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Archive for the ‘Food and Beverage’ Category

Food in Thailand

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

In recent years, Thai food has become one of the world’s favorite cuisines. When we speak of “Thai food “, we are in fact talking of four very distinct regions in the country, each with their own culinary traditions. We are speaking too of the dishes created in the royal courts and palaces of Old Siam, that have been passed down through many generations of chefs, and finally into public domain.

Good food also comes up from the street level, and many of Thailand’s most popular dishes can be found at the smallest food stalls and restaurants. And there is the influence of China, India, Malaysia and other neighboring countries. So all these different factors come together under the label “Thai food”, and you will find them in varying degrees at any Thai restaurant you care to visit, anywhere in the world.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the cuisine is its use of herbs and spices. With regard to the spices, some Thai dishes are very hot, but by no means all of them. The herbs have another function, in addition to providing flavor, in that they all have to varying degrees various medical and therapeutic benefits.

Thailand has a long history, going back to ancient times, of the use of herbs for medical purpose, and this in turn has permeated the ways of cooking and preparing food. Coupled with its low-fat qualities and its essential freshness, this helps make Thai food one of the healthiest anywhere. Another important aspect about Thai food is the hospitality and friendliness, the sheer enjoyment of good companionship and of eating that is such a powerful element of the Thai personality. Sharing a meal is an important part of the day for any Thai person, and meal are very seldom taken alone. That is why all the dishes are generally served at once during Thai meal, and why there is a communal spoon placed alongside each dish for people to help themselves and to serve others.

A Thai meal ideally is a communal affair, principally because the greater the number of dinners the greater the number of dishes that can be sampled. Diners choose what ever they require from share dishes and generally add it to their own plate of rice. All the dish are serve simultaneously, or nearly so. The object is to archive a harmonious blend of the spicy, the subtle, the sweet and sour, and a meal is meant to be equally satisfying to the eye, nose and palate.

Thailand is blessed with many varieties of plants, herbs and spices which ensure s balanced diet. Today, visitors can both relish classic Thai menus and the benefits of a natural diet, and study the art of Thai cooking at several specialist schools in Bangkok and major beach resorts.

Factor Foods from Thailand

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Bird’s Nest Soup and Bee Larvae Snack are just two of many Fear Factor Foods emanating from Thailand which westerners may find not only a tad squeamish to the eye but also less than palatable to the taste too. However these and many other delicacies are consumed in varying quantities by locals on a daily basis. Some you will find are relatively inexpensive while others are hugely expensive.

There is a simply explanation as to why some people view these bizarre foods as a way of life. While some hypothesis are based purely on cultural upbringing and a great source of cheap protein, others see them as providing a number of health benefits. Some are even thought to contain powerful aphrodisiac ingredients. Perhaps it all boils down to just how willing we all are at pushing our boundaries.

Apparently these products are so nutritious that Chinese medical practitioners encourage people with all sorts of health aliments, to eat them. Now while I haven’t had the courage to try this myself, I do have a have a small jar of the beverage right in front of me. I have yet to open it, so I’m afraid I cannot tell you at this stage what the taste is like. It’s the fear in me that’s a factor.

While wandering around the streets of Bangkok you are bound to stumble upon many a street cart vendor selling an array of unfamiliar, unusual and unimaginable looking deep pan fried edible anything including an assortment of creepy crawling insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, scorpions and frogs that most of us will have come to recognize but would never ever think of actually eating.

However if you look closely enough at all the extraordinary Thai Street Food on offer, you will also spot many a squiggly slug too. One, or so I’m told, is a tasty if not ugly insect larvae known as a bamboo worm. I am also told that these little crispy critters are similar in taste and texture to that of puffed corn snacks.

So instead of perhaps snacking on a packet of crisps, why not try a packet of protein filled bamboo worms. Apparently these worms are far better for you than ordinary western type snacks as they packed with all sorts of nutritious goodies.

Though moths of this larvae once fed on flowering bamboo trees they are now raised on commercial farms and fed on the same diet including organic vegetables and grains. When the worms are mature enough many are quick frozen, shallow fried, flavoured, packaged and then sold in stores and some even online. I have been told that uncooked bamboo worms when eaten are mildly hallucinogenic.

Not everything has to taste like chicken as some would like us to believe. Isn’t it amazing that deep frying anything can make it palatable for human consumption.

Not far from Thailand is the Philippines where you can try a delicacy of a different kind called a Balut. It’s a Filipino dish pronounced bah-luht. For less than a dollar you can buy this baby duck fetus or if you prefer foetus. The tiny duckling hardly starts any form of life incubated in its egg until partially developed. This being little more than part of the beak, some pieces I don’t wish to describe and even a sprinkling of feathers. The egg is then boiled and spiced. Apart from being high in protein, they are also believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac. There is no doubt that this fear factor food would win hands down in any eye-candy department.

During the curing process and within the cheese itself, flies lay their eggs leaving behind thousands of white transparent maggots. They can either be scrapped out or eaten live with the cheese but be aware that these little critters are good at jumping and are known to hop as high as fifteen centimeters. It’s best to wear some sort of eye protection while wolfing down some of these live maggot larvae.

This may be a great treat for some dare devils but if not whole-heartily chewed properly, surely many maggots could survive in the acids of your stomach and then perhaps even start breeding in your intestines thus causing regurgitation of the worst possible kind. Or is it possible you can catch a serious case of diarrhea or both. These maggots have powerful mouth-hooks which can lacerate stomach linings or intestinal walls while attempting to bore through your internal organs.

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