Stories from Siam
An initiative between the Thai Consulate General and CSMVS aims to acquaint Mumbaikars with the country's cuisine and culture at a two-day festival
The year was 2011 and for most Indians, Asian food hardly went beyond the set choice between chilli chicken and manchurian (both available in dry and gravy variants). In Kolkata, our hometown, Benjarong, a Thai fine-dining space, was, at the time, a glorious hit among foodies for it allowed their imagination to run wild with exquisite dishes on offer. A lot has changed since.
Today, a late-night VFM joint almost necessarily involves a Thai green curry on the menu both in Kolkata and, even more so, in a megapolis like Mumbai. Thai cuisine's presumed familiarity with Indian food, coupled with the geographical proximity between the two countries, an exodus of Indian globetrotters to Thailand, and a general rise in awareness about global food, had a direct impact with Thai restaurants sprouting in the city.
And yet, barring a few eateries, finding the difference between a red and a green Thai curry is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Much of what's on offer fails to pass the authenticity test. And Ekapol Poolpipat, Consul General at The Royal Thai Consulate-General, echoes this, highlighting the thought behind Namaste Thailand in Mumbai, 2018, the second edition of a Thai festival scheduled to take place in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya this weekend. “This festival aims to promote Thai-Indian bilateral relations through soft diplomacy and cultural exchange,” Poolpipat says.
It will include a cooking workshop by chef and lecturer in food and nutrition, Chayanit Prampate, who will showcase the techniques behind preparing some authentic dishes like som tum, a Thai-style papaya salad, massaman curry, a rich curry belonging to the Muslim community in the country, tom yum soup, a piquant item usually consumed with seafood, and Thai sticky rice with custard, a dessert made with steamed egg custard served on a bed of sticky rice and flavoured with coconut. “There are so many Thai restaurants in Mumbai, but unfortunately not all of the food is authentic. We wanted to showcase pure Thai food to Mumbaikars,” Poolpipat explains.
Chayanit Prampate and Ekapol Poolpipat
On December 1 and 2; 2 pm to 6 pm
At CSMVS, Fort.
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