Hey, Mint Fanatics! In case you missed it, our Chef Nikky Phinyawatana is hosting Escape to Thailand, an online experience that gives you a closer look at Thai regional culture through food. On October 22, she’ll host the second part of the series, and you’re invited to tour Northeastern Thailand, also known as Issan, with her.
Catch the recap of Part 1, Welcome to Nikky’s Thailand, here: https://bit.ly/2GR2pfW
Sign up for Part 2, Let’s Tour Northeastern Thailand, here: https://bit.ly/34eDWZK
What makes Issan unique from the other regions of Thailand?
Issan is a large place, around half the size of Germany. The region occupies 62,000 square miles of mostly plains, a third of Thailand’s total land area. A mountain range cuts Issan from the country’s northern and central provinces, while to the east lies the Laos border.
Despite having busy, cosmopolitan hubs, Northeastern Thailand remains rustic and agricultural. The people of Issan refer to themselves as khon Issan or Thai Lao. They share a lot in terms of culture with the people of Laos across the border. Additionally, they have their own language and way of living.
As for the food, Issan cuisine is well-known for its pungent and spicy flavors. The people of this region often prepare their dishes with fresh herbs. They also liberally season them with fish sauce, shrimp paste, and plah rah, a kind of fermented fish. Sticky rice is rarely absent from a meal.
Some of Thailand’s iconic dishes have Issan roots
One of the things you’ll learn when you tour Northeastern Thailand virtually with Chef Nikky is that some of the dishes Thailand is famous for around the world actually come from Issan. In this Escape to Thailand online event, you get to watch Chef Nikky cook two of these dishes:
This dish is famous worldwide, not just in Thailand. It’s also one of Chef Nikky’s favorites. Fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, chilis, garlic, green beans, and, of course, green papaya make up this salad. They’re tossed in lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar. For that distinct Issan touch, you get to put fermented fish and shrimp paste in it as well.
Steak and nam jim jaew
The perfect accompaniment to papaya salad: delicious steak with jaew dipping sauce. If you think steak is great to eat, wait until you dip it in jaew.
You can’t call your meal truly Issan if you don’t have sticky rice.
And because this is a celebration of Northeastern Thailand cuisine, you get to toast it with sparkling.
One of the best things about this online event is if you choose to make it a cook-along experience, we will supply you with the ingredients and some of the tools you’ll need for the cook-along. You can pick them up at Asian Mint Forest Lane, placed in a gift bag with some surprise goodies.
If you don’t feel up to cooking with Chef Nikky, though, you can just watch her demo her papaya salad and nam jim jaew.
Next up on Escape to Thailand
As mentioned earlier, this “Let’s Tour Northeastern Thailand” event is the second part of Chef Nikky’s Escape to Thailand series of virtual experiences.
The rest of the series are:
- Celebrate Yi Peng in Chiang Mai—October 30. Take part in one of the most magical and spiritual events in Thailand’s cultural calendar: Yi Peng or Thai Full Moon Festival.
- Holidays in Bustling Bangkok—December 16. The people of Bangkok have their own Christmas and New Year traditions. Discover what these are in this online event.
Let’s tour Northeastern Thailand together, Mint Fanatics. Again, here’s the signup link: https://bit.ly/34eDWZK
See you there!