Healthy Tastes of Thainess
This year’s Asian Organic Gourmet Festival was held from October 2-4 in Bangkok, and received considerable support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The event celebrated mouthwatering yet healthy dishes made by some of Thailand’s top chefs with some of the most celebrated culinary masters asked to cook at the three-day festival, including Sompong Suksuwan, Satawat Kunarasai, Surasing Viratsakul and Arnon Masalong.
Multiple activities were included in the festival’s itinerary, including live cooking demonstrations, healthy bread baking, lectures on nutrition, Thai dessert classes and even an outdoor farmer’s market.
Organized by Riva Surya Bangkok & the Silver Needle Collection, the festival aimed to promote healthy living using Asian and Thai cooking techniques. The event also supported the development of healthy gourmet cuisine within Thailand’s expat community, as well as encouraging the growth of organic farms across the Kingdom.
“The Asian Organic Gourmet Festival 2015 coincides with TAT’s Discover Thainess campaign in which the promotion of Thailand’s culinary heritage plays a large part alongside the kingdom’s cultural and artistic legacy,” said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT’s Executive Director. “Healthy living also forms a core part of the Thai way of life, such as the use of exotic herbs and spices to enrich the flavors to offer nutrition and health.”
Following the event, Bangkok’s Riva Surya Hotel will offer special menus developed by the festival’s guest chefs at its restaurants. The dishes will be available to guests for the next three months, an after that the hotel plans to put together a brand new organic menu every month.
Authentic Thai cuisine has long been prized for its freshness and flavour, but Thai home cooking is also celebrated for its healthy qualities. Traditionally, Thai dishes are made using an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are cooked with a plethora of herbs and spices to give extra flavour. Common techniques used in Thai cooking, such as flash frying in a wok, mean that the goodness and nutrients of the vegetables aren’t boiled away in the water.
Food and cooking is also a sector of Thailand’s tourism industry that is steadily growing, with an increasing number of people signing up to Thai cooking courses whilst on holiday. These courses often include a trip to the local fresh produce market so visitors have the chance to see exactly where the raw ingredients come from and how they combine to form the classic Thai dishes known around the world.
updates by Wayne Hue