The Culture Ministry is to seek having the iconic tom yum kung spicy prawn soup listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as part of Thailand’s intangible cultural heritage.
The cabinet yesterday approved the Culture Ministry’s proposal to seek the listing, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome said. Nora, a traditional dance drama from the South, and Thai massage are also waiting for Unesco’s approval for inclusion on the heritage list.
The khon masked dance and Thai traditional massage have already been added to Unesco’s global cultural heritage list in 2018 and 2019 respectively, said Mr Itthiphol.
He said he was hopeful about tom yum kung’s inclusion because this Thai soup is already famous around the world. It represents the traditional simple lifestyle of agricultural communities along the rivers and canals in the Central Plains region, where culinary traditions are closely linked with nature.
The recipe and cooking skills of tom yum kung have been handed down through generations in each household as the culinary industry comprising local and national food operators has expanded and acquired the knowledge and skills of cooking the dish, Mr Itthiphol said.
The dish has become immensely popular and spread to other regions of the country, with chefs getting creative with the recipe to satisfy different palates.
A Unesco listing would boost the international reputation of Thai cuisine and create business opportunities for the Thai food industry, said Mr Itthiphol.
It will also generate more jobs for those in the supply chain, from the growers of the lime that delivers the soup its bitter edge to shrimp farmers to Thai restaurants around the world. Plans are also afoot for a marketing strategy that will boost global consumption of Thai food