Bam’s Kitchen Live on Location: Wet Market Chiang Mai -Thailand
I am here in Bam's Kitchen live on location in Chiang Mai, Thailand. From the very early predawn there are rounds of monks fanning out along the aisles. There are made-to-order stalls ablaze in neon and jammed with hungry locals long after dark. Can you hear the buzz of the Tuk Tuk's dropping off and picking up passengers? Can you smell the salty, sweet and sour, bitter, and spiciness of the different aromatic dishes permeating the streets? Can you see the polite smiling faces and hear the warm welcoming song of "Sawadeeka" from the stall owners? I am here in the heart of Thailand's busting colorful street stalls and markets, Chiang Mai night market. I plan to learn how to cook from the experts and eat my way through Thailand. A great new goal for 2012. Happy New Year to all of you and wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year.
During my all day cooking class at the Smart Cook Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, I learned Thai people have taken foreign influences and transformed them into a cuisine uniquely their own.
Thailand was a cross roads of East to West sea routes causing its culture and cuisine to be infused with Persian and Arabian elements. Foreign recipes have been integrated with traditional Thai dishes, resulting in unique flavor that is unmistakably Thai.
The Thai people migrated from valley settlements in the mountainous region of Southwest China between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, into what is now known as Thailand, Laos, the Shan States of upper Burma, and northwest Vietnam. Influenced by Chinese cooking techniques, Thai cuisine flourished with the rich biodiversity of the Thai peninsula. As a result, Thai dishes today have some similarities to Szechuan Chinese dishes.
The influence of the foreign trade was also important. The Portuguese brought their sweets to King Narai's court in the seventeenth century. Some say Buddhist monks from India brought curry to Thailand. Indian curry and Muslim cuisine were introduced at a palace feast in honor of King Rama I at the turn of the 18th century. Some of these dishes are still popular today including Masaman curry and yellow curry. Masaman curry contains many dried spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. Yellow curry can be spiced with turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seed and red chilies powder.
In addition, many of the specialty Thai desserts originated only on religious or auspicious holidays as many people would gather together to cook desserts for the monks. Also, the King palace had large influence on creating new and creative Thai desserts that were once only suitable for the king but now are readily available for all people in Thailand.