ISSAN STREET FOOD COOKING CLASS
Taught by Fon Gulig
Sunday, October 20, 2019 from 4:00 pm to 7:00pm
In the kitchen at Pied Beauty Farm
From the richest areas of Bangkok to the poorest villages of Issan, food carts populate the streets. It is difficult to walk more than two blocks in any direction before one encounters the pungent scent of fried chilies intermingling with the truly vast array of spices that define the Thai pallet. Most of these stands specialize in a single dish, which the proprietor has likely been preparing for decades. Surprisingly, most Thais don’t know how to cook as a result of the accessibility of these stands. In fact, the majority of apartments in which Thais live don’t have kitchens. Instead, for dinner, one simply leaves their house and walks from stand to stand and either takes the dishes home or eats with strangers at the many plastic tables that line even the busiest of roads. In Thailand, eating is a social event. One never eats alone or orders individually. Rather, one orders as a group; the dishes are communal. For a clearer picture of Thai street food culture, see the first episode of the Netflix Docu-series Street Food, which follows Jay Fai, one of the only street vendors to receive a Michelin Star: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI_LjETc_Ak
Course Curriculum / Menu
Khoa Niao (sticky Rice)
Sticky rice, or sweet rice, is a defining staple of the rural, Northeastern region of the country, known colloquially as Issan. As opposed to Thai Jasmine Rice, or “beautiful rice,” which is more associated with the urban, affluent central region, sticky rice is steamed instead of boiled, and is usually eaten by hand.
Larb Moo (minced pork salad)
Typically served with sticky rice, larb, a protein based “salad,” is a staple of Issan street food that consists of minced pork tossed in toasted rice powder, fish sauce, fresh chilies, lime, scallions, green onions, and mint.
Som Tum Thai (Spicy Papaya Salad)
If there is a single dish that most represents the street food culture of Issan, it is likely Som Tum. While the traditional regional version of the dish is called Som Tum Lao, most westerners have a difficult time with its main seasoning ingredient, Pra La, a fermented fish/paste. Thus, we’ll be focusing instead on the more foreign friendly version, Som Tum Thai, a fresh salad made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lime, sugar, fish sauce, and peanuts.
Gai Neung Ta Kai (Steamed lemongrass Chicken)
This is unequivocally the most requested dish in our household. It consists of chicken thighs marinated in garlic and lemongrass, which is then steamed with galangal and kafir lime leaf and eaten with a sweet and spicy garlic chili sauce.
Khoa Niao Mamuang (Mango and Sticky Rice)
Arguably the most famous of thai deserts, mango and sticky rice is native to every region of the country, especially during mango season. The dish consists of fresh, sliced mango atop a layer of skticky rice tossed with sugar inflused coconut milk