Benjarong Vol. III: Best Thai Degustation in Manila! (Is it Worth it?)

Benjarong Experience Vol. III is the last part of the Thai Degustation trilogy by Chef Watcharaphon “Ja” Yongbanthom. This third iteration is a collaboration with Chef Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones of the Michelin-starred Bo.lan in Bangkok. It features authentic Thai recipes inspired by Chef Ja’s latest culinary trip back to her roots, with innovative local adaptations.

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Vol. III is a more delicious experience than the second version because of the unique recipes that are rooted in authentic Thai culinary stories. The second version was more aesthetically pleasing in terms of the menu and interactive presentations, but it lacked the depth of flavor and cultural authenticity of Vol. III.

BENJARONG MANILA
Benjarong Experience Vol. III (₱5,526/ person) with wine (₱10,438 net/ person)
📍Ground Floor, Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati
☎️ + 63 (2) 7238 8888, Ext. 8430 or 8838
📩 dtmnresadm@dusit.com
📞 +63 917 828-6912
⏱️ Lunch: 11:30 to 14:30 | Dinner: 17:30 to 22:00
Closed on Mondays
👔 Dress code: Smart casual

Related Blog Post: Benjarong Experience // Authentic Thai Degustation by Thai Chef Ja @Dusit_Manila


ABOUT BENJARONG

Chef Ja

Chef Watcharaphon “Ja” Yongbanthom has more than a decade of experience creating authentic Thai food for various hotels and resorts.

After a guest appearance on Iron Chef Thailand, Chef Ja took over the kitchen of Benjarong in 2015 as Thai Chef de Cuisine, where she elevated the dishes and continues to update the menu, giving a modern twist to centuries-old recipes.

Chef Ja was at the helm of the Benjarong kitchen when it is recognised as one of the hottest new global restaurants by CNN Travel in 2019.

The Benjarong Vol. III Experience is an 8-course Thai degustation that brings you the flavors of Thailand, created in collaboration with Michelin-starred chefs Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones of Bo.lan in Bangkok. It is priced at ₱5,526 per person, or ₱10,438 net per person if paired with wine.

The menu features a variety of dishes from different regions of Thailand, each with its own unique flavors and ingredients.


EXPERIENCE MENU VOL. III

AMUSE-BOUCHE

SAENG WAA
Oyster cured with Limes and Chili

Vol. III opens with a bite-sized oyster topped with a salad of Thai herbs and a hint of spice and sourness. This satisfying amuse-bouche is the perfect way to kick off the delicious journey around Thailand.

NAHM PRIK KANOON ONN, KAP MOO
Young Jackfruit Relish, Crispy Pork

Young jackfruit flesh, served on soft-boiled egg and topped with crispy pork, is a savory Northern Thai dish with contrasting textures.

KHAO YUM
Rice Salad

A bowl of rice salad from the South of Thailand made with organic rice, fermented fish sauce, and Thai herbs. The use of rice as an amuse-bouche is quite unique and helps to tease the palate.


APPETIZER

HOI YAANG
Scallop, Royal Caviar, Quail Egg, Crispy Enoki Mushrooms, Red and Green Sriracha Sauce

Sea scallops with homemade Sriracha sauce made from grapes, green chili peppers, and organic Jasmine rice vinegar, served on a bed of crispy enoki mushrooms and topped with black threads made from squid ink and coconut milk. Elaborate serving of scallops with spicy sriracha and mixed textures.

A refreshing and citrusy drink with blue ternate, topped with torched lime slice and herbs.


SOUP

PED PHA-LO HA ROS
Hot and Sour Duck Broth, Green Caral Lettuce, Mustard Pickle

Braised duck in five-spice sauce with homemade pickle and duck blood, served in a spicy and sour soup. Surprisingly delicious, like a hot and sour duck blood soup with tender slices of duck and spices.


MEAT

YUM TUA PLU MU YANG
Grilled Iberico Pork Rib, Chili Tamarind Glaze, Winged Bean Salad

Grilled Iberico pork, seasoned with tamarind juice and Thai herbs, is served with winged bean salad, longan, and organic rice crackers seasoned with fish sauce and Thai herbs. The pork is satisfyingly portioned and well-seasoned Thai style. I like to eat the longan in between bites to refresh the palate.


SALAD

LHON PU
Mud Crab and Coconut Relish, Thai Fish Cakes, Banana Blossom and Greens

Mud crab meat simmered in coconut milk, seasoned with tamarind juice and palm sugar. The relish can be used as a dip for vegetables, and it also goes well with basil leaves and fish cake stuffed with banana blossom, basil, and shrimp. The mud crab curry sauce is delicious, but I would prefer to have it with rice for the next course.


MAIN DISH

GAENG KIEW WAAN
Green Curry Beef, Baby Eggplant, Palm Heart, Jasmine Flower Water Rice

The finale is a beef green curry made with beef brisket braised in Thai herbs, fresh coconut milk, and homemade curry paste for 4 hours. It is topped with kaffir lime zest and served with pandan-wrapped rice cooked with jasmine flowers and butterfly pea flowers for a beautiful blue tint. Panalo!


DESSERT

PLA GRIM KAI TAO
Thai Tea Flan, Glutinous Rice Dumplings, Salted Coconut Cream, Palm Sugar Syrup, Raspberries, Passion Fruit Ice Cream, Pistachio Praline

Glutinous rice coconut bowl with salted coconut, caramelized palm sugar, Thai tea jelly, and passion fruit ice cream, served with a side of Thai snack made from coconut milk and sesame seeds. It’s like a Thai halo halo ala mode on coconut shell for a satisfying finish.


PETIT FOURS

A fun finish with mini sweets, starting with:

  1. Taro baked with coconut and egg, topped with fried onions.
  2. Glutinous rice colored with butterfly pea flower, dragon fruit, and pandan, topped with coconut slivers and caramelized palm sugar.
  3. Durian macaron.
  4. Gulaman made with coconut water, milk, coconut milk, and pandan juice.

The durian macaron was the favorite.

I personally enjoy this Thai meringue with egg, coconut, and peanut, smoked with a Thai candle. It is dry and chewy, like eating cardboard, but I still like it.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Bravo, Chef Ja and Benjarong, for a surprisingly delicious degustation that is worth raving about in 2023!

This is definitely worth it and a lot better than version 2, especially in terms of depth of flavor and unique take on a flavorful journey around Thailand. We loved every course, with satisfying portions that didn’t leave us feeling too full. My personal favorites were the Hoi Yaang (scallops), Ped Pha-lo Ha Ros (duck hot & sour soup), Yum Tua Plu Mu Yang (Grilled Iberico pork rib), and Gaeng Kiew Wan (green curry beef). The desserts were good and playful, but Filipino desserts are still better.

Best to enjoy this for a family or milestone celebration among family and friends who love thai food!

BENJARONG MANILA
Benjarong Experience Vol. III (₱5,526/ person) with wine (₱10,438 net/ person)
📍Ground Floor, Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati
☎️ + 63 (2) 7238 8888, Ext. 8430 or 8838
📩 dtmnresadm@dusit.com
📞 +63 917 828-6912
⏱️ Lunch: 11:30 to 14:30 | Dinner: 17:30 to 22:00
Closed on Mondays
👔 Dress code: Smart casual

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: We paid for our meal. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. You can also order à la carte at Benjarong, and they have a wide selection of bar drinks.

Benjarong Ala-Carte Menu: Appetizers | Appetizers 2 | Soup | Salad | Wok: Noodles & Rice | Wok: Vegetables | Wok: Stir fry | Curry / Boat Noodles | Family | Sweets

Beverages: Cocktails | Cocktails 2 | Non-Alcoholic Beverages | Beer | Spirits: Vodka, Gin | Spirits: American Whiskey, Scotch Whisky | Spirits: Japanese Whiskey | Spirits: Rum, Tequila | Spirits: Cognac, Armagnac

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