Central Plains and Bangkok Cuisine

Traditional Recipes

Salad of White Turmeric, Salted Prawns and Pork
(yam khamin khaao goong khem ; ยำขมิ้นขาวกุ้งเค็ม)

This dish brings yet another angle to celebrate the essence of Thai cuisine. The Thais dare pairing ingredients, which at first seem to be unmatchable, strong players with opposite characteristics, white turmeric and salted prawns, and guess what? It works beautifully!

The pairing actually has the intention to enhance the differences in flavor and texture, creating a playful dish, both in taste and in presentation. The delicate thin cut white turmeric juliennes with its crunchy-apple like texture matched well with the just made salted prawns chunks which still maintain some of their intrinsic sweetness.

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Traditional Recipes

Fresh Coconut Milk Tom Yum Soup Recipe of Grilled Banana Blossom and Chicken
(dtohm yam gathi huaa bplee yang sai gai ;
ต้มยำกะทิหัวปลีย่างใส่ไก่)

It will not be an overstatement to say that banana trees accompany Thai people from their birth to the afterlife. Starting with the decorative objects made out of banana leaves newborns receive to invite protective spirits, and continues their entire life with the endless uses for banana leaves, trunks and fruits; finally ending with the female spirit ghost, maae praai taanee (แม่พรายตานี), who resides in banana trees and Thai beliefs.

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Traditional Recipes

Gabpi Khuaa, An Ancient Dip from The Central Plains (Lohn Gabpi Khuaa; หลนกะปิคั่ว)

In the Thai language, lon (lohn; หลน) means to simmer. In this ancient style dip, minced pork and fermented shrimp paste, along with smoked-charred dry fish, chilies and other aromatics, are slowly simmered in rich coconut cream to create a deep, multi-layered – yet subtle and silky – dip; a dip which is then lightly seasoned with just palm sugar and fish sauce. The dip is served with an array of fresh and fried vegetables, tempura-like cakes, crispy small fishes or tiny transparent salt-water shrimp. For a dish with so many subtle flavors, there is surprisingly little fuss.

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Traditional Recipes

Tom Yam Kung Recipe, Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp
(tom yum goong ; ต้มยำกุ้ง)

Tom Yam is a type of soup with distinct sharp hot and sour flavors, scented with pleasant citrusy aroma.

Tom Yam is known to seduce many westerners to fall in love with Thailand, its people and food. Many trips memories to Thailand were written in diaries, others are etched on film but all are stained by the Tom Yam charm.

I still remember with vivid colors my first bowl of Tom Yam, in the night market of the old neighborhood on a hot night in a ragged, unfashionable part of Bangkok. Where the smell of cooking and the glare of florescent lights decorated the alley where JeMoi used to own a restaurant, a very simple and very good one, decorated with cheap bamboo chairs and peeling orange walls. I would enjoy watching the streets of the early night turning into mornings, eating, drinking and sweating. It was hard to say if I was sweating from the hot and humid weather, the cheap whiskey or JeMoi’s spicy food. I still smile when I think of her, standing by my table with a winning smile, as if she knew how much I enjoy the food.

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