Peanuts Declaration

10 Aug

After a rant from Nate, my long time friend in my Padthai recipe entry made me realized that there are a lot of misconceptions about Asian food for a lot of non-Asian people in non-Asian countries.People assumed that because we are Asian we would all eating our food with chopsticks, and it annoys me to see people eating their food with chopsticks in Thai restaurants. The fact is Thai people would only used chopsticks with soup Noodles. Chopsticks are only widely used by the East Asian’s countries (China, Japan and South Korea) and the countries where Chinese are dominated like Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore. We would simply use spoon and fork with most of the food.

These countries, especially in Japan, I’ve found that they are obsessed with using chopsticks, despite my long relationship with chopsticks usage( I’ve been holding chopsticks since I was two and a half) but I’m still terrible at using it. When I was in Japan, my host father who was really strict about holding chopsticks would smacked me when he saw me holding it in a wrong way. In Thailand, not many people would care. They even have the competition on TV on who is the best at using chopsticks, that is very fascinating.

When I read Nate’s comment, I was about to turn off my computer and go to sleep, but because it bothered me so I decided to chat with him a bit. It has been a while since I had Thai food in the restaurants outside Thailand, and his comment actually brought back some memories. There are a lot of misconceptions about Asian food in foreign countries, the easy example would be the peanuts and Thai food, When I asked Nate who lives in Montgomery, Alabama about what he had experienced in the Thai restaurants over there, he told me lots of interesting stories especially about peanuts and peanut sauce.

Now, for those who think that the authentic Thai food must have peanut/ peanut sauce in it, think again.  Peanut sauce is not Thai and we don’t use peanut sauce on regular basis. I’ve been checking out dishes that use peanut sauce and came up with only few dishes;

1)  Satay – Malay Origin

2) Salad Kaak (Indian/Middle East Salad) – Somewhat like Malay/Indonesia’s Gado Gado

The dishes that use peanuts are;

1) Mussaman Curry – Malay/Indian dish

2) Somtum Thai – one type of papaya salad

3) Padthai – adaptation of Chinese dish

Apart from those five dishes, I couldn’t think of anything else from the top of my head. In fact, if I’m not wrong, most of the recipes I see  that using “peanut sauce” as a part of “Thai ……” are from non-Thai language magazines or cookbooks, and within those recipes “peanut butter” is used as a quick solution for a quick peanut sauce. The peanut butter??  I only eat peanut butter with bread (sometimes fingers…but that’s irrelevant)

Ok I think that’s enough with the rant…the whole point of this entry is ” We Thai people do not put peanut  in ALL our food. Therefore, the dishes that do not use peanut butter or peanut can be authentic Thai as well!” 

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