Ever think about where the food on your table really comes from? Maybe not, but it is sometimes a very interesting story. The fact is that a lot of plants don't originate in the places that are most associated with them. I discovered this when researching a book about Thai food a few years ago (sadly, it was never published). I found out that, although the chili pepper is widely associated with Thai cuisine, the chili plant is not native to Thailand, or even Asia. That discovery, along with the ones that followed, form the basis of this web site.

“Traveling Chili” is the story of the journeys plants have taken around the world, to end up at our supermarkets and on our tables. The facts are sometimes stranger than fiction, and there are even one or two radical make-overs along the way. This site also shares some of the local knowledge I've gained about how some foods are used, and I might even share a recipe or two.

The most recent articles published to the site are listed below.

Chinese Keys

Chinese keys, also called wild ginger or grachai in Thai, is a root in the same family as ginger. Although becoming hard to find in Bangkok, it is still quite plentiful in the markets of the north, where you'll most likely find it at the same stalls selling fresh ginger and cloud ear mushrooms. Chinese keys are probably the hardest spice to find outside of Thailand.

Clear Soup

Clear soups (gaeng jood ) are a favourite at the curry stall. Contrary to any impressions you may have about Thai cuisine, it's not all about heat. A Thai meal is a balance between spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Clear soups provide the perfect middle ground when there are other highly seasoned dishes on the table.

Clear Soup

Clear Soup (<em>gaeng jood</em>)


Preparing Glass Noodles

Glass Noodles (woon sen) are made from the starch of the mung bean and water. Their almost clear quality gives them their name. Unlike other types of noodles, Glass Noodles rarely make an appearance in the types of noodle dishes eaten for lunch. They're more commonly found in hot and spicy salads, stir-fries or as fillers for clear soups (gaeng jood).


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