First look at Kinn Thai Canberra Centre

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After waiting a week for their Grand Opening (after they announced it), Kinn Thai Canberra Centre finally opened yesterday. Macgyver Boyfriend and I took advantage of the 25% off discount last night. The_Food_Avenue_Kinn_Thai_Canberra

Sandwiched between Sammy's and Wood and Coal, where Wagamama's used to be, Kinn Thai is located in the North Quarter of the Canberra Centre in Civic.

It's a Thai restaurant with a modern interior and an exciting menu. They already have other Kinn Thai restaurants in NSW and QLD. I had been poring through the menu online prior to dinner (drooling over every item) and had pretty much decided what I wanted to try that night. I liked that the menu had vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free tags next to each menu item (for those with specific dietary requirements). MB suggested a few dishes that he wanted to try...like the satay chicken skewers and the wagyu beef but I had other plans! I wanted to get the duck pancakes, the scallops, the crispy pork belly, the soft shell crab and the crispy whole barramundi. He gave in to my demands but commented that it was a lot of food. Clearly, I had eyes bigger than my stomach and wanted to order ALL THE FOODS! MB gently talked me out of ordering the barramundi right away and by the end of the meal, I was glad he did!

We got a couple of mocktails ($9 each) and they were fantastic. MB had the Koh Sumui Sunrise (left) with pineapple juice, passionfruit, touch of citrus, and a dash of grenadine. I ordered the Pineapple Mint Lychee Daiquiri Mocktail with blended fresh pineapple, mint, lychee. Lovely tropical flavours that were beautifully balanced.

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The first entree was the pan-seared sea scallops with spicy chilli and lime sauce ($9). The scallops were perfectly caramelised. The sauce was quite a bit spicy and while it was only 9 degrees outside, I was thankful for the refreshing drink to cool my mouth down (being the chilli wuss that I am).

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They had sold out of the duck pancakes so we got the Crab prawn roll instead. As we were already getting crab for the main, MB wondered if we needed double crab. But when we took a bite of the crab roll, the answer was obvious. We TOTALLY NEEDED DOUBLE CRAB! For only $7, you got four amazingly crispy deep-fried spring rolls, filled with crab meat and aromatic Thai herbs, served with plum sauce. I just adored the plum sauce, which coated the crispy roll so well when you dipped the roll. It was thick but not sickly sweet and just a bit of sourness. I may have been spooning the sauce directly into my mouth after the rolls disappeared...

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As a hardcore pork belly fan, I was dying to try the Crispy pork belly ($24). I was not disappointed. The crackling was indeed crisp and the capsicum chilli sauce was a unique and tasty accompaniment. Later that evening, a friend texted me saying he was at Kinn Thai and that they had run out of this dish. We may very well have had the last pork belly dish that night...oops! :P

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While the pork belly dish was MB's favourite main (he loved the capsicum chilli sauce and the crispy crackling), mine was hands down the crispy soft shell crab ($23). On the menu, it was called the Chilli jam crispy soft shell crab, but out came crispy soft shell crab in a bowl of what looked and tasted like a thick red curry sauce. I certainly wasn't complaining as it was delicious (crab was crispy and not oily, sauce was magical) but I did wonder whether I was missing out on an even better chilli jam sauce.

By this stage, I was feeling pretty satisfied and content. I guess I didn't need the crispy barramundi dish after all, but boy I really wanted to try it.

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I also really wanted to come back and try the wagyu beef and the pork ribs...

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I really liked that the menu covered a range of dishes and prices. I could see myself popping in for either just a light snack or a hearty three-course meal. The food also came out quickly after we ordered so it would also suit those who need a quick dinner.

The wait staff were always friendly and attentive, which was great to see. I was worried that being seated outside that we might be forgotten but the wait staff was constantly walking around, our water glasses were always topped up and they even served the rice onto our individual plates for us.

For two mocktails, two entrees, two mains and rice, it came to $43.50 per person (with the 25% discount, only $32.60 per person). Even without the discount, I thought this was a very reasonable price for a good quality two-course meal in Canberra and I couldn't wait to come back to try more menu items!

*All dishes were paid for by The Food Avenue.

The Low-Down on Kinn Thai Eatery type: Thai restaurant What to order: Crab roll, Crispy soft shell crab, Crispy Pork Belly Best for: Quickie dinner before a movie or theatre show Website: http://www.kinnrestaurant.com.au/ Phone: 0262471277, 0477422203 Address: Shop FG08, 125 Bunda St, Canberra

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Updated Recipe: Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly - using a slow cooker

I won first prize at my work "Masterchef competition" today with my braised pork belly dish! In recognition of Harmony Day, my work social committee organised a "Flavours of the World" lunch. We were invited to bring a cultural dish to share and I thought I'd introduce my colleagues to delicious Taiwanese food. All dishes were entered into the competition, with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

I was asked for the recipe of the winning dish and while I already have a blog post on the traditional way of making it as per my mum's instructions, I've since changed the way I cook this dish.

Given that not everyone has the kind of rice cooker I have, I thought I'd give it a go with the slow cooker and it worked just as well!

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Braised pork belly (using a slow cooker)

Main Ingredients 900g pork belly 1 cup of soy sauce 2 tbsp rice wine 350g of rock sugar (you can buy this in most Asian grocery stores) 6 eggs

Spice Mix 1 tsp five spice powder 1 tsp dried ginger powder 1 tsp dried garlic powder

Optional ingredients 3 cloves of garlic (or as much as you want) chopped spring onion sprinkle of chopped peanuts (for garnish) coriander (for garnish)

Method

  1. Hard boil the eggs.
  2. Place the rock sugar in the slow cooker.
  3. Meanwhile, cut up the pork belly into large pieces (about 4 cm long). Rub the spice mix and the rice wine all over the pork belly pieces. Place in the slow cooker on top of the rock sugar.
  4. Drain and peel the hard boiled eggs. Place the eggs in the slow cooker, amongst the pork. (If you are using garlic, you can put it in at this stage). Pour the soy sauce into the slow cooker, over all the ingredients.
  5. Set the slow cooker to High for approximately 2 hours (I do this to save time, but you can put it on Low for a longer period of time). Then turn to Low for another 2 hours (or until the meat is fork tender).
  6. Occasionally turn pork belly pieces and eggs to marinate all parts. Be very gentle or the eggs will get damaged! (If you are using spring onion, you can add it in the last hour).
  7. Serve with steamed rice, (garnish with chopped peanuts and coriander) and enjoy!