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Phuket food to be nominated for UNESCO gastronomical prize

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PHUKET: Efforts are underway to collate recipes and historical information of local Baba (“Straits Chinese”) cuisine in order to have Phuket Town recognized by UNESCO as a City of Gastronomy.

Dr Kosol Tang-Uthai, president of the Thai Peranakan Association, said that 65 local Baba chefs were involved in the process.

“Phuket Baba food combines recipes from Royal Thai Cuisine, common Thai dishes, Hokkien Chinese food and Malay cuisine, which together create a unique blend of delicate flavors that are not too spicy, not too sweet and not too salty,” he said.

Dr Kosol said it should take about six months to collect the evidence needed to nominate Phuket Town for the accolade.

If bestowed the title, Phuket Town will be the fourth such city in the world to be recognized for its food by the United Nations cultural heritage agency, after Popayan City in Colombia, Ostersund in Sweden and Chengdu in China.

Among the dishes being included in the nomination are the Baba recipes for moo hong (salted boiled pork), oh-aew (white jelly made from squeezed Chinese herb and bananas, served with boiled red bean and shaved ice), mee hokkien (stir-fried Hokkien noodle), mee hun (stir-fried white noodle served with spare ribs soup), nam chub yam (spicy shrimp paste sauce) and bue tord (batter-fried grass with small shrimp).

“Regardless of whether or not we win the nomination, we have much to gain from this project,” said Dr Kosol.

“We have to admit that nowadays Phuket’s natural attractiveness is waning. If we win [the nomination], our gastronomical culture will also catch tourists’ attention and help delay the decline in natural resources. It will also help to support local fishermen, as they provide the ingredients,” he said.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

 

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