Thai cuisine 'under threat' from foreign influences

Thai cuisine 'under threat' from foreign influences

This 'Thai barbecue chicken' (gai yang) served with fruit and wasabi is one of the delights at a Thai-owned fusion restaurant, Rice Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, in Mobile, Alabama, in the US. (FB/riceasiangrillandsushibar)
This 'Thai barbecue chicken' (gai yang) served with fruit and wasabi is one of the delights at a Thai-owned fusion restaurant, Rice Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, in Mobile, Alabama, in the US. (FB/riceasiangrillandsushibar)

The Culture Ministry has pledged to investigate ways to preserve authentic Thai cuisine from the increasing influence of foreign dishes.

The move is a fresh attempt to work on a four-year master plan to "promote and preserve Thai food wisdom", which is to be implemented between 2020 and 2024, Culture Minster Vira Rojpojchanarat said Monday.

"Unique in its preparation with recipes handed down for generations, Thai culinary art needs better protection against foreign influences which are now changing the look and taste of certain local dishes," Mr Vira said.

"Though appealing to many gastronomes, fusion foods are a threat to authentic Thai cuisine if they lead to the gradual disappearance of some unique Thai foods," Mr Vira said.

The minister expressed his worries after attending a meeting to set up a panel to draft a plan to preserve Thai cuisine and the country's food culture.

This plan will also fall in line with the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

According to its website, the 2003 convention intends to protect the "uses, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals, recognise as an integral part of their cultural heritage".

Domestically, the plan will also correspond with the areas of Thailand's 20-year national strategy that cover cultural heritage, Mr Vira added.


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