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June's ‘Thai Cuisine Website of The Month’ is www.enjoythaifood.com

 

26This month we take a look at one of the most comprehensive websites around about everyday life in Thailand. It’s written by a chap called Richard Barrow, who has lived in the country since the early 1990s and who currently resides in Samut Prakan. That’s the province where Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) is located. He’s been promoting Thailand on-line since 1998, and writes a number of websites and blogs on a whole range of topics related to Thailand.

    This particular site is dedicated to food, and it’s fascinating, informative and has excellent photographs that he takes himself. On the homepage you’ll find his latest entries about Thai food, a section on popular articles and another listing of photographs he’s taken with his iPhone. On the top right-hand corner of the homepage there’s an internal search engine so you can quickly find a topic you’re interested in.

      Along the top banner of the homepage there are eight links to other pages. The first one is ‘Food Blogs’ and it’s worth browsing through the 100 or so articles he’s written about Thai food. Next is ‘Thai Desserts’ and there must be more than 50 listed. All of them have very good photographs and usually a list of ingredients or how they are made. Some also have links to a video showing how to make them. And most of them are desserts that he’s found locally. Few visitors to Thailand ever try more than sticky rice with mango or banana fritters and this link clearly illustrates the huge diversity of Thai desserts available from everyday market stalls and shops.

 

To make it even more challenging,
he didn’t allow himself to eat the
same dish twice or return to the same
stall or vendor twice in one week.

 

       His next link is ‘Thai Street Food’, and it’s brilliant. In September of 2010, he decided to give himself a culinary challenge. For one month he would eat nothing but Thai street food; three meals a day, seven days a week and nothing else whatsoever. Part of the exercise was to see if he could eat out cheaper than cooking at home. And also it was because many Thais, especially in the cities, don’t have kitchens at home and he wanted to understand their day-to-day culinary experiences. To make it even more challenging, he didn’t allow himself to eat the same dish twice or return to the same stall or vendor twice in one week. And visits to the local 7-Eleven stores for snacks were totally off limits. It’s a fascinating and enlightening read, and most days he spent less than 100 baht on three meals.

       Next to that is a link called ‘Lunch Menu’ and it details what he and his work colleagues typically ate at lunchtimes; again mostly from street stalls. There’s another link to photographs of meals he ate in a local Thai school over a couple of weeks. And in the ‘How To Cook’ link there are more than 50 recipes for dishes he’s tried out at home. And they are all simple enough dishes that you could recreate yourself. Next to that is a link to the Samut Prakan Vegetarian Festival and there are dozens of delicious looking dishes that he’s photographed and eaten whilst there. He proves the point that Thai cuisine isn’t just about pork, chicken and seafood. And the final link is to a forum that has well in excess of 500 threads, all about Thai food

       This is a site you could return to again and again and learn something new about Thai cuisine and Thai life every time. An incredible amount of time and effort has gone into it, and it easily stands out from the crowd. Bookmark it and the next time you’re wandering around a Thai market or come across a street vendor selling food, you’ll be much better prepared, and may well try some dishes you’d never previously heard of. There’s a vast Thai culinary world beyond pad Thai and green curry that’s waiting to be discovered

 

Johnny Paterson


 


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