Hello Vegan Mofo 2014! I am all up in you and you are already time-sucking my life in all the best ways.
September is the annual vegan month of food, and this year the theme I’ve chosen is – surprise, surprise – Thai food and travel. Yes, I already write about Thai food and Thai inspired food plenty, but with good reason. Thai food and culture is a comfort and a challenge to me, a welcoming place with food so special I sometimes can’t believe it’s real. A cuisine I am desperate to master.
This month I will cover a lot of Thai cuisine basics, including primers on dishes and ingredients you may or may not already know, plus some recipes and vegan substitutions. Thai travel will be interwoven throughout the theme, given much of my knowledge comes from years of travel in the region. I’ll end the month on Thai soil, so expect some exciting photos from the annual Thailand Vegetarian Festival (เทศกาลกินเจ)!
There are numerous factors in my attraction to everything Thai, but I find it difficult to put them into words. I will likely never be able to explain exactly why Thai food and culture is so important to me, but I will try to hit on a few obvious points.
Firstly, I enjoy a challenge and this is a cuisine that provides just that. Claiming to cook a Thai meal by mixing curry paste with canned coconut milk is akin to the authentic Mexican tacos you just prepared courtesy of Old El Paso. Not that there is anything wrong with those scenarios. It’s just that I want to do better. Always.
Furthermore, I like to work toward precision and control. That may come as a surprise given the title of this blog, which also still applies. Believe me when I say that more than once I’m crying because I’ve squeezed lime juice in my eye by accident and then rubbed it with chilli fingers (now I keep a pair of swimming goggles in the kitchen). Thai cooking requires a skilled accuracy that is difficult to put on paper, but one that I feel I am slowly achieving.
I also love condiments (of which there are loads ubiquitous to the Thai table) and I have a fondness for snacking with abandon. Thais are the masters of frequent nibbling.
Every country has its culinary winners, but I believe Thai food is one of the most adaptable and challenging in the world (not to mention most delicious).
And Thailand is really bloody gorgeous.