Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mamacita's Brings Real Mexican Food To Bangkok

Mexican restaurants in Bangkok have always been few and far between and good Mexican restaurants have been pretty much non-existent. There have been, and are still, a couple that are OK and there are also a couple of American-themed restaurants that offer some Mexican items that are also OK but there hasn’t been a place in Bangkok that really understood what Mexican food is all about until the last six months or so.

That’s when Mamacita’s, a tiny place on Sukhumvit Soi 15, opened for business. Khun Bee, the owner and chef, lived in Mexico for six years while she was married to a Mexican national and immersed herself in the cuisine of the country, learning the intricacies of using the ingredients and spices that go into this interesting and vital cuisine.

On a very recent visit I sampled a number of her dishes and realized that she really does understand what Mexican food is all about. Since I lived in Los Angeles for six years I picked up a healthy appreciation of Mexican food and learned what’s real and what isn’t. I can still remember the taste of the margaritas at Gardens Of Taxco in West Hollywood, a taste I’ve never seen duplicated anywhere.

Anyway, Bee, from Singapore herself but a Bangkok resident for 21 years now, knows what she is doing and does a good job of recreating the tastes of Mexico. She cannot put all of the dishes she would like to on the menu because of problems with the supply of key ingredients but she can make these dishes for special events or parties. What she does make is very good, though, and as true to the cuisine as you’ll find in Bangkok.

I liked all of the dishes I tried as well as her sauces: albondigas (Mexican meatballs), tortillas soup, tacos, flautas, guacamole and cliaquiles verdes (tortillas immersed in a green chile sauce with sour cream and cheese). Her salsa ranchera and salsa verda sauces were as close to the real thing as she can get also, even though she has substituted some local ingredients. After talking to her, I don’t think there is anything on the menu that isn’t as authentic as she can make it. And if she can’t do it right then she doesn’t do it at all.

So the next time you have a taste for Mexican food, Mamacita’s is the best place for authenticity. It’s not real fancy and it’s not real big (call ahead if you have a big group, 02-253-2795) but it’s real and that alone is enough.

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