เครือข่ายเกษตรกรรมทางเลือกภาคอีสาน

From the Food Ways: Bangkok ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำ

In Research on 13/09/2009 at 9:09 pm

This story is part of the Alternative Agriculture Network’s Food Ways Research Project, which critically looks at where the foods and ingredients we commonly eat come from and how they are produced.  With this research, we hope to propose and develop local alternatives for a more sustainable food system.

DSC03280

The attractive image of colorful markets filled with fresh produce and prepared foods is an incomplete one, but by providing producers and consumers with information about how many foods are commonly produced (often with unsafe chemical herbicides, pesticides, food additives, or preservatives) we can work together for food security and re-localization of safe foods.

While working in Bangkok at the end of last month, I stopped for a bowl of roadside guai dtiao nam in the Phaya Thai district of Bangkok.  Noticing the vendors accent, I asked him where he was from.  He and his wife came from Det Udom district, Ubon Ratchatani province in northeastern Thailand (Esan) and have been selling the chinese-style soup for 30 years.  I was surprised when they told me they owned 70 rai of land – a large piece of land to own for most farmers in Esan – and assumed that a family with that amount of land wouldn’t need to work in Bangkok.  They’ve been able to put one daughter through college and another two children are still in school.

The family returns to Ubon several times a year, mainly for the rice planting and harvest seasons.  But they no longer plant all the land themselves, renting out large plots to other villagers.  By rural community standards, a family like this might be considered wealthy.  They said they have very little debt and have been able to support their children through school.

As for the Food Way, things are only beginning.  They mentioned buying produce and ingredients from markets in Din Daeng, Huai Kwang and Klong Toey.  The next step will be to visit these markets and see where the morning glory, kale pork products, and hand-made noodles are coming from.  As other Food Ways have led us before, ingredients can pass through at least 6-8 different hands before reaching your plate.

DSC03282

The soup was a hot mess, all salty and spicy.  I sweated my way through it and started my hike to get on the BTS train.  I regretted forgetting telling him not to add the MSG.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: