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SongKran Kitchen in Uptown Park: Thai for Those Who Live to Eat

Front entrance of SongKran Kitchen in the exclusive Uptown Park district (left). The interior features contemporary furnishings with an East Asian flair. In Sanskrit, the word Sonkran means ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. Sonkran is named after one of Thailand’s water festivals. This water festival marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Chef Jett Hurapan has created a menu that signifies this auspicious and celebratory festival.

Front entrance of SongKran Kitchen in the exclusive Uptown Park district (left). The interior features contemporary furnishings with an East Asian flair. In Sanskrit, the word Sonkran means ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. Sonkran is named after one of Thailand’s water festivals. This water festival marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Chef Jett Hurapan has created a menu that signifies this auspicious and celebratory festival.

By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: According to SongKran Thai Kitchen owner Jitten Karnani, the world is divided into two types of people: those who eat to live and those who live to eat.

I had counted myself among those who eat to live, with daal and chawal as my favorite meal and Thai a little too exotic.

When Houston’s serial entrepreneur Ashok Rao and his wife Sheela joined Karnani as co-owners, it was a priviledge to attend the restaurant’s open house in May with no special expectations about the cuisine.

SongKran Kitchen owners Ashok and Sheela Rao (left) and co-owner Jitten Karnani (far right) with friends at the restaurant’s open house.

SongKran Kitchen owners Ashok and Sheela Rao (left) and co-owner Jitten Karnani (far right) with friends at the restaurant’s open house.

After sampling Chef Junnajet (Jett) Hurapan’s Pia Sam Ros (crispy whole red snapper with three-flavor sauce) and Tow Hou Pad Prik (spicy wok fresh bean curd with three pepper and scallion), I was transformed to the other wordly category for those who live to eat.

Chef Jett Hurapan had the opportu-nity at SongKran to create full restaurant menu to suit his creative instincts.

Chef Jett Hurapan had the opportu-nity at SongKran to create full restaurant menu to suit his creative instincts.

Karnani and Hurrapan were earlier involved with the restaurant Blu in the Sugar Land Town Center. While Chef Hurapan was restricted by the Blu menu to Asian fusion bar food, here at the SongKran, he had the opportunity to create a full fledged restaurant menu with an extensive array of appetizers, soup and salads, entrees, rice and pasta, side dishes and deserts.

The SongKran menu includes traditional Thai dishes such as green and red curries, satay and spring rolls, there are several Chef Hurapan special dishes mentioned earlier and including Kang Khew Waan (chicken with green curry and thai basil) and Kang Kari (yellow curry free range chicken and sweet-sour cucumber.

One of the most awesome presentations at SongKran is the red snapper. Chef Hurapan carves out the fish meat, and after cooking, stuffs it back into the fish frame that is bent in the form of a swimming fish.

To please all palettes, SongKran has special gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. The prices range from single-digit appetizers and

less than $30 for the main dishes.

Outdoor seating is available in the Uptown Park plaza.

Outdoor seating is available in the Uptown Park plaza.

Plate lunches available in a price range from $11 to $13. With Ashok Rao involved, you can be sure SongKran has a great wine selection.

So try SongKran. Even if you eat to live, you just might be swept away to becoming someone who lives to eat.

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