Today on the blog I continue with the theme of Thai food and with the recent chat I had with guest Khun Bussaba Chumnumporn about her favourite Thai dishes. This time Khun Bussaba (nickname Kung) gives us the dishes she would put together if hosting a Thai dinner party.
In a previous post Khun Bussaba gave us her favourite Thai dishes and these were dishes that are not often found in Western Thai restaurants.
Trevor: Can You Give Us Your Full Name Please
My name is Bussaba Chumnumporn ( บุษบา ชุมนุมพร ), but my nickname is Kung.
Trevor: Can You Tell Us A Little Bit About Yourself
Kung: I am 38 years old and my home town is Lopburi. I lived in Lopburi for 15 years of my life up until grade 9 education and then I left home to study in Bangkok. On completion of my studies I made Bangkok my home and did not return to Lopburi. I do however return home once in a while to visit family and friends of course.
Trevor: Can You Tell Us A Bit About Your Work
I am self-employed and my work is making premium bags from spunbon, cotton, canvas, calico,etc and packaging under order from customers. It’s just a small business now, but 11 years ago I employed 9 ladies. Now I prefer to work alone. When I receive orders from customers I buy the materials…spunbon, cotton etc. The next step is to bring the fabric to the cutting factory for cutting by pattern of my order. After that I bring it all to the paint screen factory to screen, before finally the sewing takes place.
For more information or to place an order Kung can be contacted on her facebook page
Kung’s Music Entertainment For The Evening
Trevor: If you were hosting a Thai dinner party for friends, what dishes would you give them? Let’s say if you were putting it together in a western style of appetizers, main courses and desserts.
Kung: Oh I am sorry, but I am in a difficult position again. There are so many dishes that I would like to do so please allow me to serve a buffet menu of assorted dishes.
Of course really when you are having a dinner party the focus should be more on friends than on the food. We all hope that we will enjoy the company of our friends, but that does not mean the food is any less important. The Thai style when we are at parties is not to eat lots, but to try to taste little portions of everything. This is why it’s better that I host a Thai buffet menu event instead of a dinner party. Nowadays people care more about what they eat, because there is more awareness about healthy eating. I have also prepared some healthy dishes for my party.
Trevor: On my first visits to Thailand many years ago it did not take me long to note that eating alone is not a favourite pastime of Thai people. During the mid 1980’s I would often wonder just why I received so many strange looks dining at a table alone. For me it was quite normal to have lunch by myself. For Thai people eating is considered more of a social event and company is much preferred to eating on one’s own. As you say Kung that way you get to taste many different types of dishes instead of my one dish and rice.
I am quite a fan of proverbs and it’s amazing how many Thai proverbs are food related. At the same time they often have very little to do with food, but whilst enjoying your buffet appetizers I will run a few of them by you.
Welcome to Kung’s buffet party starting of course with the appetizers.
1) Thai fish cake
Thai fish cakes consist of fish, winged bean, red curry paste, fish sauce and oil.
The cucumber dipping sauce can be used with fih cakes and includes cucumber, shallots, vinegar, sugar and a fine sprinkling of red chillies.
Kung: My mother would use a special trick when preparing this dish. She would pound the fish mix after dipping the pestle in to salt water. By doing this it caused the fish to become sticky and not soggy. In turn it also served a couple of other purposes, first it stopped the fish from breaking and two it made it taste absolutely delicious.
Proverb: Thailand is renowned the world over for food and also for a few spicy dishes. However the king of the spices is the little red bird’s-eye chilli ” Lek Phrik Khii Nuu ” (เล็กพริกขี้หนู). That little chilli is so pretty and looks so nice. If you like your food hot then take a bite of the little red chilli. You will more than likely find you are left with your mouth wide open and desperately in need of water. The morale of the story is don’t underestimate something small it can still have one almighty punch.
2) Fresh spring roll- Guay diaw luy suan ( ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน)
This dish consists of big flat noodles, lettuce, basil , coriander, minced pork, carrot, mushroom, mushroom and radish.
Culture Note: Whilst dining as a guest at a Thai dinner engagement remember not to touch any of the food before the host, oldest or wealthiest person attending announces that eating should commence. This is usually done in an informal way by quietly announcing ” Gin khao” กินข้าว which simply means eat rice.
Proverb: Here are a couple of noodle based Thai idioms or proverbs. When two people have fallen out and are not speaking to each other they are said to be ” Mai Gin Sen ” (ไม่กินเส้น), not eating noodles. A person who is (Sen Yai เส้นใหญ่ – a big noodle), is known as an important person.
3) Prawn spring roll – Po pia Gung (ปอเปี๊ยะกุ้ง)
Kung: The ingredients for this include prawn meat, garlic, pepper, coriander root, cabbage, carrots, coriander, celery and glass noodles.
Culture Note: Don’t be surprised if there is a brief interlude during the meal. This will usually come in the form of the host beaming a smile your way and saying ” aroy mai ” Is it delicious ”. The smile will stay and all will be well with the world as you reply ” aroy” or even better ”aroy maak” Very delicious. So you now know what to say to Kung if you are lucky enough to be invited to her buffet party and she asks the question of is it delicious?
Proverb: If a man is ” Gin nam phrik thuay diaw ” (กินน้ําพริกถ้วยเดียว) or in other words eats chilli paste from a single bowl then he is said to be faithful to just one woman. If a man stays with a woman a long time then he is said to be ” Gin Nam Phrik Thuay Gao ” (กินน้ําพริกถ้วยเก่า) to eat chilli paste from the original bowl.
4) Pork Satay – Muu Satay (หมูสะเต๊ะ)
Kung: The ingredients here consist of pork meat, garlic, pepper, coriander root, oyster sauce, soy sauce, turmeric, dark soy sauce and a bit of sugar
For the Satay dip there are two popular choice dips.
The peanut sauce dip consists of one teaspoon Massaman curry paste, 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1 Tablespoon of Peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of Sugar and 4 Tablespoons of Coconut Milk. The peanut sauce dip is the dip on the left in the photo above.
The cucumber dipping sauce located on the right of the photo above includes cucumber, shallots, vinegar, sugar and a fine sprinkling of red chillies.
Culture Note: We are talking here in the form appetizers and Main Dishes being brought out in a Western type of way, but really Khun Kung is correct to do this buffet style. Normally at a Thai eating event all dishes would be placed on the table at the same time. Diners will wait until everything has been brought to the table before getting down to the eating.
Proverb: When you are in the honeymoon period of a romantic relationship the Thais call this ” Khao Mai Pla Man ” (ข้าวใหม่ปลามัน), new rice and juicy fish. On the opposite side of the fence to this is a long – term relationship that’s gone bad. The Thais call this ” Khao Buut Pla Raa ” (ข้าวบูดปลาร้า), in other words spoiled rice, rotten fish.
5) Thai Steamed Dumplings – Kanom Jeeb (ขนมจีบ)
Kung: The main ingredients here are pork and prawn meat, soy sauce, pepper and wrapping sheet pastry.
Culture Note: Don’t pick up the serving dishes and bring to you. The correct way is to take your spoon to the serving dish and place the food on your plate. If you cannot reach then someone who is near your food dish of choice will put the food on the plate for you. Thai people are excellent at attending to every whim at eating occasions and will see instantly notice if you can’t reach the dish you require.
Proverb: To try to give flavour to a wide and expansive river would be a difficult and pointless task. Spending money pointlessly is said to be the same as ” Tam Nam Phrik Lalai Mae Nam ” (ตำน้ำพริกละลายแม่น้ำ), in other words making chilli paste one after another and throwing them in the river.
6)Fresh Ingredients Wrapped – Miang kham (เมี่ยงคำ)
This dish is a special Thai snack and consists of lots of healthy and exciting ingredients all wrapped finally in a leaf called bai cha plu (ใบชะพลู) ” wild pepper leaf”. The ingredients are shallots, coconut meat, dried shrimp, lime, ginger, roasted peanuts, garlic and chilli.
Miang Kham ready to wrap
Miang Kham ready to wrap and complete with sauce
The dipping sauce consists of cooked roasted shredded coconut, finely grounded dried shrimps, roasted peanuts, palm sugar and fish sauce.
Finally wrapping the ingredients in a leaf called bai cha plu (ใบชะพลู) ” wild pepper leaf”.
I hope that you enjoyed the appetizers of Kung’s buffet party, but please make sure you have some room left as the Main Courses and desserts will follow soon.
Next Time: Thai Buffet Main Course with Khun Bussaba Chumnumporn (Kung)