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SUNDAY, September 24, 2023

Thai novelist Khunying Sureepan Maneewat dies

Thai novelist Khunying Sureepan Maneewat dies
MONDAY, September 18, 2023

Thailand’s renowned novelist, Khunying Sureepan Maneewat, who is credited with devising the recipe for American fried rice, died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday.

Her passing was announced on the Facebook page of the Writers’ Association of Thailand.

Sureepan, who is known for her book “Kaew Ta Pee” (My Beloved), won the Narathip Award in 2005. The award is reserved for senior writers whose work has won widespread acclaim.

“Her passing is considered a great loss to the Thai literary industry,” the association said, adding that the late novelist was known for her kindness and generosity.

Funeral rites are being held at Wat That Thong in Bangkok’s Watthana district and cremation is scheduled for Thursday, the post read.

Thai novelist Khunying Sureepan Maneewat dies

Sureepan is also rumoured to have created Thailand’s famous “American fried rice”. She reportedly told the Sakul Thai magazine that she created the dish when she was left with a glut of American breakfasts – think sausages, sunny-side eggs and ham.

She was the manager of Ratchathani Restaurant in Don Mueang Airport, which also catered to several airlines at the time and was left with breakfasts when an airline cancelled its morning flight.

So, she decided to fry up the sausages and ham with leftover rice and even threw in some nuts and raisins.

When a passing American soldier asked her what this dish was, she said “American fried rice” and the name has since stuck.

She told the magazine that the ingredients of her American fried rice varied from day to day, depending on the leftovers.

Though she was unable to pinpoint the year she created the dish, it is assumed to be before 1954, when she left Thailand to study in the United Kingdom.

Thai novelist Khunying Sureepan Maneewat dies

However, there is another school of thought where American fried rice is concerned. Some believe it was created by a Thai-Chinese chef called “Go Jek”. He apparently created the dish to serve American soldiers stationed in Nakhon Ratchasima during the Vietnam War. If this assumption is correct, then the dish may have been introduced any time between 1957 and 1975.