Must try dishes: Why Phetchaburi is a gastronomic haven for food enthusiasts

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Renowned for its rich culinary heritage and vibrant gastronomic scene, Phetchaburi stands as a must-visit destination for foodies seeking an unforgettable journey into Thai cuisine. 

The city is dedicated to preserving traditional recipes held by local communities and is known for its high-quality ingredients that have been refined by local artisan producers for generations and form the core of Phetchaburi’s gastronomic excellence. Local cuisine has been adapted for more widespread national and global engagement, combining tradition with modern economic development.

Phetchaburi is known for its high quality sea salt, key limes, and palm sugar, earning it the nickname “City of Three Flavors” (salty, sweet, and sour).

The first is the ‘Salty Taste’ of sea salt, which is a key ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. The area of Ban Laem District in Phetchaburi Province is adjacent to the sea, and the number of salt fields and salt farming in Phetchaburi is the largest in Thailand.

The second – ‘Sweet Taste’ as a source of sugar palm, which is used in the production of high-quality jaggery, which is used in the preparation of various sweet and savory dishes.

And the third – “Sour Taste” Because it has a thin skin and a pleasant aroma, Phetchaburi lime is one of the most important economic crops in Phetchaburi. Phetchaburi is the province with the most lemon plantations, particularly in the Ban Lad and Tha Yang districts.

In addition to these three main ingredients, Phetchaburi is rich in other healthy ingredients like seafood, field beef, rose apple, pineapples, bananas, and much more.

The cuisine is the result of the best ingredients being combined with the elaborate cooking skills of the Phetchaburi people that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The food also takes influence from the cultures of the Ayutthaya, Rattanakosin, Chinese, Mon, and local ethnic groups, which features throughout many of Phetchaburi’s most popular dishes. 

The local food in Phetchaburi has a distinct identity that clearly reflects the city’s cultural roots.

Among the well-known dishes that reflect Phetchaburi’s cultural roots are Kaeng Kua Hua Tan (toddy palm curry), Khanom Cheen Thotman (fermented rice-flour noodles with fried fish cake), Khao Chae (rice soaked in water accompanied by a variety of side dishes) Kuaitiao Nam Daeng (red-soup noodles), Tanond Tod (Fried jaggery) and Kaeng Lok (Fake Curry).

Kaeng-Kua-Hua-Tan (Toddy palm curry)

Kaeng-Kua-Hua-Tan (Toddy palm curry)

Kaeng-Kua-Hua-Tan (Toddy palm curry) is a Phetchaburi-specific curry. The young toddy palm will be carefully chosen, not too old but also not too young, to provide a crunchy texture without being tough and chewy. The young toddy palm is thinly sliced and kneaded with salt until only faint bitter notes remain. They will then be cooked with curry pastes, coconut milk, grilled fish or grilled meat, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Kaeng-Kua-Hua-Tan has a slight bitter note that is characteristic of young toddy palms, which when combined with the sweetness of palm sugar gives the dish a mellow flavor.

Khanom Cheen Thotman (fermented rice-flour noodles with fried fish cake)

Khanom Cheen Thotman

The Phetchaburi people are well-known for their love of fried fish cakes and Kanom Jeen (fermented rice-flour noodles). It is common to use delicious and firm mackerel fish because it is easy to find in this neighborhood. When eating, the noodles are placed on the bottom. Place the fried pieces on top of the crispy basil leaves and drizzle with the sweet and sour sauce or cucumber slices and onions in vinegar (Ajard).

Khao chae

Khao chae

Khao chae is a Thai dish that consists of four components: parboiled rice, ice cubes, jasmine-scented water, and side dishes. To enjoy the dish, fill a bowl halfway with rice, just enough to cover it with ice cubes and jasmine-scented water. People then take a bite of the side dish, followed by a spoonful of rice and a glass of scented water to wash it all down.

Khao Chae is a popular dish that has long been popular in Phetchaburi. “Khao Chae in Phetchaburi is famous because Phetchaburi has water that is good, clear, clean, and pure,” Princess Phun Phitsamai Diskul once said. In Phetchaburi, traditional Khao Chae would include three side dishes: fried shrimp paste balls, sweet pickled radish, and sweet fried spotted eagle ray.

Kuaitiao Nam Daeng (red-soup noodles)

There are even secret recipes that are unique to each store, but Kuaitiao Nam Daeng frequently share similar characteristics, such as a mellow broth made from a combination of quality beef broth. Season with local soy sauce and fresh jaggery, and serve with a homemade chili-vinegar sauce made from Karen chilies, a Nong Ya Plong district product that adds a spicy flavor and unique local fragrances to the dish. A small cup of red chili sauce from a local factory is frequently set aside with a bowl of stewed beef noodles. One of the outstanding dishes popular with Phetchaburi residents and tourists alike is Phetchaburi red-soup noodles.

Tanond Tod (Fried jaggery)

Tanod Tod is a Mueang Petch local dessert made by bringing sugar palms from the area to be processed into desserts by using a white Jao Tan inside the Toddy palm syruping with palm sugar. The Jao Tan is then dipped in glutinous rice flour that has been seasoned with coconut milk and palm sugar. Then fry until golden brown to make a delicious dessert that anyone visiting Phetchaburi should try at least once.

Kaeng Lork (Fooled Curry)

Kaeng Lork, the local curry of the Phetchaburi people, was once a popular food. It has a slightly spicy flavor, as well as sour, sweet, and salty notes. Pickled bamboo shoots, pumpkin, and beef pickled in bamboo shoots and sprinkled with yellow peppers are among the ingredients used to make Kaeng Lork.

The Kaeng Lork gets its name from the fact that regular curry is spicy due to the presence of chilli in the curry paste. Kaeng Lork, on the other hand, does not taste spicy. Curry that isn’t spicy, according to the people of Phetchaburi, isn’t curry. As a result, Kaeng Lork, which translates to “Fooled Curry,” is the name of this menu.

 

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