Thailand puts its cuisine in the spotlight

Thailand is already well known for its mouth-watering pad-see-ew and massaman curries, but this year the country is hoping to raise its culinary profile even further by promoting Thai cooking and sustainable food processes that benefit both travellers and farmers.

Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has put a focus on food tourism and culture in 2017, encouraging visitors to experience the Thai way of life through the country’s food traditions.

Among destinations to be highlighted is the Angkhang Agricultural Station, a project instigated by the late King Rama IX as part of efforts to replace opium plantations with high-quality fruit, vegetable and livestock production.

Located in the Fang District in the north of Chiang Mai, it has become an important resource in the country’s ambition to make education a priority in supporting the livelihood of Thai farmers. Through improving agricultural techniques and training model farmers, Thailand hopes to make better use of natural resources and encourage the implementation of organic production.

The Angkhang Agricultural Station had a chance to show off its fresh produce recently when top Thai chefs such as Vichit Mukura, Chumpol Jangprai and Surakit Khemkaew joined a showcase culinary event attended by the Minister and international media.

The group visited landmarks like the Chedi Luang Temple and Maesa Elephant Camp, while the chefs created special menus with ingredients produced at the Angkhang Station.

This and other events are planned throughout this year in the hope chefs will turn to the station as a major provider of ingredients for their restaurants. Tourists will be able to sample the produce in restaurants or visit the station for a first-hand insight.

Chef Chumpol Jangprai said products from station and other Royal Projects were known for their high quality and organic production, and were therefore trusted ingredients.

He said using products from the Royal Projects was a way to support Thai farmers while promoting sustainable agricultural tourism.