Samui Wining & Dining

This month’s recommended Thai culinary website is one of those sites that has loads of interesting information about Thai food and culture as well as recipes. Simple to navigate around, there’re 20 links down the left-hand side of the homepage and almost every one is worth checking out.

From the top, there’re several links that give a basic insight into how Thais eat, what a meal consists of, regional variations and specialities, typical cooking techniques and important utensils. It’s definitely a good starting point, particularly if you’ll be eating with Thai people whilst you’re here or having Thai guests in your home. Certain points of etiquette are quite the opposite of what Europeans might consider to be good manners. For instance, Thai people eat with a spoon and fork, the fork being used to push food onto the spoon or to pick up pieces of meat or sliced fruit. Chopsticks are only used with noodles, and sticky-rice is eaten by hand.

Further down the list there’s information on typical ingredients split into nine sections. The parts about sauces and pastes are of significance, particularly the information about the amount of chilies as not all of them are spicy or hot. And understanding what goes into each sauce or paste may be important if you have an allergy to peanuts, for instance. Under the heading ‘herbs and spices’ you’ll find an explanation of what each one is with an accompanying picture. This is handy if you’re shopping at an Asian food-store or market back home. And items such as galangal, lemon-grass, kaffir-lime leaves and Chinese keys (a rhizome with skinny fingers that hang down like a bunch of keys) probably aren’t on your usual shopping list.

Continuing down the links you’ll see ‘recipes’ and ‘recipe cards’. For some reason, the first one has a list of recipes by course with easy instructions but no photograph of the finished dish. However, the recipe cards do come with a picture and there’s a separate section of recipes in Thai if you happen to be keen on learning the language. Most of the recipes seem short on methodology but many Thai dishes are quick to make and more time is actually spent on preparation.

At the time of writing, they were adding a video link to show a chef cooking some of the recipes. However, the example they had was not great quality and the audio was poor. Still, I’m sure they will improve on that and it will be a good guide for the inexperienced cook.

Overall, this site has good background information on Thai cuisine and culinary customs, easy-to-follow popular recipes and it’s simple enough to navigate around. Once they improve on the video link and add some more photographs of the food, and perhaps a few more unusual recipes, then it will be an excellent one-stop shop for Thai-food lovers.


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