Bury Me in Nam Phrik: Mike Sula’s Exploration of Thai Relishes (Plus Salted Soybean-Pork Rind Relish Recipe)

Around this time last year, I met with some of my friends who are part of Dill Magazine to talk about something I had wanted to see for a long time: a story on Thai relishes, nam phrik. These dishes form the most significant segment of Thai cuisine, but they’re the least understood and the least appreciated. I thought it was about time this changed.

Western food media doesn’t like to publish a story like this. It’s too niche. It doesn’t have a broad appeal. For them, it doesn’t make sense to dedicate their precious real estate on something most people don’t already know and love. Nam phrik, therefore, hasn’t received a lot of coverage in mainstream publications, and when it does, the coverage doesn’t go deep and is often rife with misinformation.

I took the idea to Dill, because of this. I wanted to see a story on nam phrik; I wanted it written with petence, understanding, and insight; and I knew the group behind Dill was capable of pulling this off. Even though they’re new and small and don’t have the resources of a large publication, they don’t shy away from specialized materials. I also know the Dill people don’t present niche stories in a “hey, look at the bizarre foods these other people eat!” manner either. In other words, I knew this story would be in good hands. Continue Reading →

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Food and Cooking in Thai TV Dramas, Love Destiny, 17th Century Siam, and Crispy Noodle-Wrapped Pork Dumplings

For a country that takes such great pride in its cuisine, Thailand, surprisingly, hasn’t seemed very enthusiastic about spotlighting its food in its cinematic endeavors. If it’s true that art imitates life, then it’s quite perplexing how the magnitude of the love the Thai people have for their food and the enormity of the role food plays in their lives—all obvious to even the most casual observers—haven’t really manifested themselves on silver screen and television. And the few times when food and eating were incorporated into films and dramas, it was rarely done with any perceptible sense of intentionality.

I believe we can do better. Continue Reading →

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A Simple Thai Dipping Sauce

Here’s a simple dipping sauce that I made the other day just as I’ve done hundreds of times in my life. It’s very easy to make; it doesn’t require special ingredients; it is extremely versatile.

How versatile? Let me count the ways. Continue Reading →

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