Almost nothing brings people of different cultures and perspectives together like sharing delicious food.
Making food and sharing meals with others, whether bonding over a simple dinner or feasting at a massive celebration, is believed to lead to a happier and healthier life. Food has been known to let one’s guard down and provide a safe space for people to get to know one another better. Having a sense of connectedness with the people around us benefits our well-being, leading to better communication, collaboration and productivity.
After an exciting day of workshops and team-building activities, here are three lesser-known Thai foods to chow down on while learning about Thai produce and their unique flavours and cultural expression.
1. Kaeng Liang
Kaeng liang has long been a staple in Thai kitchens. Its properties are almost medicinal when the house is filled with the aroma of the fresh herbs, spices and vegetables used in the popular Thai curry – Chinese okra (square zucchini), gourd, basil, pumpkin, straw mushrooms, black pepper, and shallots. Kaeng liang is renowned for stimulating the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. Still, its other benefits include nourishing the bones and teeth, the brain and eyesight, reducing cholesterol, and controlling blood sugar levels. Its pleasant taste makes it popular with all ages and sexes, and with easy-to-find ingredients, it all adds to making this dish a favourite in Thai kitchens for generations.
2. Miang Kham Bai Cha Phlu
Miang kham bai cha phlu is a tasty snack that originated at the royal court and has been a popular choice at parties and other social gatherings since ancient times. There is a cultural tradition to the picking of the miang leaves that operates like the rhythms of a conversation whereby one person assembles their miang “packet”, then the next person follows, and so on in order around the circle. Each miang packet contains cha phlu leaves, roasted coconut, diced shallots, bird’s eye chillies, ginger, diced lime, dried shrimp, peanuts, and the sweet and salty miang sauce. You can choose the amount of each ingredient to include according to personal taste. It is believed that miang kham bai cha phlu has high medicinal value in its balance of the four elements (earth, water, wind, and fire) from the cha phlu leaves, herbs and other healthy ingredients.