An exotic culinary journey featuring Thai rice

TUESDAY, JUNE 06, 2023

When one talks about Thai rice, the spotlight is not only on Hom Mali or Jasmine rice. Thailand’s fertile and abundant land has given the country’s rice a global reputation. Thailand is currently the second largest rice exporter, lending credence to its claims to be the “The kitchen of the world”.

Across the country, from the North down to the South, rice is a staple crop and plays an important role in the Thai cultural and gastronomical heritage.

Peninsula Bangkok is welcoming gastronomes on its culinary exploration “The Thai rice Journey”, using Thailand’s most diverse and versatile ingredient — rice. Organically grown across the country in eight regions of Thailand, the rice offers unique distinctive nutritional values and flavours.

“We took eight breeds of rice that are grown across Thailand in the regions of Chiang Mai, Yasothon, Phatthalung, Chiang Rai, Surin, Ratchaburi, Tak, and Roi Et,” said Thiptara’s head chef, Monnipa Rungthong.

Amid the growing healthy consciousness and increasing demand for healthy products, rice is part of the trend too. However, there’s a fine line separating trend and culture. Trends come and go, while culture abides as a part of the local people's lives. It stays and is there always.

"Many of these rice types are relatively unknown to travellers in Thailand, and have fascinating stories behind them as well as delectable flavours. Several have also been granted Geographical Indication status, which means they are intrinsic to the provinces where they are cultivated," the head chef said.

“Eight Dishes, Eight Thai Provinces, Eight types of rice; The Thai Rice journey” menu includes the following preparations:

— A starter of "Khao Tang Yum Pollamai Som’sa", featuring Bue Ki, Su rice from the northern region of Chiang Mai. This short-grain rice, which has been grown for generations by the area’s indigenous mountain peoples, appears in this dish in the form of a crispy black and white cracker, accompanied by a mixed fruit salad with bitter orange.  

Khao Tang Yum Pollamai Som’sa

— “Kanom Krok Khao Khai-Goong”, a savoury rice-pan cake made with coconut meat, and topped with tobiko and a makrud (kaffir lime) gel. The dish uses red jasmine rice, which is organically grown in the Central-Northeast province of Yasothon.

Kanom Krok Khao Khai-Goong

“Miang Khao-phog Dok Mai Nua Pu”, a spicy puffed-rice dish, made with Sung-yod rice from the southern Phatthalung province, along with edible flowers, crab meat, chilli pepper, and tamarind.

Miang Khao-phog Dok Mai Nua Pu

— “Khao Bue Moo Tun”, an Isaan-style soup, featuring braised pork shoulder, watercress, and stock made from Khew-ngu rice – a sticky variety native to the northern region of Chiang Rai. (Recommended by The Nation)

Khao Bue Moo Tun

— “Kwao Klong Nua Sawan”, the main course of Heavenly Roasted Beef, made with Australian striploin jerky, crispy Vietnamese coriander leaves, and steamed brown Plab-plung rice – a quick-growing variety, sometimes called “milky rice”, from the southern-central Surin province.

“Kwao Klong Nua Sawan

— “Geang Khao Pan Bai Chaplu Yang Goong Yai”, a dish featuring riceberry distinctive to the western-central region of Ratchaburi province. This deep-purple rice, a hybrid of two jasmine varieties, is prepared in a southern-style curry with giant tiger prawns, and served with betel-leaf wrappers.

Geang Khao Pan Bai Chaplu Yang Goong Yai

— “Bua Loi Khao Klam”, a glutinous black-rice dumpling served with coconut ice cream, which incorporates Luem Pua rice from the central Phetchabun province. This rice, according to Hmong legend, is so delicious that a wife cooking it will eat it all rather than save any for her husband; this why its name translates to “Forget Husband rice”.

Bua Loi Khao Klam

— A final sweet dessert of “Peak Pun Khao”, a fragrant rice pudding made with the wonderfully aromatic jasmine rice specific to the eastern-central region of Thung Kula Roi Et province.

Peak Pun Khao

Relish your travel “itinerary” through Thailand’s most exotic ingredients and indulge in the deep culinary experience of a unique journey. “We hope that the culinary journey will leave our guests with a new appreciation for the diversity of Thai cuisine – and for the farmers who supply Thai rice to restaurants and home kitchens all over the world,” said chef Rungthip

The eight-course “Thai Rice Journey” set menu is priced at 2,480++ baht per person and can be enjoyed until September 30. An additional 10 per cent service charge may apply. For more information and reservations, contact Thiptara by phone at +66 (2) 020 6969, or email at [email protected].

Monnipa Rungthong