Thai food is my favourite and I love them to be as authentic and true to original taste as possible. From every corner of the country, I enjoy the distinctive taste and style of each region from “Pla La+” (fermented fish) of Isan, to Sai Oor (Sausages), Nam Prik Noom (Green Chili Paste) of the North, Yellow fish curry of the South and Noodles of Bangkok Streets, they are tasty and rich in flavours. However, if you ask me what is my favourite Thai restaurant or eatery, I am lost as to where I would direct you.

It’s with such a pity that, nowadays, Thai food served in local restaurants, street vendors or even at homes is mostly seasoned with MSG or flavour enhancers. Thais have grown to love flavour enhancers because they make the flavours stronger and somewhat sweeter. Cooks love it because it gives instant result. For example, you don’t have to cook for hours to get the right broth. Every thing tastes the same.

Health risk aside, it pains me to know that we are quickly losing the natural and authentic flavor of traditional Thai food. Instant noodles like “Mama” are now made into Pad Thai. It’s sad. We should protect our traditional dishes and encourage people to see the value of traditional cooking. This way, our culinary identity can be sustained. We should return to local style cooking and appreciate the local flavours.

Actually, Thai food can be simple to prepare. Some may argue that they need to maintain the consistency of the flavours. I think many people forget that the inconsistency of the taste is indeed the beauty of natural food. Not every lime will taste the same as the next. It’s something we have to learn to appreciate. With the amount of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) used in Thailand, we are creating man made additives which can produce many side affects like severed head aches, blur visions, nervousness and more.

Here’s a little history about MSG. In 1908, Monosodium Glutamate was invented by Mr. Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese man who identified the natural flavour enhancing substance from the seaweed. Taking a hint from this natural seaweed substance, they create the manmade version of this additive MSG, and he and a partner went on to form Ajinomoto, which is now the world’s largest producer of MSG. Today Ajinomoto is also a drug manufacturer.

Clinically, MSG is comprised of glutamic acid, 21 percent sodium, and up to 1 percent contaminants.

The question is why do we want to put this into our body when we don’t have to. Today, many hotels and restaurants in Thailand do not use MSG for health reasons. Some people are allergic to it, too. We should return to our authentic taste of the original recipes. So, while in Thailand, I encourage you to order your meals in local restaurants and food stalls with “No-MSG”. You will be surprised at how delightful and original the food tastes.