"Essen wie die Tiger". Aneignung und Ausgrenzung einer Regionalküche in Thailand

  • Marin Trenk (Autor/in)

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Isaan, Thailand’s northeastern region, has traditionally been marginalized and its Lao-speaking population still faces discrimination. But its regional culinary traditions have recently captivated all classes of Bangkok’s food-conscious population. This article attempts to map the complexities of the nation’s acceptance and the spread of Isaan’s regional cuisine. Over the past 20 years a few Isaan dishes have been appropriated and adopted to Thai tastes. This culinary “Thai-ization” has “de-ethnicized” and “de-regionalized” some local foods. These co-opted dishes are already considered to be part of the emergent national cuisine of Thailand. While some dishes have been accepted, others are still discriminated against, especially plaaraa, a non-pasteurized fish sauce, and the Carpaccio version of Isaan’s iconic dish laap, a raw spicy minced meat or fish salad. Traditionally these types of dishes were rejected on cultural grounds but today national campaigns against certain Isaan foods are debated in terms of “health concerns”, while serving the goals of national political integration. The people of Isaan react by developing a culture of resistance, turning some raw dishes into markers of regional identity. These local strategies are supported by global culinary trends (Sushi!) making Isaan food irresistible even in Bangkok’s haute cuisine.