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The Death of Nahm – Are Government regulations killing genuine ethnic


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#1 nickrey

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:36 PM

News has come through that Nahm in London is going to close on December the 15th.

David Thompson cites the clash between EU import regulations and Thai food production methods leaving him unable to produce decent Thai food.

Thompson is quoted as saying that Nahm lost some 70% of ingredients over the past few years and the fruit and vegetables that did come through were "depressingly tired and limited."

London has lost its first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant because the quality of food could not be assured.

It seems that predominately canned or pre-processed food is being let through. This does not augur well for providing a genuine eating experience in a quality restaurant.

What is perhaps a happy day for regulators, who can have protectionist agendas despite there being no local competition, is a sad day for the rest of us who will have to once again resort to travel to broaden our food horizons.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
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#2 radtek

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:23 PM

I know this is small consolation but many Asian vegetables, fruits, herbs, primal cuts, meats, prepared foods etc are now made/grown/prepared here all over the States for the multitudinous Asian communities. Plenty of canned goods are still imported. And business is good as far as I see. Perhaps this will come to pass in Britain where the reliance on dubious quality imports in order to exist as a niche business will cease.

#3 liuzhou

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:03 AM

many Asian vegetables, fruits, herbs, primal cuts, meats, prepared foods etc are now made/grown/prepared here all over the States for the multitudinous Asian communities.


Same in the UK for the Chinese and Indian restaurant trade. Half of Essex seems to be growing bok choy.

I can't see any reason why they couldn't do the same for Thai if the demand were there.

Edited by liuzhou, 08 December 2012 - 06:03 AM.


#4 Prawncrackers

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:10 AM

Thats a shame i never got round to eating here. It's true though we've not been able to get fresh kaffir lime leaves for a couple of years now. David Thomson is such an obsessive that closing must have been the only option on the end.

#5 Prawncrackers

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:34 AM

Though every cloud has a silver lining. Elena Arzak is opening up a restaurant here instead.

#6 patrickamory

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:35 PM

No fresh kaffir lime leaves in the UK? That's nuts!

#7 tsp.

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:38 PM

Wow, I recently ate at Nahm at The Metropolitan in BKK and it was amazing. It's quite funny because on that same trip I went to a cooking school with a whole heap of colleages from the UK and was surprised at the comments regarding the availabilty of ingredients back home. In Australia - with our very strict quaranteen laws - we can pretty much get most things...

#8 heidih

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:22 PM

Wow, I recently ate at Nahm at The Metropolitan in BKK and it was amazing. It's quite funny because on that same trip I went to a cooking school with a whole heap of colleages from the UK and was surprised at the comments regarding the availabilty of ingredients back home. In Australia - with our very strict quaranteen laws - we can pretty much get most things...


Yes - have had the most fantastic Thai food in Sydney - but - as to growing- the climate vs UK is SO different

#9 tsp.

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:26 PM

That's very true. I'm sure we grow a lot of galangal, tumeric and stuff too. I forgot we were one of the largest ginger producers - being from Melbourne.

#10 patrickamory

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:28 PM

Looks like kaffir lime trees are hardy to zone 9 - which means they could be cultivated in Cornwall and parts of the southern English coast, or of course in hothouses.

But much of the produce in the UK comes from elsewhere in the EU anyway... plenty of places for them to grow.

#11 huiray

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

My understanding is that there are Thai restaurants in Germany which serve dishes with authentic Thai ingredients, including stuff like Thai pea eggplants (Makua Puong มะเขือพวง) and other fresh stuff. I gathered from what a poster said on another forum that these ingredients were imported by the husband of one of the restauranteurs who appeared to also provide ingredients to other SE Asian restaurants too. If this is true, then it seems odd that such stuff cannot be brought into the UK too?

Of course, perhaps some of the fresh stuff apparently available in Germany (as my understanding goes) might be cultivated somewhere locally but tropical-climate stuff might be a little difficult in Germany...

#12 bigkoiguy

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

There are a lot of regional foods that are suffering the same fate. Amish and Mennonite apple cider on the east coast comes to mind as they must now be pasteurized and generally produced inspected facilities, basically necessitating that they be mass-produced. So what used to be varied an interesting -- depending upon the apples used, age, processing methods, soils, etc -- is now largely a homogenized mass produced item.

Here in Alaska, inspected restaurants by law are no longer allowed to make their own cheeses - something that chefs were beginning to tinker with. Cheesemaking ventures must have 6 separate rooms for processing, ensuring that no cheese will ever made to sell in Alaska due to the poor economies of scale.

It seems large food corporations want the monopolies and don't want foreign companies and/or small mom and pops competing - something well documented in Marion Nestle's books.

Edited by bigkoiguy, 16 January 2013 - 04:04 PM.


#13 mugen

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

In David Thompson's case, perhaps regulations did kill genuine ethnic cuisine. In all other cases, it never existed in the first place: I can't think of a single other chef who shares Thompson's concern for authenticity; on the contrary, every single example of ethnic cuisine that comes to my mind is of that generic, Westernised food that reduces the complexity and variety of the cuisines to a few flavours or elements that are mistakenly thought to be essential (for example, a dish has all of the essential elements that qualify it as 'Thai' if it contains basil, lemongrass and ginger; or Mexican if guacamole and some poor attempt at a flatbread is included), and then modifies even those to appeal to Western palates, which is generally achieved by adding sugar and omitting all of the elements that are in fact essential (so as to satisfy the majority of diners, whose characteristically inane profession is, "I love Thai/Indian, but so long as it's not too spicy").


Wow, I recently ate at Nahm at The Metropolitan in BKK and it was amazing. It's quite funny because on that same trip I went to a cooking school with a whole heap of colleages from the UK and was surprised at the comments regarding the availabilty of ingredients back home. In Australia - with our very strict quaranteen laws - we can pretty much get most things...


Yes - have had the most fantastic Thai food in Sydney - but - as to growing- the climate vs UK is SO different


Feel free to mention where, because every place that I know serves the same homogeneous, Australianised rubbish.

Edited by mugen, 16 January 2013 - 06:44 PM.