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Yunnan ingredients incorporated into Thai dishes

Updated:2020-01-17 16:41:59   Yunnan Gateway

Near the Victory Hall in Kunming, Yunnan province, there is a Thai restaurant called "Cloud18".

"Sawasdee Ka, I'm from Chiang Mai, Thailand," said Ms. Janjira Ananchaipattana at the sight of visitors. Janjira is the restaurant owner, and to create a Thai-style environment for diners, she decorated the restaurant with rich green vegetations. Having short hair, Janjira speaks fluent Chinese. And with a big smile on her face, she looks kind.

Yunnan matsutake finds way to Thai curry

Janjira had been dreaming of having a restaurant. After graduating from college in 1999, she came to Kunming to help her brother with logistics. Over the past two decades, Janjira has opened three restaurants in Kunming, of which "Cloud18" was set up in 2019. It is so named because of its address: No. 18, East Yunrui Road, Kunming.

The restaurant focuses on Thai dishes, hiring a Thai chef who is committed to cooking authentic Thai flavors for the diners. The Thai ingredients are selected with care. On the other hand, Janjira, who is a "China hand", has tried to incorporate Yunnan local ingredients into the Thai dishes. During the wild mushroom season, she purchases matsutake and cooks it with Thai green curry. And the Chinese-Thai dish made a difference in drawing in customers.

In the eyes of Janjira, China and Thailand are highly similar in food culture and eating habits. "For example, Chinese like dumpling balls during the Lantern Festival, for they stand for reunion. In Thailand, dumpling balls with coconut milk are a household snack.” Janjira hopes to use more Yunnan ingredients to enrich Thai dishes, so that diners can understand the Thai food culture, while tasting the authentic Yunnan ingredients."

From restaurant owner to Douyin celebrity

In recent years, the burgeoning Internet in China has greatly changed people's lives, including that of Janjira, who has lived in Kunming for 20 plus years. In September 2019, she created an account "Thai Janjira in Kunming" on the video-sharing app "Douyin" or Tik Tok, posting videos on Thai cooking.

"Hi, I'm Janjira from Thailand. Today I will teach you how to make fried Thai rice noodles," said Janjira in her first Douyin post. The video has been viewed by over 600,000, who left many comments, saying they also want to learn about Tom Yum soup and fried rice with seafood. One of the Chinese viewers outside of Yunnan even flew to Kunming just to taste authentic Thai food at the restaurant.

In a recent video, Janjira talked about Thai specialties and scenic areas, presenting Thailand to Chinese audiences. She hopes that the Tik Tok app could let more people know about her country.

By Gateway reporters

Keywords:   Yunnan Thai dishes