Tag: food

Do you know ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jeen/ didn’t come from China?

Do you know ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jeen/ didn’t come from China?

ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jeen/ is one kind of noodles, made from rice flour, in Thailand. In the northern part, it is called ‘ขนมเส้น’ /kà-nŏm-sên/. Esan people call it ‘ข้าวปุ้น’ /kâaw-bpûn/ and it is known as ‘โหน้มจีน’ /nóm-jeen/ in the southern part.

ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jee/ has a ridiculous name because it’s totally not ขนม /kà-nŏm/ in Thai people’s eyes and it’s not from China if you must know.

What is ขนม /kà-nŏm/?

If you look it up, you will see meanings such as sweets, dessert, candy, etc. Actually, the definition of ขนม /kà-nŏm/ is a lot wider than that. We count snacks, such as potato chips, French fried, biscuits, dried fruits, nuts & seeds, etc. as ขนม /kà-nŏm/. With this range, ขนม /kà-nŏm/ can be sweet, sour, salty, even spicy. Thai people especially girls love having it any time.

When a student asks me what ขนม /kà-nŏm/ is, I always answer simply “It’s something that you enjoy eating. Normally it’s not healthy. It can’t really make your stomach full but it tastes soooooo good!” LOL

If ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jee/ didn’t come from China, where was it from?

It was originally Mon food from Burma. The word ‘ขนมจีน’ /kà-nŏm-jeen/ was from ‘ขฺนํจินฺ’, คะนอมจีน /ká-nom-jeen/,  ‘คะนอม’/ká-nom/ means noodles and  ‘จีน’/jeen/ means be cooked.

Thai people love having ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jee/ with various soup or curry. They like to eat fresh vegetables together with it. Some people like me also love having it with ส้มตำ /sôm-dtam/, aka Thai green papaya salad.

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Surprisingly, ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jee/ provides less calories than other rice noodles and glass noodles. So, let’s eat ขนมจีน /kà-nŏm-jee/ if you are on a diat. LOL

Do you know any Thai expressions about noodles?

Do you know any Thai expressions about noodles?

Recently we talked about the origin of ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/. If you remember, rice noodles vary in size mainly. The biggest ones are called เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/.

  1. ขอเส้นใหญ่ น้ำใส หมู /kŏr sên-yài nám-săi mŏo/
  2. ผู้ชายคนนั้นเส้นใหญ่มาก /pôo-chaay kon nán sên-yài mâag/

Can you guess the meaning of both sentences? Number 1, it means ‘big noodles, clear soup, (with) pork’. Yes, it’s simply an order when you go to a noodle restaurant.

What’s about number 2? When we say that someone is a big noodle, we do not mean that someone becomes real noodles. No, it doesn’t make sense. So, what does it mean?

In Thai language, เส้น /sên/ can also refer to connections. That’s why, someone with very good connections is called เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/. Normally, this word is pretty negative. We regularly use it to explain how someone gets something such as a position or any kinds of advantages in an unusual way.

Do you like มาม่า /maa-mâa/?

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If you have been in Thailand long enough, it’s impossible not to know it. มาม่า /maa-mâa/ is everywhere in Thailand; in 7-11, big or small grocery shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets, even at home.

Yes, we are talking about instant noodles!!! Instant noodles are made from wheat flour. They are steamed before deep fried. Different from Instant noodles in other countries, here they are very crispy. You can even eat them dry without boiling in water.

Actually, มาม่า /maa-mâa/ is one brand. Because of its popularity, everyone calls all instant noodles casually ‘มาม่า’ /maa-mâa/.

Thais pick up a word ดราม่า /dra-mâa/ from ‘dramatic’ in English. When someone is over-dramatic, we will call him/her ‘ดราม่า’ /dra-mâa/

Nowadays some people overreact in online public spaces such as forums, pages, etc. So, it’s not that hard to see them argue with each other if they disagree.

Since ดราม่า /dra-mâa/ and มาม่า /maa-mâa/ sound similar, Thai people use มาม่า /maa-mâa/ to describe a feeling that quarrel will begin soon because of the drama.

You might notice an expression ‘ต้มมาม่ารอ’ /dtôm maa-mâa ror/ when they are waiting to see people dispute against each other due to their over-dramatic comments.

Today we talk about two different kinds of noodles and two expressions in Thai language. I hope that you enjoy having noodles like me and will not กินมาม่า /gin maa-mâa/ with anyone soon. LOL

Bon appetit!

 

Do you know where Thai proverb: งู ๆ ปลา ๆ /ngōo-ngōo bplāa-bplāa/ is from?

Do you know where Thai proverb: งู ๆ ปลา ๆ /ngōo-ngōo bplāa-bplāa/ is from?

I believe that you have heard this proverb before. Many of you might even try to say it yourselves, right? When a foreigner would like to explain how good his/her Thai is, it’s pretty common to hear “พูดภาษาไทยงู ๆ ปลา ๆ” /pôod paa-săa Thai ngōo-ngōo bplāa-bplāa/

งู /ngōo/ means snake and ปลา /bplāa/ means fish. It’s quite strange to hear people say “snake snake fish fish” to refer to ‘not well or unskillfully’

Actually, you might notice that there are so many expressions about fish in Thai language, such as กินข้าวกินปลา /gīn kâaw gīn bplāa/, ในน้ำมีปลา ในนามีข้าว /nāi nám mēe bplāa  nāi nāa mēe kâaw/, and ข้าวปลาอาหาร /kâaw bplāa āa-hăan/. It implies that fish and rice have been our main food since King Ram Khamhaeng’s reign (c. 1237/1247 – 1298).

Among many kinds of fresh-water fish, the Asian swamp eels are easily found everywhere in Thailand. Thai people have known and eaten them since the ancient time. The famous dishes are “ต้มปลาไหล” /dtôm bplāa-lăi/ or commonly called “ต้มเปรต” /dtôm bprèd/, spicy eel soup, and ผัดเผ็ดปลาไหล /pàd pèd bplāa-lăi/, spicy stir-fried eel.

The Asian swamp eels, also known as the rice-field eels or the swamp eels are native to Asia. They have elongated, snake-like bodies with tapering tails and blunt snouts. They don’t appear to have any fins. Their scaleless skins are darker green or brown on the top. They can grow to a length of three feet long and weigh up to one pound. They are sometimes mistaken for snakes.

Back to the topic, “งู ๆ ปลา ๆ” /ngōo-ngōo bplāa-bplāa/ is assumed that it is from going fishing in a canal or a rice field. If you are not experienced, you might not see the differences between swamp eels and snakes. That’s why, we call “งู ๆ ปลา ๆ” /ngōo-ngōo bplāa-bplāa/.

 

Noodles /gŭay-dtiăw/ & Pad Thai

ผลการค้นหารูปภาพสำหรับ ผัดไทย

ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ is a loanword from a Chinese dialect. ก๋วย /gŭay/ means flour or fruit/part of fruit. เตี๋ยว /dtiăw/ means lines. When we combine them together, it means lines made from flour. Normally, ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ is made from rice flour.

We believe that ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ came to Thailand in the reign of King Narai the Great; the king of Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688. After the World War II, rice was in short supply and its price was higher. Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhra, the leader at that time, tried to promote ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ as a lunch meal. Eating and selling noodles at that time was a strategy to drive the economy of the country. It has become so popular in Thailand since then.

Considering from the size of noodles, you can find 3 common kinds of rice noodles: เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/: the biggest size (around 1 inch wide), เส้นเล็ก /sên-lég/ the smaller size (a few millimeters wide) and เส้นหมี่ /sên-mèe/ slightly lighter than anglehair pasta.

Due to the nationalistic campaign at that time, the leader did not want ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ to have an image of China. That’s why, Pad Thai was born. In order to differentiate Pad Thai from Chinese noodles, the authentic Pad Thai must not have pork as an ingredient. They believed that pork was the food for Chinese people. The noodles used in Pad Thai must be stickier than the common rice noodles. Adding sprout beans in ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ and Pad Thai is also firstly recommended at that time.

Nowadays Pad Thai becomes one of the icons of Thai food even if it is made of noodles.