A 'ga tip' is a storage box made from reeds that is used to hold cooked sticky rice. It allows the rice to breath to release moisture and is ideal to carry sticky rice on picnics. Then there's the convenience, it's a nice way to carry a packed lunch, bags of meat and vegetables on the top, rice on the bottom, as the rice cools, it keeps the meat warm.
Above is my new fancy ga-tip, below is my old, not so fancy, one.The fancy one has a wooden stand on the lid too, so you can place the lid on a surface and place food in that, knowing that the lid is standing off the surface. Handy if you're in a field and can't trust the cleanliness of the table or bench that you're eating off.
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Thai people eat a lot of steamed food and they have their own style of steamer. You can see from the photograph that it looks like an upturned hat made of reeds inside a tall (about 20cms, 8 inches) aluminium steaming pan.
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This is the Thai mortar and pestle, it's much larger than the western version. In the west the mortar and pestle are used to crush only fine spices, but in Thailand cuisine, many ingredients are crushed in this vessel, chillis, papaya and sauces are all mixed and created directly in the mortar. 'bok bok' is the name used to describe the action of crushing ingredients in a mortar, mimicking the sound.
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Thai people also use the Chinese style wooden steamer shown above. This is widely available and comes in a variety of sizes. The one show above is available in 3 or 5 layers, and fits on a regular 22cm (9 inch) western boiling pan.
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Tom yum is a classic Thai spicy soup that is served hot. A tom-yum pan is how it's kept hot when it's brought to your table. There are many variations to this pan, but this is a common shape. Below it, is placed a source of heat, I use an oil burner, but more commonly a special burning tray is used, a charcoal burner, or burning embers from a fire.
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Over at my Thai Life Blog, I'm showing the set of Thai condiments you traditionally find on a table in Thailand. Just as you have salt and pepper, we have our set of condiments too.
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Have you ever seen those detailed fruit carvings you commonly see in Thai restaurants? Making those carvings is a skill. I've embedded a video showing how it's done below. A large part is the special narrow pointy knife needed to do the delicate carvings. You do need the right tool for the job. I've managed to find a trade supplier for those knives at the BIG+BIH trade show. They've promised to email me a list of retailers who sell the knives to the public, for the moment their website is here: Kom Kom Products (Website), in Bangkok .
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