Le Tuk-Tuk, the only Thai restaurant in Perpignan
You all know Asian food, wok and company. We offer you a restaurant that does not hide its identity behind Asian stucco decorations. Le Tuk-Tuk is the only real Thai restaurant in Perpignan. Dare the Bangkok Touch!
Tuk-Tuks, these motorized three-wheeled taxis, are one of the exotic postcards that foreign tourists take with them when they venture to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia or Thailand. A real all-risks circuit where, in Bangkok, these light and easy-to-handle taxis pass where the others pass. In Perpignan, the Tuk-Tuk is the only Thai restaurant in the city. Run by natives of the Kingdom of Siam, it is not the wok restaurant that provides everything and its opposite, with the politics of abundance but also of loss of identity, claimed here. So you won’t find fries at the Tuk-Tuk, or long plates lined up a mile away, but a rich variety of the different flavors that Thailand can offer you in this snowy and freezing climate. Let’s face it right away, Thai raclette doesn’t exist, even if it’s in season, but the subtle spices that will caress your palate will be no less effective in dealing with the current glaciation period.
It is therefore not by Tuk-Tuk but on foot, upside down under the first snowflakes on the plain that we arrive at 6 avenue des Palmiers in Perpignan, where the Tuk-Tuk is housed. First impression, no kitchounesque decor, with Chinese walls and oversized stucco dragons, bathed in a vermillion Asian atmosphere. Head chef Tan Dinh, on this point it is clear, born in Thailand, no all-encompassing disclosure here. He wants to sublimate his native country and his roots, the culinary syncretism between India and China, even if it may seem paradoxical. At the age of 5 he arrived in France with his family. His vocation was forged in the kitchen work when he was a child. Peel and clean vegetables, roll spring rolls, a subliminal side that the family kitchen has injected into it. It is with a CAP-BEP kitchen, in Seine-et-Marne in Collégien in the commune of Lagny, then at work, the best school according to him for all the apprentice cooks he forges. Paris is a stone’s throw away and it’s a waltz of locals in the kitchen and dining room. His brother-in-law, also in the game, had opened three restaurants in Essonne, Le Konfucius, with the K, to distinguish himself.
full-fledged martial art
Technically, he explains, Asian cuisine as opposed to French cuisine is cooked to the minute. The wok allows for only a small margin of error. La Française requires a lot of preparation in advance, the main difficulty comes from a quick presentation of the dish before entering the dining room. The wok itself is a religion. This semi-circle made of steel and not in a non-slip coating as we sell it in supermarket promotions, should not be handled like a beach matador. A martial art in its own right, it warms up and takes on all its flavor over a gas fire. The dragon, in the jargon of the wok masters. This sacred fire of the dragon, takes hold of the food, with in the order of passage to the wok: vegetables, animal proteins and seasoning. All this rigorous sequence will keep the ingredients a unique and unalterable flavor. As Tan Dinh states, Escoffier has standardized French cuisine as much as there are many recipes in Asian cuisine, just as there are chefs who put them in different sauces. A true Thai puzzle.
In 2012, he arrives from the gray and sad faces of Paris and contemplates Collioure with a job in a restaurant on the coast. No need to think too much about the panorama. His goal to open a real Thai restaurant offering only à la carte dishes will take effect in January 2017. He doesn’t like menus, too many catch-gogos, crooks and underdogs in the dishes on offer, he says, preferring them the elaborate choice of a well thought out and ambitious menu. It is with his brother in the kitchen and his sister in the dining room that they run the establishment, which looks good despite the blizzard outside. Regulars, high school students, families congregate there, preferring the Thai touch of a connoisseur, to chains selling simplistic culinary wokismo. For his curry recipes alone, he uses five different ones. Fresh products, aromatic herbs, a requirement and frequently asked questions make this address with elegant flavors a site that we pass on among friends under the coat.