Thailand

Tom yum goong to be nominated for UNESCO cultural heritage list

PHOTO: Navee Saengvitoon_on_Flickr

Thailand’s famous hot and spicy shrimp soup, or tom yum goong, as it’s better known locally, is being nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. Thai PBS World reports that the government has approved a proposal from the Culture Ministry that the renowned dish be put forward for inclusion.

UNESCO established its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. Through a compendium of the different oral and intangible treasures of humankind worldwide, the programme aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage, which UNESCO has identified as an essential component and as a repository of cultural diversity and of creative expression – Wikipedia

Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy government spokesperson, says the soup represents the simplicity of life among rural farming communities along the rivers and canals of central Thailand, where the cuisine is linked to the surrounding nature.

Tom yum goong is made by adding fresh shrimp to boiling water containing a mix of herbs, including kaffir lime leaves, fresh lemongrass, and fresh galangal, all of which are usually grown in back gardens in Thailand. Traisulee says in addition to being symbolic of a simple way of life, the dish is good for you too.

“Hence, tom yum goong reflects the simplicity and the way of life of Thai people, which is both self-dependent and dependent on nature. The dish is good for health.”

Tom yum goong is considered a healthy dish due to the fact that it’s low in fat and many of the ingredients have their own health benefits. According to Traisulee, the dish also reflects the practice of Buddhism among many Thais, whose religion often means they don’t eat meat from large animals, particularly on holy days.

Other features of Thai life already registered on UNESCO’s list include traditional Thai massage and the Khon mask dance.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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