint, spring onions, screwpine leaves and of course chillies-large and small, ranging in colour from bright red to dull green (all lethal!).
Another essential ingredient in Thai cookery is the coconut. Coconut milk or cream blends together the ingredients of those dishes in which it is used, giving a smooth, creamy base and offsetting over-spiciness. Like their Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Thai cooks believe in adding interest to their food through its attractive appearance.
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