Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lamai Birthday Event

Lamai's birthday is coming up! On Tuesday, September 26th, she will be having an extended buffet from 11am to 9pm -- which will include Thai Sukiyaki.

Thai Sukiyaki is an interesting dish -- supposedly one that came to a street vendor in a dream. It bears little resemblance to Japanese Sukiyaki other than it is a "self-cook" dish. Lamai puts out a large simmering pot of broth, a few strainers, and a whole bunch of raw ingredients, including seafoods, some very thinly sliced meats, vegetables and cellophane noodles. You fill your strainer, and dip it in the broth to cook, then dump it in your bowl and cover it with this pink Thai Suki sauce. It reminds me a little of Chinese sa tsa sauce -- five spice with a touch of salty dried shrimp flavor. (I myself like to have a little broth in the bowl too, although Lamai doesn't approve.) NOTE: the pink sauce is blazingly hot, use with care.

The main problem with the sukiyaki is that Lamai only has a couple of strainers, so there ends up quite a crowd waiting around the pot. Also, when she first fills the pot, it takes it a while to come up to heat. (Note: most of the ingredients she has laid out for cooking are quick cooking -- you don't need to boil it to death. Shrimp, for instance, is cooked when it is no longer translucent -- depending on the kind of shrimp, it doesn't always turn bright pink.)

But aside from the sukiyaki, there will be the pad thai noodles and fresh eggrolls, and salads and curries and stirfries. Sometimes she has spicey stir-fried dumplings, or little seafood custards.

Odds are, Tuesday will be a very tasty day.

Thai Food From Lamai's Kitchen, 2033 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing. (517) 267-3888.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sultan's Restaurant

The main Sultan's location in Hannah Plaza has a bread oven. Yes, fresh hot hand-made pita bread. (At least when the oven is fired up -- which it usually is at dinner time.) A big basket of hot bread, a bowl of their lentil soup and a plate of babaganouj, and you might forget to leave room for the generously portioned main course. (I often take home a huge box of leftovers.)

The lean and well seasoned grilled meats are premiere here. There's lamb and beef and chicken. Probably one of the more popular dinners is the Chicken Shawarma. (Shawarma is what many of us think of a gyro meat: chopped and seasoned meat formed into a big roll, and then put on a hot rotisserie. The chef cuts off strips as the meat sears and sizzles.) All the chicken dishes are served with this intensely garlicky yoghurt sauce that is a favorite. The Shish Combo (pictured below) provides samples of a couple of the grilled meats, and both kinds of sauce.

A few other favorite dishes: The salads are good, and I think they have the best fattouch in town -- this is a large salad of crunchy toasted pita bread, along with the usual tomatoes, peppers, onions and lettuce. Gallaya (below) is another of my favorites -- a cross between a stirfry and a stew with chicken in mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and seasonings.

Sultan's also serves good fries, when you have kids or other cautious eaters with you.

They have two locations in the Lansing area:
Sultan's -- Hannah Plaza on Hagadorn in East Lansing
Sultan's Express -- 305 S Washington Sq, in downtown Lansing.