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isan food recipes
Can someone explain the major differences between Thai and Vietnamese cooking?

I want to learn a healthier, lighter way of eating and felt one of these types of cuisine would serve that purpose. Also, if anyone has a Vietnamese and/or Thai cookbook to recommend to beginners, I’d appreciate it!

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its common use of fish sauce, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Vietnamese recipes use many vegetables, herbs and spices, including lemon grass, lime, and kaffir lime leaves. Throughout all regions the emphasis is always on serving fresh vegetables and/or fresh herbs as side dishes along with dipping sauce. The Vietnamese also have a number of Buddhist vegetarian dishes. The most common meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are pork, beef, prawns, various kinds of tropical fish, and chicken. Duck and goat/lamb are used much less widely.

Thai cuisine is known for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal – hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional). Although popularly considered as a single cuisine, Thai food is really better described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern (or Isan), Central and Southern. Southern curries, for example, tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric, while northeastern dishes often include lime juice. Thai cuisine has been greatly influenced by its neighbors, especially India, China, Malaysia, Laos. Many dishes are in fact Chinese dishes adopted to local tastes.

Personally, I suggest going to the library since you can “sample” multiple cookbooks without having to purchase it. After you find out what recipes you like, then go buy a book.

One of the things I would like to do (once I am able to Retire) is record my wife preparing various Thai dishes. She took over ownership on March 15, 2010, of a very small Thai restaurant in New Westminster, B.C. (Canada), so she’s certainly getting the practice!

For now, though (and pardon the out-of-place video at the end of this post)….

Here are a couple of Isan recipes: Isan Pork Sausage (Side Grog Isan) and Isan Suki (Jaew Hon Jeap Joom). I suspect you might find other Issan recipes on Appon’s site, such as her Isan Style Fried Rice ( Kao Pad Esan ).

Might this Thai Barbeque Chicken (Gai Yang Isan) also qualify?

Here’s another possibility: Laab Gai – Minced Chicken With Lime Juice.

Another couple of ideas: Ho Mok Gai Sai No Mai (Chicken and Bamboo Wrapped with Banana Leaves) and Mok Pla Siw (Fish and herbs wrapped in banana leaves).

And how about Laab Moo (Spicy Pork Salad) — there’s even a video with this one!

Or maybe Isaan-style grilled chicken (kai yaan)?

This site lists three “Thai/Isaan Recipes.”

And I’ll end this post with E-san Recipes from this site — my wife just got home from her evening at her restaurant, and my name is Mud.

She had taken her oldest son to the restaurant with her, But things were not too busy. Someone else drove him home…but I was napping with my earplugs on, and never heard them. The lad had to go home with his driver, and wait until his mother had completed her evening, and then she picked him up and brought him home herself.

Ahh, well! I needed the nap!

isan food recipesisan food recipes
isan food recipes

Anyone else like Laos food ??

I LOVE Laos food ! what’s your favorite type of laos food?

I love Laotian food, Kao Neew is a staple of mine – I love lao-style larb and som tum.

Edit: For the people who have asked. Lao food is VERY similar to Thai. They have a lot of the same dishes, but the Lao-style tends to be less sweet and more spicy than the Thai versions. Another big difference is they eat sticky rice (kao neew) as a staple far more than jasmine rice. Here is a site with some Lao recipes. http://www.laopress.com/news/laofood/default.htm

My mom is from the NE region of Thailand known as Isan, and culturally the people of Isan are far more Laotian than they are Thai – their dialect is even more Lao. If you are familiar with NE Thailand cuisine then you pretty much know what Lao food is like.

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About Garnet Barcelo

I am a Canadian retiree, married to an Isaan (Thailand) lady whom I met in Udon Thani City in January 2003. We married in late May 2005. And she has been with me here in Canada since May 2006. Her two sons joined us in September 2008. Ever since that first visit to Thailand in 2003, my dream has been to somehow spend most of my retired life over there with her, but the financial reality of my retired life is not making that possible. It will take a miracle to get this dream to come true.


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