The Guilty Bliss of Being Unable to Cook Thai Food in Thailand

The Guilty Bliss of Being Unable to Cook Thai Food

pasta with vegetables near meat with cabbage and stewed food in bowl

Whenever I’ve traveled back to my country from my home in Thailand, everyone at home always asks about the food in Thailand. They love the Thai food they’ve had and wonder what some of the other dishes are like in Thailand.  

I’ll describe some of my favorite dishes, the price of the dishes in Thailand and explain that most of the Thai food I eat is bought from carts right on the street near my home. They’ll shake their head at the ease of it all and then ask whether I’ve learned how to cook Thai food in my time as a resident of Thailand.

The Logic of Not Cooking Something That’s All Around You

Then I’ll tell them a story about Gordon Ramsay. On one of Gordon’s cooking shows, he traveled to Thailand and studied Thai cooking with the goal of learning to cook a passable Pad Thai. Of course, he thought, being a Michelin-starred chef, how hard can it be to cook a good Pad Thai. 

Gordon found out that it’s easy to cook a Pad Thai, but it isn’t easy to cook an authentic Thai version of Pad Thai. The other Thai chefs roundly rejected the version he presented. 

There are excellent versions of all the Thai dishes I love to eat within a short distance from my home. These dishes may look simple to prepare, but the devil is in the details. I tried several times years ago to prepare a green curry, but I could never get it to taste like my favorite neighborhood restaurant. 

Then I asked myself, why do I have to? With so many experts all around me, I learned to do what I was good at and leave the cooking to Thai chefs. It’s working out well for all of us.   

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