I don’t know why I haven’t come across this earlier since the website project was started in 2007. I know David Thompson’s 2008 book is a beautifully packaged Thai culinary history and recipe bible. No one can denounce that, but it doesn’t make Chiang Mai University’s attempt to codify Northern Thai cuisine in English any less incredible.
Why is this website so important? Well, there are a few knowledgable Thai recipe writers who publish in English. Thaifoodmaster is one. His recipes are well loved, the photog is lovely, and he’s internationally know. His Northern Thai recipe repertoire? half a dozen, tops. The CMU sponsored Lanna Foods website has 170 recipes. While you know there are still a few missing (I don’t even see khanom jeen nam ngiao in there), the dessert section alone embarrasses a typical LA Thai restaurant, even a great Northern Thai restaurant in LA.
While being a Google monkey searching out references on Lanna cuisine, I ran across this restaurant which I visited back on Nov 9th, 2010:
Restaurant Tong, in a very chic western part of Chiang Mai, near the uni:
My pathetic non-Iphone photo:
And of course, they have 4square check-in.
Seeing these pictures brought back a flood of SE Asian memories. Chiang Mai, despite being a very touristy city packed with farangs congregating within the old city walls, has not one, but two sickeningly large food markets established directly across one another. They are rife with “authenticity” that the Bangkok outdoor markets lack. The juxtaposition is disturbing, yet seriously tasty.
The next bit is more punctual. Ching He Huang, the beaut with the Econ degree, since turned exotic culinary ambassador, pairs up with OG Chinese food giant Ken Hom for a tour of China all very “On the road” style. Except Ms. Huang and kEn are both much less annoying and pompus, and Ching actually wields a badass cleaver to juliene garlic shoots. Skinny girl with a giant cleaver is hotter than Skinny girl with vodka.
Here’s a pirated episode 1, ep2 is also out, and the mini-series is ongoing in England right now:
Despite my overall enthusiasm for this serious, I’m sad they decided to edit in Ms. Huang’s cooking all Bobby Flay Throwdown style. I know the Brits love soft spoken Asiany food TV show hosts, but over and over we get to hear how inauthentic Chinese ingredients are in the UK. Who wants this thought-garbage strewn all over the show? Show us the tasty bits, leave your bad British Chinese food at home, please!
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