Eat Your Heart out - Gorge on Thai Food

Update:15 Aug 2007

If you love Thai food, this is your chance to eat your heart out during the month-long Thai Food Festival, featuring the four regional cuisines of the north, northeast, south and mid country.

Thai food lovers can now explore Thailand's four main regional cuisines in depth during the month-long Thai Food Festival underway through September 9.

The festival is held at four of Shanghai's finest Thai eateries: Simply Thai, Baan Thai, Lan Na Thai and Ma Boon Krong. Each has earned the Thai government's "Thai Select" designation, a certification of authenticity and excellence.

The festival is organized by the Commercial Section of the Royal Thai Consulate General.

"Only 10 years ago there was only one Thai restaurant in Shanghai to speak of, but now we can find at least 20 around the city," says Dr Phaichi Viboontanasarn, director of the Commercial Section.

Thai cuisine owes its richness to the country's diversity of herbs, fruits and vegetables, along with culinary influences from neighbors like India, Myanmar, Laos, China and regional colonial powers like Portugal and France. Thailand itself, however, was never conquered or occupied.

These foreign accents filtered into the Thai culinary system that balances the five tastes of hot, sour, sweet, spicy and bitter, creating delightful harmonies of flavors.

"Very different from previous Thai food promotions we have held in Shanghai, this is the first time we introduce our cuisines from the four famous regions," says Dr Viboontanasarn. They are the south, north, northeast and central regions.

"This is an excellent opportunity for Thai gourmet lovers to broaden their culinary horizons and gain a deeper appreciation of Thai food."

Coconut, seafoods and hot curries are the favorites in the South. Northern dishes are generally milder and often tend towards salty, with glutinous rice replacing the aromatic jasmine rice preferred elsewhere. In the northeast, tables are graced with tender meats of frogs, snakes, lizards and various insects. Central Thailand, meanwhile, seems to combine the best of all worlds, often serving mildly sweet dishes in beautiful visual presentation.

Although the different regions have many ingredients in common - curries, fish sauces, sausages, chilies, lemongrass and tamarind, to name a few - each also has its own local accents. Thai sausages differ from region to region, for example, and certain vegetables are to native particular areas.

In addition to traditional Thai foods such as curry chicken and Thai mango sticky rice, the menus and presentation have been left to the creativity of the chefs and operators at the individual restaurants.

This one-month long festival will run until September 9 as the first part of the Thai Culture Festival. After that the festival presents traditional Thai culture and arts covering Thai dance, Thai boxing, travel destinations, education, folk handicrafts and jewelry exhibit.

The famous "Boy Thai" band, hailed for its ingenious blending of Thai musical instruments with Western elements will play their classics.

Source:Shanghai Daily

From the Editor 

    
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