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Driving to Nong Khai towards the Mekong we suddenly started to see lots of roadside stalls selling salt and then I remembered nothing grew here because the land was so salty. No rice, Nothing!
Except for salt.
Proud of their salt producing heritage there is now a 3 day Salt Festival which is held in March each year it is now in its 5th year. There are talks, educational displays and the most beautiful sculptures crafted from salt. It is becoming more and more popular not just with Thais, but tourists as well.
Before I show and tell you about the salt I will show you how I use salt ...
Salt produces the most succulent fish you have ever tasted and eaten with Som Tam( Green Papaya) salad and Sticky rice ( Khao Niew) is one of the most amazing meals you can eat here.
How to cook with salt!
Just take 3/4 stems of lemongrass and tie in a knot, stuff it in the cavity of the fish and then roll the fish in sea salt do not descale the fish as it will not stick. Put on a BBQ and cook until fish is just cooked, nice and juicy turning the fish a few times this takes about 30/40 mins. You will have the most succulent fish you have ever tasted in your life.
How is the salt used?
Thailands unique cuisine with its sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty tastes which combined make a Thai meal so memorable. Salty eggs, fish, salt are used in many dishes and the most iconic Thai fish sauce takes pride of place on every table. A meal would not be complete without salt or fish sauce being used in every dish or as a condiment.
Just a little word of warning.….Do not try to put salt in a traditional western salt grinder or shaker as due to the humidity here it will just clog or cause the grinders cogs to rust.
Used firstly as a preservative before fridges were invented salt has become as essential as breathing.
Here in Thailand it is not only used in food but in the spa industry. Now, who hasn’t been to Thailand and hasn’t had a traditional Thai massage?
From popular skin exfoliating, scrub massages it has great anti-bacterial properties and helps to prevent itching and provides relief from insect bites and stings.
Add lemongrass to your salt and a lovely Thai massage goes up a notch and all your stress and jet lag will just fade away.
How is the salt produced?
The ponds are flooded with salt water and left for about 10 days until the sun has evaporated the water leaving the salt, which is then collected and carried away in shoulder baskets to be bagged ready for sale.
There is very little if any shade on these salt flats to protect the workers from the sun and it is hard heavy work.
I am finding northern Thailand such a lovely place to live the people are friendly and I am discovering so many fruits, vegetables and ancient crafts which are still being used and passed down to generation after generation.
Below are some products for cooking authentic Thai food which you may like:
All of which I have in my kitchen or I use to cook with. Now you can also have a taste of Thailand wherever you are in the world isn’t technology great?
Products from Amazon.com
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Products from Amazon.com‹ ›
Products from Amazon.com
If you enjoy my travels and recipes I gather as I continue my explorations around Thailand and love my Thai recipes then I can also be found on my WordPress blog.
It would be lovely to see you there…