- Life Style
Who travels to Dahab for food? Although eating spread on cushions represents one of the few activities slothy Cairenes indulge in while in the Red Sea resort, it is usually not the main reason that motivates them to get on a sketchy looking bus for 9 hours. No, what they usually have in mind is romantic images of scorching sun, fresh fruit juices and crispy transparent waters.
But gourmets should also spend a few days in Dahab just to get the chance to taste the amazing Thai food at The Blue House located on Masbat, the resort’s corniche. This discreet restaurant, opened in February 2008 by Thai cook Nook Guarrigues and her French husband Antonin, has become a reference for Dahab’s community of diving instructors and tourists.
The space is shared by the kitchen on one side and by the dining area on the other, where 11 wooden tables are installed. The owners kept the decoration very low-key, opting for white walls, blue window frames and a few black and white photographs here and there. The “plat du jour” or specialty, is written in chalk on a black board, giving the place a European feel.
For starters, you can try the spring rolls stuffed with carrots, cabbage and glass noodles that you can dip generously into a chili sauce topped with grind peanuts. The fresh green papaya salad, served with green beans, tomatoes, lime juice and chili, is fantastic and will arouse the taste buds of any picky customers, and maybe numb them a bit.
The Tom Kha Gai soup, or coconut soup, is served in a big china bowl, featuring fresh lemon grass sticks and kaffir lime leaves. Extra chili served on the side can be peppered in the scrumptious broth, as well as fresh lemon juice to please anyone’s palate. The soup is served either with chicken or shrimp.
The restaurant’s menu offers red, green and yellow curries of either beef, chicken or shrimp, all accompanied by a generous portion of steamy jasmine rice. All these curries are also available for vegetarians. The “Gai Tod Takrai” will make the lemongrass addict rejoice, as it is a marinated and stir-fried chicken covered by fresh chopped lemon grass.
For those who have a preference for rice noodles, don’t hesitate to order the chef’s amazing “Pad Thai,” a fabulous mix of fried noodles, tamarind sauce, chicken or shrimp, eggs, peanuts, carrots and cabbage to hungrily pick with long plastic chopsticks.
A lot of the spices which perfume the Thai cuisine are unfortunately almost impossible to purchase in Egypt, especially the kaffir leaves, the curry powder, the galangal root and the Thai chilies. I insidiously questioned Nook on this thorny issue, trying to figure out for myself where to buy those unavoidable products. “There are some Thai communities in Cairo based in Mohandiseen, Dokki and Zamalek who manage to bring these spices from Thailand when they travel, explains Nook, and then they send it by bus to Dahab.” Some of the Thai nationals get shipments of spices and then sell them to other members of the community, but we will not reveal their identity for privacy concerns.
The prices at The Blue House are very reasonable, and that the bill rarely exceeds LE75 for a copious meal. Bear in mind that the house does not sell alcohol, but that you are very welcome to bring your own, sold in various liquor stores in Dahab.
The Blue House, Seventh Heaven Hotel entrance, Masbat, Dahab. Closed on Mondays. Take away: 0167971416