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Is duck really authentic thai food?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 kai-m

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 03:05 PM

Hi all,
today I had dinner at a nice thai restaurant with some friends. Some of us had roasted duck, but one person in our group who travels to thailand almost every year claimed that duck actually is not really thai food and that even in thailand they only do it for the tourists - if they serve it at all...

I was (am I still am) skeptical about this remark, since I seem to remember roasted duck from Bangkok food markets. So I asked the young waitress - who confirmed what my friend said: duck ist not really a "thai ingredient". When I asked her why they serve it then, she said something like "because you people love it".

I still cannot believe this. Maybe she grew up over here and doesn't have a clue. Or she is too young to know. But maybe she is right.

So: is there anyone here who can clarify this? Maybe even a someone from thailand?

Thanks!

Greetings
kai

#2 jpr54_

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:44 AM

I have been reading this great cookbook-
"Thai Food" by David Thompson
Thai food is very diverse-the foods vary from north,south,, etc.

yes, duck is authentic thai food

#3 Tri2Cook

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:22 AM

I'm not an expert on Thailand but, if there are ducks there, then I'd be very surprised if they're not part of somebody's diet. Either way, the duck noodle soup at the Thai place I used to go to before I moved was awesome so I was never really concerned over whether it was authentic or not. :biggrin:
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#4 prasantrin

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:52 AM

I can assure you, Thai people eat duck. It's mostly prepared as Chinese-style roast duck rather than in a traditional Thai preparation (although red curry with duck is relatively common), but it's very popular. You can even find it in most food courts at which most of the people eating are Thai.

In Bangkok, there's a small restaurant that specializes in roast duck somewhere around Sukhumvit Soi 15. If you ever go by there, you'll see most of the people eating there are Thai.

I think the waitress and your friend are full of something, and it's not duck.

(If you're looking for credentials, my father was born and raised in Thailand, I'm half Thai (born but not raised there), and I've returned several times. Many of my relatives live at least part time in Thailand, and they all love duck.)

#5 technogypsy

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:25 AM

My graduate student is from Thailand, north of Bangkok, and she said duck is very traditional where she comes from. She makes this lovely duck in red curry.
"Drop it in a bucket. If it stays, grill it. If it climbs out, deep fry it" Cajun recipe.

#6 nickrey

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 03:48 PM

I did a cooking course with the sous chef from my hotel who was also from Northern Thailand. He said duck was widely used in cooking there.

The error may be in considering Thailand one country as far as cooking goes. What sort of answer would you get asking someone in the US whether grits were widely eaten? The answer would depend on the region that the person you asked came from.

Edited by nickrey, 15 July 2010 - 03:48 PM.

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#7 djyee100

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:49 PM

I've always thought of duck as a Thai food. I've eaten duck in Thailand. But what do I know? So I posted the question on the email group run by my Thai cooking teacher, Kasma Loha-unchit. Her husband Michael Babcock, among others, posted replies. I thought Michael's response said it all:

I read this to Kasma this morning. She got a good chuckle out of it.

There are lots of Thai duck dishes. Nearly any good restaurant in Bangkok has duck on the menu. Duck Lahb (often spelled Larb) is very common in the Northeast (Spicy Northeastern Chopped Duck Salad - Lahb Bped).

Here are some duck dishes that Kasma teaches, and she based them on recipes she had at Thai non-tourist restaurants in Thailand:

Crispy Shredded Duck and Lemon Grass Salad with Cashews (Yam Bped Gkrawb)
Crispy Duck on a Bed of Shrimp Chips and Crisped Greens, Served with Spicy Plum and Toasted Sesame Sauce (Bped Lon)
Roast Duck Curry (Gkaeng Ped Bped)

Then there are duck noodles. Kasma's 89-year old mom would be pretty surprised to learn that those duck noodles she's been eating all her life are just made for westerners. There are duck noodle shops and stands all over the country. Here's a blog on one on Sukhumvit Soi 55 in Bangkok. I very seldom see anyone but Thai folks in the shop:

http://thaifoodandtr...o-duck-noodles/

You see duck sold in open air markets. It seems really unlikely that these Thai market vendors are catering to tourists buying those ducks to cook at home. Kasma's driver, Sun, is from Nakhon Si Thammarat and lives on the family compound where they raise, among other things (like catfish), duck, which they sell in the local market to locals.

Then there are duck eggs. Salted duck eggs. Eaten all over Thailand.

Duck is cooked in Thailand only for tourists? Just really wrong.


Kasma's website is here:
http://www.thaifooda....com/index.html

Under the Recipes section is a recipe for Roast Duck Curry.

Edited by djyee100, 15 July 2010 - 06:51 PM.