One day last week, with a hunger in our bellies, we set off for Bumrungrad. The hospital, a popular medical tourism destination, sponsored a celebration of healthy foods under the title, “World Famous Flavors of Thailand.” By its own accounts, some 500,000 foreign patient/tourists check into the hospital each year. (Medical tourism is a big, booming industry for Asia’s more developed cities.) The Bumrungrad PR department wants to get the word out: they don’t serve any old hospital food. They serve upscale, beautiful and healthy delights created by some of the city’s best restaurant chefs.
So off we went, to check out the goodies. What you see above are teensy-weensy laap burgers on a bun of sticky rice, topped with mint and chile.
The entire Bumrungrad lobby was stuffed with activity. Swarms of people ogling exquisite arrays of miniature foods. Big lenses, tiny phones—everywhere people jostled for a look and a sniff.
There were steamed rice crepes with herbs and minced chicken, shaped like little birds. Cucumbers carved into minuscule baskets; vegetables made to look like oysters holding healthy Thai herbal mousse. Rice crackers topped with green curried beef, strawberries wrapped in betel leaves.
Sausage burgers (not sure how healthy those were), salmon steak, and the most brilliant purple anchan flowers (butterfly pea) with coconut jelly and fresh fruit balls.
Job’s tears in coconut milk, little paper-wrapped cones of yam nua yang. Traditional Thai jingles played in the background, and a roving puppet kissed visitors on the cheek. So much food, so much commotion.
How did it all taste? I have no freakin’ idea. We left more than an hour later, tummies rumbling. All these artistic edibles, and not a single thing was available to eat. It was all for show until after 3 p.m., long after our appetites grew impatient. So we escaped to a Bangladeshi restaurant up the street and tanked up on curry.