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I Get a Kick Out of Nu

Ritz Carlton's New Thai Master Chef Reigns Supreme Both in the Kitchen and the Kick-Boxing Ring.

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We'd praise this man's talents even if we didn't harbor some latent fear that he might just practice the ancient Thai fighting art of Muay Thai on our person if we spoke disparagingly of his culinary gifts. For Chef Nu Suandokmai is not only a renowned Thai Chef, but he also holds the distinction of being South Australia's National Kickboxing Champion.

Recently joining the Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa, "Chef Nu" has just launched the new look and new menu at the Resort's Padi Restaurant together with two assistant Thai chefs. The three-man team have set a new standard for Thai cuisine available in Bali, creating menus that are both faithful to their homeland traditions and affordable to the local market.

Hailing from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Chef Nu moved to Australia in 1988 where he quickly established a reputation for his cooking talents culminating in the opening of his own establishment Nu Thai in Adelaide, a two-star Mietta Best Australian Restaurant.

The praise flowed in: Wine & Spirit Magazine suggested that Nu's "great ingenuity and skill" made his restaurant perhaps "the best Thai restaurant in Australia." Gourmet Traveler said, "Nu's cooking is sensational," while declaring his seafood soup no less than "life restoring." Good Food Guide 2003 proclaimed, "Nu cooks exquisite Thai food that draw the crowds."

The same innovative approach of uncompromising authenticity that earned such praise remains the hallmark of his Thai menu at Padi Restaurant. A true culinary craftsman who has witnessed unforgivable "mixing of styles" in many Thai establishments promises that Padi Restaurant will see only true authentic dishes with a modern stylish presentation.

In order to keep in touch with his culinary roots, Nu returns twice a year to Ayutthaya to reconnect with his culture's cuisine and history. The employment of two exceptional native Thai chefs direct from Thailand also ensures the clarity, accents and intensity of flavors so unique to Thai cooking will be preserved in his Bali kitchen.

Chef's favorites include, Masssaman Gai - a southern style chicken curry served on a bed of sweet potato mash; Yum Hua Plee - an original old style salad recipe of banana flower with grilled chicken, lime roasted chili and shallot, fresh coriander and mint leaves; Choo Chee Goong Mangkorn - lobster topped with a thick curry sauce, Thai sweet basil, lime leaves, green pepper corns and coconut milk; and Nu's signature dish Mien Kham, - an appetizer of betel leaves topped with prawn, chili, lime, ginger peanuts and a dense coconut sauce.

Padi Restaurant is open for dinner 7 days a week from 6.00pm Ė 11.30pm.

Based on our experience of Chef Nu's handiwork, prudent diners would be wise to make advance reservations.

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