Raw Vegan Food in Thailand
Recently, our love for raw vegan food was taken to new and dizzying heights when we took part in a course at Mathew Kenney Culinary in Thailand, followed by eating a vegan raw food dinner created by graduate chefs working at Evason Hua Hin (one of the most vegan friendly resorts we’ve ever stayed at).
UPDATE: Since our visit in 2016 Evason Hua Hin have ended their relationship with Matthew Kenney and now offer a brand new raw food kitchen called Blue Lotus which is billed as ‘A learning centre for plant based cuisine’ which we hear is taking plant based learning to the next level.
Way back at the beginning of 2014, when we set off on our Vegan Food Quest travels, we were introduced to the joys of eating vegan raw food. As our adventure continued we’ve been drawn to raw food places along the way. There’s just something about vegan raw food that really intrigues us.
But after taking part in the class at Matthew Kenney Culinary at Evason Hua Hin, our understanding and appreciation of just how good this cuisine can be was increased 10 fold. The food was not only healthy and delicious, but it was beautiful and wouldn’t look out of place in a fine-dining restaurant.
This is the first classically structured plant-based culinary academy in the region and is part of Matthew Kenney Culinary, which has been recognised by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the best cooking classes in the world.
There’s an emphasis on empowering students to be creative. They don’t just teach to recipes but encourage experimentation with flavours, textures and presentation, all in the setting of their hi-tech teaching kitchen; the courses range from the full, one month intensive programme to shorter weekend courses (they also run a cooked plant-based cuisine course as well).
The beginning of our raw vegan food masterclass began by getting into our chef’s whites and downing a few ominous looking green juices (actually surprisingly good). The first thing to mention after this is that this place is probably the most well equipped kitchen we’ve ever been in. We were supplied with the highest quality blenders, dehyrators, vacuums, juicers and every other piece of equipment you could imagine that you might need to get creative with. Not to mention the ingredients we had at hand. Nuts, vegetables, Celtic sea salt, dehydrated vanilla pods, coconut sugar, agave syrup, raw cacao, vinegars, oils, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers; the list was endless. To say we were excited is an understatement.
The instruction was friendly and informal with frequent tasting as we went along to discuss whether flavours needed adding or balancing. It was here that we discovered that when you’re tasting food this good it’s hard not to get lost in it and just eat it all.
Then we headed back to our individual work stations to recreate what we’d seen, adding our own stamp to the basic recipes provided. It’s a lot harder to create beautiful looking food than you might think. You need patience, good knife skills and an eye for what looks good on a plate. Progress seemed to be swift though and with a little encouragement from our teacher, we were all turning out restaurant quality dishes in no time.
Imagine the results if we’d taken a longer course? We’d be unstoppable in the kitchen…
In a short space of time we’d mastered almond milk (here is our raw almond milk recipe), a rather swanky ‘Oyster Mushroom Crudo’ with tomato kombu broth, pickled radish and ginger and a ‘Milk Chocolate Custard’ made with avocado and raw cacao. We were on fire (if fire was allowed that is, raw food is never heated above 49°C).
This is the kind of course that fills you with creative confidence in the kitchen.
If at this stage you’re wondering why anyone would bother to learn to ‘un-cook’ like this then just consider this:
- The health benefits from eating raw unprocessed, plant-based foods are well documented. The main idea being that by heating foods above 49°C you will destroy many of their nutrients and enzymes (needed for break down food and convert it into energy and nourishment for the body).
- Raw vegan food (high in fresh fruits and vegetables) is full of antioxidants which help rejuvenate the body (and can slow the signs of ageing).
- But mainly (for epicureans like us) raw food is delicious.
This final point was proven when we sat down to dinner at Evason Hua Hin for a raw vegan food meal prepared by chefs which had completed the full Matthew Kenney Culinary course at the resort. We were expecting good quality, interesting and fresh living food similar to what we had sampled in restaurants before, but we were served something else. Something better.
Imagine elegant plates of plant-based food that embraced local Thai flavours and were as beautiful as any art that we’ve ever seen in a gallery. It was astonishingly good.
Behold ‘Young Coconut Carpaccio’ made with coconut shoot, pickled soy bean and a truffle emulsion.
Get your raw vegan food fusion lust on with ‘Tom Yam Gnocchi’ including creamy Thai green curry and sous vide mushroom; a dish that could convince the most skeptical diners.
These are just some of the raw food creations served by the Matthew Kenney culinary graduates working at Evason Hua Hin, but we must stop writing now. We’re close to cancelling all our plans and heading back, either that or we’ll descend into a fit of drooling.
This is certainly the place to go for raw vegan food in Thailand and its certainly somewhere very special.