Friday, October 16, 2009

World Food Day

Today is World Food Day. I like to think that every day is World Food Day at True Thai Restaurant. It is not just Americans who borrow food from other countries.

True Thai is perhaps best known for its curries, but I have to admit that India invented curry first. Thailand just made it better, and Japan helped.

Japan? Now I know you are curious because the Japanese are not exactly famous for their curries. But kabocha squash originated in Japan, and so True Thai must share credit for our Red Curry with Kabocha Squash (#F) with Japan, as well as India.

Wikipedia also gives Laos co-credit for Panang curry (#32). And while most people do not think of Thailand as a Muslim country, our Masaman curry (#31) is very, very Muslim. Masaman curry has many Middle Eastern ingredients (cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cloves, nutmeg) and the cardamom often comes from India or Mayalasia. But the potatoes (Peru), peanuts (Latin America), and bay leaves (Asia Minor) are anything but Muslim.

And that is just our curries! Here are some other True Thai items that did not originate in Thailand:
  • Curry Puffs (#A): Malaysian/Singaporean/Thai
  • Sweet Purple Yam (#B): The Philippines
  • Plum Sauce (many dishes/dipping sauces): China
  • Egg Rolls (#2 & #3): China
  • Spring Rolls (#4 & #5): Vietnam
  • Satay (#6): Java
  • Imperial Fried Wontons/Wonton Soup (#7 & #17): China
  • Tofu (many dishes): invented by the ancient Chinese and then immediately "borrowed" by every other Asian country
  • Deep-fried foods (many appetizers): European and brought to Asia by the Portuguese
  • Fried rice (many dishes): China
  • Iced tea and coffee: France
So you see, every day really is World Food Day at True Thai. We even have food that is American in origin!

Well, OK, one item that is partly American. Imperial Fried Wontons (#7) with cream cheese. Cream Cheese was invented by an American dairyman from New York in 1872. His name was William Lawrence and to this day nutritionists hiss when they say his name. As a Public Health Nurse I cannot argue with them.

Cheese is very un-Thai. Cream cheese is very very un-Thai, but cream cheese wontons are very popular.