Samui Wining & Dining

May’s Thai culinary ‘Website of The Month’ is


22It’s a fair bet that most people who visit Samui love the local food. Some even take cooking classes to inspire them to be a little more adventurous when they get back to their own kitchens. But after being away for a few weeks the demands of home life, work and endless emails to answer soon blow away any thoughts of recreating traditional Thai classics.


So what you need is a simple reference point that gets straight to the heart of the matter. And that’s where this month’s recommended Thai food website comes into its own. Type in and you can pretty much start right away. I like this site for lots of reasons. First of all, if you take a moment to read the text on the homepage you’ll find that it is written by a Thai woman. It sounds like she’s lived in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, for quite a few years and can’t always find the right ingredients to cook authentic recipes from home.


You may well be in the same position. Certainly, every city and reasonable-sized town at home will have Chinese or Asian stores. But if you’re relying on your local Tesco, they might not have everything a Thai recipe requires. That’s what this lady found and she’s come up with hundreds upon hundreds of great recipes, some of which use substitute ingredients.


When you open up the homepage, you’ll see five sections down the left-hand side. These are recipes, cooking ingredients, where to buy, about the site and member services. I’ll come back to those in a moment but if you scroll down the page a little you’ll see another section of ‘latest additions’ and it looks like they’re added to on a regular basis. Worth a browse through if you have the time. Also at the very bottom left of the page there’s an internal search engine so if, for instance, you know you want to make a Thai green chicken curry, just type those words in and it will direct you straight to the recipe.


Right, let’s have a browse through the ‘recipe’ section. It’s sub-divided into 12 specific areas, such as curries, stir-fries, appetizers, sauces and desserts. And each and every one of the hundreds of recipes is well laid out and described perfectly. There’s a list of ingredients, a step-by-step guide on how to make it and around 15-20 photographs showing every stage of preparation through to the finished dish. It’s about as idiot-proof as it’s possible to get. Even your hillbilly, bucktoothed, trailer-trash second cousin could make these – whilst still playing the banjo.


Moving down to the ‘ingredients’ section, you’ll find it’s divided into 10 parts. This section is really about all the curry pastes, sauces, dried ingredients, noodles, rice, flour, spices, vegetables and herbs she buys at the different supermarkets around where she lives. It’s useful in-so-much that’s she has painstakingly taken a picture of everything available at the stores that you might use. And when you click on fish sauce, for example, it also gives a list of recipes that it’s used in. She isn’t advocating making your own sauces which can be time consuming and many of the leading brands today are quite acceptable. There’s also some good information on the different kinds of flour, rice and noodles that should be used in different dishes.


The third section is of no use unless you live in Canada, as it just lists the supermarkets where she buys her products. In the fourth section there’s a link to her on-line store where you can buy cooking equipment and a link to the forum which seems to be quite popular. And the last section is simply about registering and being able to use the forum and message board.


Overall I like this site because of its excellent recipes and methodology, the straight-forward approach that’s taken to cooking Thai food abroad and the simple lay-out which makes it easy to browse around and find what you want quickly. It’s definitely one to bookmark.


Johnny Paterson


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