About food & culture
Spicy Korean Kimchi is famous around the world but Thailand's has been forgotten even at home.
Thai pickled vegetables (Photo by Jetjaras Na Ranong)
No longer in a pickle
Preserved vegetables are finally getting a much deserved place at the table
From a common food for all, pickled vegetables have sometimes been associated with an unhealthy diet over the past couple of years.
However, they are now being re-discovered by herbal experts
Pickled vegetables were once a popular side dish that usually accompanied every family meal However, it was slowly deemed unhealthy because of its sour taste and raw state
"Why do we perceive yoghurt or apple vinegar as healthy food, but our own pickled vegetables otherwise?" asked Supaporn Pitiporn, a pharmacist from the Chaopraya Aphaiphubet Hospital, speaking at a recent workshop on pickled vegetables
She said Thais have often looked up to Western preserved food such as cheese and yoghurt, but forgotten their own preserved food.
At the 10th National Herb Expo, Thais are encouraged to re-discover pickled vegetables which have been enjoyed by locals for generations. Starting tomorrow and running until Sunday, the fair to promote herbs for daily consumption will be held at Phoenix Rooms 1-6, at Impact Muang Thong Thani. Workshops on pickled vegetables will also be conducted as part of the fair
Yoghurt and apple vinegar supply the body with probiotics which is good for the digestive system, said Supaporn.
"Consuming pickled vegetables will not only supply the same probiotics but also provide the body with fibre. [Thai pickled vegetables] are even better." Probiotics in pickled vegetables are known to be good for the digestive system, as they help digest food that the body can't normally digest and kill bad bacteria the pharmacist explained.
However, most of the pickled vegetables available in fresh markets are kept in plastic containers which is unsafe to eat, said Supaporn. Home cooking is the best way to eat pickled vegetables because the ingredients and preparation process are known. Food preservation should only be in a glass or ceramic container never plastic.
At the fair visitors will learn about banana vinegar naem hed (pickled mushroom), dok sa-no dong (pickled sesbania flowers and lotus stem) and kimchi, from the various workshops
Banana vinegar made from easy-to-find kluay nam wa (a type of local banana), can replace the commercially-produced vinegar that often comes with preservatives. Pickled sesbania is a good side to any main dish, or nam phrik.
Food preservation was a good way to deal with the abundant supply of vegetable, especially those grown in the rainy season, before the invention of the refrigerator. Seasonal vegetables that were often pickled included spring onions, ginger and mustard greens, which can be found anywhere in Thailand; phak sian (cleome) is found in the North and Northeast, while luk niang (Djenkol bean fruit), and sa-tor (stink beans) are mostly found in the South.
The pharmacist said vegetables with distinctive smells would have been pickled because generally only a pinch of salt and sugar was added.
"People who knew best on how to preserve food, especially pickled vegetables have always lived in Southeast Asia," said Supaporn. Being a tropical country, Thailand has always been ripe with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Recipes were never been written down, but a mother who pickled vegetables always knew that if she preserved cabbage without putting spring onions in the jar, it would go bad Or if she preserved sesbania flowers and lotus stem without garcinia, the vegetables would never turn sour.
Pickled vegetables in Thailand are categorised as non-seasoning pickled food, with only salt and sugar added for the fermentation process Kimchi needs to be seasoned with condiments like ginger and garlic, because lettuce isn't an ideal vegetable for pickling food, said Supaporn.
Despite its more complicated preparation process kimchi has become famous for its flavourful taste said Wanchai Panthavee, researcher at the Institute of Food Research and Product Development, Kasetsart University. He recently did some nutritional research and found useful probiotics in pickled vegetables bought from markets around the country.
Wanchai pointed out that Korean kimchi has not only been developed to be a side dish in barbecue restaurants, but also repackaged and exported as a national product around the world.
But thanks to the lack of nutritional research and development, he said, Thai pickled vegetables are being forgotten.
For the workshop schedule, visit http://natherbexpo.dtam.moph.go.th
Learn from listening
Click "play" to listen to Thai Kimchi: Thailand has pickled vegetables too and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.
abundant: more than enough - มากมาย
accompanied: went with - ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
associated with: connected with in some way - ที่เชื่อมโยงกัน
available: that you can get, use, find or buy - มีอยู่, หาได้
bacteria: the simplest and smallest forms of life. Bacteria exist in large numbers in air, water and soil, and also in living and dead creatures and plants, and are often a cause of disease - แบ็กทีเรีย, เชื้อแบกทีเรีย
bean: a kind of plant eaten as food - ถั่ว
categorise: to put people or things into groups with the same features - จัดกลุ่ม, จัดประเภท
ceramic: pottery, earthenware - ศิลปะการทำเครื่องเคลือบดินเผา, เครื่องปั้นเผา , เซรามิก
commercially: for business purposes - สำหรับการค้า
common: done or shared by two or more people - ที่เป็นของส่วนรวม, ที่ร่วมกัน
complicated: difficult to deal with, do or understand - ซับซ้อน
condiment: something such as salt, pepper, or a sauce that you put on food at the table to make it taste better - เครื่องปรุงอาหาร
consumption: using, eating or drinking something - การบริโภค
container: something used for storing or holding things, for example a box, bottle, or bowl - ภาชนะใส่ของ, หีบบรรจุ
couple: two things or people - สอง, สองสิ่ง, คนสองคน
deemed: considered - เห็นว่า ถือว่า
deserve: of something, good or bad, that you earn or are given because of your behavior or qualities - สมควรได้รับ
digest: the process in the body of making food in substances the body can use - ย่อยอาหาร
digestive: connected to digestion, the process in the body of making food in substances the body can use - เกี่ยวกับการย่อยอาหาร
discover: to be the first person to become aware that a particular place or thing exists - ค้นพบ
discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ
encouraged: having more confidence or hope about something - มีกำลังใจ
especially: more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
expo: a fair where things are displayed for people to see such as new products; an exposition - งาน
fair: a public event to show people about something or to entertain people - งาน
fermentation: the process of changing vegetables chemically through the action of living substances, such as yeast or bacteria - หมัก
fermented: changed chemically through the action of living substances, such as yeast or bacteria - หมัก
flavourful: having a lot of flavour - น่ากิน
fresh market: a market selling fresh vegetables -
go bad: when food rots and cannot be eaten - เน่าเปื่อย , ทำให้เน่าเปื่อย
herb: a plant normally used as a medicine or for adding flavour to food - สมุนไพร
herbal: made with herbs, plants normally used as a medicine or for adding flavour to food - สมุนไพร
ideal: the best possible - ดีที่สุด
in a pickle: in a difficult situation -
ingredients: foods that are used with other foods in the preparation of a particular dish - ส่วนประกอบ
local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
lotus: an Asian water plant with large white or pink flowers - ดอกบัว
meal: the food that you serve or eat at one time - มื้ออาหาร
mushroom: a fungus (a type of plant) that usually has a short stem and a round top. Some mushrooms can be eaten, but many are poisonous - เห็ด
normally: usually; in normal circumstances - โดยปกติ, ตามปกติ
nutrition: food considered as something that keeps you healthy - โภชนาการ
nutritionist: someone who is an expert on healthy foods - นักโภชนาการ
packaging: materials used to wrap or protect goods that are sold in shops/stores - วัสดุที่ใช่ห่อหุ้มหรือป้องกันสินค้า
perceive: to think of or understand something in a particular way - เข้าใจ, รับรู้
pharmacist: someone whose job is to prepare medicines for sale in a shop or in a hospital. A pharmacist’s shop is called a pharmacist, a pharmacist’s, or a pharmacy - เภสัชกร
pickle: a sour vegetable such as a cucumber preserved in vinegar and salt water; pickled vegetables - อาหารดอง, ผักดอง, ของดอง
pickled vegetables: sour vegetables prepared and preserved in vinegar and salt water - อาหารดอง, ผักดอง, ของดอง
popular: a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
preparation: things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready - การตระเตรียม
preparation: things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready - การตระเตรียม
probiotic: live bacteria that may provide health benefits to the person they live inside - อาหารที่มีจุลินทรีย์ที่เป็นประโยชน์ต่อร่างกาย เช่น นมเปรี้ยว โยเกิร์ต แหนม เป็นต้น
process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming - ผลผลิต, ผลิตผล
raw: not cooked or not thoroughly cooked - ดิบ
recipe: a set of instructions for cooking or preparing a particular food - วิธีปรุง, ตำรากับข้าว
replace: to get rid of someone or something and to put a new person or thing in their place - หาคนมาแทน
research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
researcher: a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย
ripe: fully grown and ready to be harvested or eaten - สุก
seasoning: substances added to food to improve its flavor - เครื่องปรุงรส
side dish: some food served on a separate plate with the main meal - เครื่องเคียง [ ของเคียง, เครื่องแนม, ของกินที่ตั้งเทียบข้างกับข้าวหลัก
state: condition - สภาพ
stem: the long thin central part of a plant from which flowers and fruit grow - ลำต้น
supply: to provide somebody/something with something that they need or want, especially in large quantities - จัดหาให้, จัดส่งให้
supply: the amount of a good available in a market to buy - อุปทาน
taste: the different feelings or sensations you get from food when you eat - รส
tropical: relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn - ในเขตร้อน
various: several different - หลากหลาย, ซึ่งแตกต่างกัน
vinegar: a sour liquid used in cooking - น้ำส้มสายชู มีรสเปรี้ยว
workshop: a period of discussion and practical work on a particular subject, in which a group of people share their knowledge and experience - การประชุมเชิงปฏิบัติการ
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