August 9, 2014
There is an old western saying ‘what does not kill you makes you stronger’ (Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher 1844-1900), this cannot be said about some of the meals eaten here in Thailand. Listed here are some of the worse cases of dishes which can do more than just assault your taste buds.
Cows that can do more than just kick
Many people from outside of Thailand are familiar with laap (also known abroad as larb or lahp), a Thai-style ‘salad’ of minced meat, herbs, lime juice and chili, what you may not know is in the north of the Kingdom it is still common for the men folk to take Laap to a life risking level by adding extra ingredients such as the powerful bitter flavoured nam phia (the contents of the first stomach of the cow) and even bitterer nam dee (the uncooked bile from a cow’s gall bladder), along with strips of boiled tripe, uncooked pork blood and a spicy eye watering herb paste, the whole concoction of Luu Muu is eaten raw.
A dish of Luu Muu, served over crispy deep-fried noodles, intestines, pork rinds and kaffir lime leaf
Crabs that can bite back
Another dish to be worried about is uncooked fresh water crabs which are sometimes served with Green papaya salad–som tam (Thai: ส้มตำ) is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. It is of Lao origin but is eaten widely in S/E Asia. The dish combines the four main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, fiery hot chili, salty savoury fish sauce and sweetness added by palm sugar.
The ingredients are mixed and pounded in a motor and is served cold, it is not the salad that can do you harm, (other the eye water amount of chilli’s that are added to it), the problem can come from the fresh water crab if they added and they are not cooked properly. The issue comes in the form of the not easily pronounced ‘Paragonimus’ which is a parasitic lung fluke (flat worm). Cases of illness from infection occur after a person eats raw or undercooked infected crab or crayfish. The illness is known as paragonimiasis. Paragonimus infection can be very serious if the fluke travels to the central nervous system, where it can cause symptoms of meningitis.
The risks to health are numerous and in the main come under the label of zoonotic pathogens —those capable of transmission from animals to humans and include the not so fetching “trichinosis—a parasitic worm and equally unpleasant Streptococcus Suis, a bacterial disease, other zoonosis one can expect at the party include “anthrax, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, salmonella, rabies, tapeworms and taeniasis. There have been 4 reported deaths in Thailand in 2014 linked to Streptococcus Suis alone but this does not deter people from eating what they would term a delicacy.
There are so many wonderful and safe foods to eat in the Kingdom of Thailand it’s just a matter of taking your time in checking just what you are going to put into your mouth.
For more on other strange a wonderful food from Thailand click here
For more on special foods from Issan including; Rats, Fried Sparrows, bats, rotten fish and other delicacies see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZK6yTs4fcc