A little taste of Thailand

Chef Porchai Wongsakul developed a passion for cooking after looking on as his mum prepared meals in her Bangkok restaurant. Picture: DAVE TEASE.
Chef Porchai Wongsakul developed a passion for cooking after looking on as his mum prepared meals in her Bangkok restaurant. Picture: DAVE TEASE.

Bombora Seafood Restaurant's chef, Porchai Wongsakul, grew up in Thailand and his passion for cooking began when he saw people eating the food his mum would serve at her Bangkok restaurant.

Wongsakul now enjoys preparing seafood dishes in the beautiful surroundings of Belmore Basin.

What is your background as a chef?

When I was a child I was always running around in the kitchen while my mother was cooking. I loved to help her as much as a little boy could. She owned a small restaurant in Bangkok.

She was always busy and she had many permanent customers who loved her food. I felt really happy to see how those people liked her food and how they looked so happy while they sat and ate. I think that was the point in life where I started to feel passionate about cooking.

After I finished high school I applied for my first job in a small restaurant outside Bangkok.

After I worked for a year, my brother-in-law, a chef in Hong Kong, moved back to Bangkok and got a job in a famous Chinese restaurant. He worked there as a head chef and he offered me a chance to join him.

What is your earliest cooking memory?

When I was about seven years' old I helped my mother to make the best pad thai noodle dish for my family during their lunch time.

What are your favourite ingredients?

I like to use herbs such as lemongrass, ginger, mint and galangal for seafood dishes. These herbs have been used for thousands of years in Thailand, and are integral to Thai cuisine in order to bring out the full flavour in food.

They not only make the food tasty but they're beneficial for health.

What is your go-to dish you like to make when you're not working?

Any kind of stir-fry, or easy Chinese or Japanese food such as Chinese hot pot or sashimi with Japanese seaweed salad.

Is it inspiring to cook seafood in a location such as Belmore Basin?

Definitely, because the location is stunning and has the most beautiful surroundings.

We are by the sea and we can see the fishing boats come back with the different kinds of fresh seafood each day for us to prepare the best meal.

What's one thing in your cookbook you'd like everyone to try?

The seared scallop with mangosteen, topped with roasted coconut in a lime and chilli jam served together with a green refreshing salad.

You will get the natural taste of scallops, which go very well with the sweet and slightly sour mangosteen and lime; it's a light and beautiful dish.

What do you always have in your weekly shopping baskets?

Any kind of green vegetables. I always store them in the fridge because they can go well with any kind of meat and I can prepare them in many styles.

Do you watch MasterChef?

Yes, I do, but it's not only the MasterChef show I watch. I also watch other cooking programs, such as Food Safari. It's fun to see how people present food in different ways, and the stories about people's tradition, how they live and eat in a particular area or country. It is interesting as they encourage me to get creative.


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