“Danish tourists really miss a lot when dining out in Thailand” freelance writer Sofie Lisby says. After a decade in Thailand she and her co-writer Christina Lund Sørensen noticed a sad tendency when their Danish friends and family visited. Their guests feared to order anything but Pad Thai and red curry.
Thailand is much more than red curry. Denmark simply needed a culinary travelguide according to the two female foodlovers. October 2015 the book “Smag på Thailand” (=Taste Thailand) will come to rescue the Danish tasting buds.
I am meeting Sofie Lisby for lunch at a hidden street kitchen in the district of Pathum Wan in Bangkok. Even if it was hard to find it is already crowded with hungry people, but except for the two of us all the guests are Thai.
“A shame”, Sofie mentions when she order Som Tam and Larb Gai. With the new travelguide the two women hope the seats will be filled with foreigners too.
“Food is everything. Every person, region and country has a story to tell about food. We wanted to open up the Danish hearts and mouths” Sofie Lisby and Christina Lund say. Therefore the two Danish women spent a large part of 2014 eating and travelling each and every corner of Thailand. From the high-end restaurants ordering fusionfood to secret jungle spots enjoying dinner on bamboo mats. Their mission was clear: they wanted to explore Thailand by tasting it. They both agree food is one of the most important ways to learn about new culture and Thailand with no exception.
During their foodjourney they only lived by two main rules: they could not write about anything without tasting it first, which has made them step out of their comfortzones to taste something so exotic as grilled talepods and ants. They met their limit when a restaurant served raw porkmeat and said no thanks, otherwise they have had an open mind.
The waiter serves us fried chicken accomplished with sticky rice and papaya salad, and even though half of our dinner is not the most healthy choice, Sofie looks lean and fit.
“There is actually no thing I did not like during our journey” Sofie admits. This is why they applied a second main rule: to stay fit and don’t end up fat when finishing their book. The two foodlovers downloaded a fitness-app and have been doing push ups at hotelrooms and squat jumps on parking lots to keep up the balance with eating good food. The Thai food is indeed good, but for the two women it’s not only just because of the taste.
“We love how Thais are proud of their cuisine. We have been travelling all around Thailand and no matter what region you’re from, you’re happy and proud when making food. Some of the restaurants or street kitchens we have visited are more than 90 years old, and by good reputation they have managed to survive” they say.
Never ending food story
Even if both of them have lived in Thailand for several years they were both surprised to know how little they actually knew about Thai cuisine. Beside staying fit and daring to eat everything they both agree the biggest challenge was to manage all the pieces of new information into one single book. It was like solving a different puzzle.
“We decided to divide the book into different chapters. They consist of knowledge about the cuisines in the different regions, a wide set of portraits from the professional chef to the common housewife, recipes from locals, tips and a mini-parlour when ordering food from a place where no menu is shown and no English is spoken”, they tell.
The food culture are constantly under development. Not only in Thailand, but worldwide. The recent years “food” has gained enormous popularity and never has there been shown more food programmes in television or shared so many posts about food on the social media like now.
“Food is an universal thing. It’s a cultural thing everyone understands. We want this book to be a key to open new doors and invite people further into the world of food,” Sofie says.
The book is published in Denmark October 2015. It is filled with new knowledge and new dishes waiting to be eaten. The food adventure does not stop here. The two ladies are already determined to go on their second foodjourney and hungry for making a follow-up! We are ready to be served!