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Nicholas Gilman is a renowned journalist and food writer based in Mexico City.

Nicholas Gilman es un renombrado periodista gastronómico radicado en la Ciudad de México.

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All Thai-ed Up: Galanga Thai Kitchen

All Thai-ed Up: Galanga Thai Kitchen

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In Mexico, I have seen the word “Thai” bandied about as a euphemism for dishes vaguely Asian. A “Thai” style salad at one place had a yogurt dressing! (dairy products are almost non-existent in South east Asia). Another bogus Polanco joint offered Thai dishes featuring soy sauce – anybody who has been to Thailand knows that soy sauce is minimally used there, and only in dishes of Chinese origin.


Ana & Eleazar and Kaffir lime. Photo courtesy Galanga

Ana & Eleazar and Kaffir lime. Photo courtesy Galanga

So it is worth celebrating the fact that Galanga Thai Kitchen is with us. It is an extraordinary restaurant run by chef Somsri, AKA Ana, who hails from Bangkok with her locally sourced husband Eleazar; they know what they are doing. Essential hard-to-get ingredients such as Thai basil, kaffir lime, lemongrass (common here but hardly ever available with its requisite white part) even the galangal itself - a root related to ginger - are grown by the couple on a small farm in Mexico State – so flavors are not compromised.

The menu includes such iconic dishes as som tum (green papaya salad) which is every bit as good as any I have eaten in Bangkok and can for the asking—and should—be loaded with chile, pad thai, larb (chopped, spicedmeat) and several Thai curries pounded by hand much like  mole. All dishes are prepared with respect to tradition, but the chef, and her sister, who is also masterful and a recent import from Bangkok, take liberties. They can be creative and prudently utilize local ingredients like the superb, juicy lamb chops, lovingly presented as a mini-rack and bathed in a poetic massaman curry that doesn’t overwhelm. Or one might find a crispy whole red snapper in chili powder, red onion, mint, cilantro, scallion, lemongrass, kaffir (or Makrut as one is supposed to call it these days) lime leaf, roasted rice powder and spicy lime dressing. I highly recommend choosing from the daily specials which constantly change The chef will adjust spice level according to taste but for those who are able it is recommended to ask for dishes to be done as Thai people would like them. Presentation is lovely and ambience relaxed.

Prices average about $500 per person though a simple lunch can be shared for as little as $250.

As of June, 2018, the Galanga team has opened a sister restaurant nearby, Kiin Thai-Viet Eatery which is also extraordinary. See our review. 

Galanga Thai Kitchen Guanajuato 202, Roma Open Tuesday - Saturday, 1-10:30 p.m., Sunday until 6, closed Monday View map

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Food: (1-10): 9
Price: $$ About $300 pp
Ambience: Simple, comfortable and friendly; music is minimal.

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