I’ve been very lucky to have visited Thailand on many occasions. It was without a doubt love at first sight, and I was overtaken by the incredible beauty of the country and it’s happy, friendly, gentle people. Since that first visit my relationship with the food of this beautiful country has been an ongoing and very serious love affair.
I’ve spent hours in cities across Thailand, meandering about lively, bustling markets, fascinated with local dishes, discovering many unique techniques and ingredients. I’ve talked to cooks, mothers, grandmothers and tuk tuk drivers, snuck into kitchens, driven waiters and chefs crazy with
questions. Determined to soak in as much knowledge as I could, I attended cooking courses several times throughout different parts of the country and also studied Thai Cooking here at George Brown College. It is one of the tastiest cuisines on the planet and much to my delight (and to anyone who is invited over for Thai night) one of the healthiest. The more time I spend learning how to create these yummy dishes, the more I realize this is one of the cleanest and healthiest cuisines on the globe. At the heart of all Thai cooking techniques, there is always a base for building flavors that is focused on the freshest of ingredients used to create different pastes.
Comprised of power foods like ginger, galangal, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, basil, tamarind and hot peppers, these pastes provide intense flavor and huge health benefits as a bonus. Salt is replaced by fish sauce and fat is replaced with coconut milk. Coupled with an array of vegetables, rice based noodles and various proteins, this cuisine takes cake and is always a favorite at my house.
Here in Toronto, authentic Thai ingredients are readily available at a number of Asian grocery stores and used in fabulous dishes at a number of restaurants. I was invited to an event hosted by Linda Modern Thai to celebrate their participation in the Thai Select Cuisine designation. This program recognizes authentic ingredients that meet the highest standards and identifies restaurants across Canada using Thai Select designated ingredients and cooking techniques. There are only 22 restaurants in Toronto that have received this designation, Linda Modern Thai being the first. The event was an incredible celebration of traditional and modernized Thai dishes, with course after course prepared using ingredients hand picked from the Thai Select line-up. Here is a gallery of most of the fantastic dishes we were invited to sample. Have a look and next time you are feeling a little Thai inspired, head up to visit Linda Modern Thai or better yet, head out to your local Asian grocery store and have a go at creating some of these lovely dishes right at home.