Evidence-Based Gastronomy and Thai Food Dish History. A Talk by Kanit Muntarbhorn


As “Thai food” is world famous, it should be considered as an important aspect of Thai economy. Whether inside or outside Thailand, can we (Thais and non-Thais) logically think of “Thai food” as a brand? If the answer is in the affirmative, we need to explain: what is it?

If a marketing manager cannot explain his/her product’s brand, the job may be at risk. Yet, many people may carry on in Thai food business without differentiating between “Thai food” brand and non-Thai food brands. Can we differentiate them by applying comparative gastronomy among various ethno-cultural or even national cuisines? Before that, we need to define food periods… boran (very old), old or contemporary?

It is possible by the use knowledge of several disciplines such as food history, food literature and recorded recipes as preferable information over hearsay(s), personal biases and unsubstantiated “info” in the internet to alleviate confusion among Thai food lovers and customers etc. on the subject of “Thai food dishes” (Thai or not; “boran” or not) especially on Tom Yams/ Tom Yums, Kaengs/ Gaengs and more… It is time to say: “Enough is enough! Stop saying fusion, fusion, and fusion. Let’s have some form of order, definitions and levels of evidence”. Evidence-Based Gastronomy is proposed as a starting point…with so much more work ahead.

For much of his life, Dr. Kanit Muntarbhorn (a physician) has spent much effort to develop an academic system to alleviate considerable confusion in the world of culinary art, old Thai recipes, citation methods and levels of evidence. Being an avid collector of old Thai recipes books & memorial books and originator of English definitions of Thai food dishes, period classification and evidence-based Thai gastronomy, Dr. Kanit proposes a citation system with different levels of evidence [having been moderator at the TAT International Thai Food Conference in 1999 AD].

Dr. Kanit is book author to Thai Food and Cuisine (original?, traditional?, authentic?), Thai Food History and Transliterations-2010 and A Food World- 2017 and has been a speaker at Thai National Nutrition Conference(s), at Le Cordon Bleu - Dusit Thai Cooking Course(s) and at a world congress in USA (lecture: one million years of food and the nose). Dr. Kanit will pose many questions on unchartered gastronomy and will provide some answers for a new subject which can be applied to any ethno-cultural-national cuisine.

Date: Thursday, 1 February 2018
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.