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9:22 AM, Monday, 15 April 2024

What is Thai-Chinese food? The case of Olive Pork.


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Olive Pork: Namliap Musap (หนำเลียบหมูสับ) in Thailand, Wulan Chaorousui (乌榄炒肉碎) in China. Two similar – but different! – dishes… what gives?

0:00 – Why is Thai-Chinese food so interesting?
1:10 – Where is Thai-Chinese food from?
2:52 – Who are the Thai-Chinese?
6:11 – Is Bangkok cuisine Thai-Chinese or Thai?
8:55 – A Chaozhou version
12:08 – A Bangkok version
18:07 – Tell me more about this porridge?


* Boston butt (梅肉), 300g
* Dried Chinese black olive (榄角/乌榄), 35g
* Red mild chili (红辣椒), 25g
* Chinese celery (香芹), 30g
* Ginger (姜), 5g
* Marinade:
Soy sauce (酱油), 1 tsp
Liaojiu, aka Shaoxing wine (料酒), 1 tsp
Cornstarch (生粉), 1 tsp
*Final seasoning mixture:
Chicken bouillon powder (鸡精), 1/4 tsp
Sugar, 1/4 tsp
Salt, 1/8 tsp
MSG (味精), 1/8 tsp
White pepper powder (白胡椒粉), 1/8 tsp
Water, 1/4 cup

Mince the pork, add in the marinade. Soak the olive with hot water for 10 mins.
Mince the black olive, ginger, chili, and celery.
Long yau, get wok piping hot, shut off heat, add in 3 tbsp oil, add in ginger and chili, fry till fragrant, then add in pork, break it up and fry it till color changes.
Add in the olive, quick mix, then add in the seasoning mixture, fry till water is absorbed.
Add in the celery, mix and out.


* Boston Butt (หมูสันคอ/梅肉), 500g
* Tinned Chinese olives (หนำเลียบ/乌榄), ~16
* Optional accompaniments:
Thai Bird’s Eye chili (พริกขี้หนู/小米辣)
Shallot (หอมแดง/干葱), slices
Lime, small dice
Chinese celery (ขึ้นฉ่าย/香芹), chopped
Cashews, 50g
* Garlic -or- Thai Garlic, 100g. For the topping, 50g; as an aromatic; 50g
* Cilantro root (รากผักชี), 6
* Seasoning:
Dark Thai soy sauce (ซีอิ๊วดำ), 1 tbsp -or- 2 tsp molassas mixed with 1 tsp soy sauce
Oyster sauce (น้ำมันหอย/蚝油), 1 tbsp
Sugar, ½ tbsp
White pepper, 1 tsp
MSG (ผงชูรส/味精), ½ tsp
* Liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine (เหล้าจีน/绍酒), 1 tbsp

Cut the pork into a dice, then hand mince for ~5 minutes until a rough paste. Rinse, smush, and mince the Chinese olives. Incorporate with the pork, then mince together for ~3 minutes until pasty.

Prepare the optional accompaniments. For the cashews, fry for 6-7 minutes over a medium low flame until golden. Reserve the oil.

Crush and mince the garlic. Reserve half. Take the other half and fry in the same oil as the cashews – medium flame, five minutes until *barely* golden. Heat off, fry for one more minute. Strain, reserve the oil.
Pound the cilantro root.

Add ~3 tbsp of the reserved oil to a wok and fry the reserved garlic over a medium-low flame until they begin to change color, ~2 minutes. Add the cilantro root, fry until fragrant. Up the flame to medium high, add the pork mixture, fry for ~10 minutes – periodically spreading the mince out to brown, and then mixing together. Once it’s *just* beginning to release a touch of oil, add the seasoning. Up the flame to high, swirl in the Shaoxing wine.

Serve with the accompaniments, alongside either white rice or plain congee.


Much of the research in this video was based off of the following works:
* The Crown and the Capitalists, Wasana Wongsurawat
* A History of the Thai-Chinese, Bisalputra & Sng
* Siamese Melting Pot: Ethnic Minorities and the Making of Bangkok, Edward Van Roy

For the recipe, I leaned on the following sources:
* YouTuber COOKKIMAO was a big resource for this one. This is a great channel for a lot of stuff in the Bangkok/Thai-Chinese space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz3g4kQWV2I
* Another critical resource was Pantip user กานต์(วีระพัฒน์) with their pair of recipes – the first one is closest to what we did: (1) https://pantip.com/topic/41405203 (2) https://pantip.com/topic/41515335
* Our pork vendor at the market

Besides chit chatting with people at the market, my process was to try to absorb everything possible on the topic on both Pantip and YouTube. Searching the former in Thai and then using Google Translate gets you 90% of the way there. Then with the two big sources above we sat down with our Thai tutor to really understand them. But there are also small things that I picked up from various sources, and in my scattershot approach I’m sure there’s places I’m forgetting:


And check out our Patreon if you’d like to support the project!

Outro Music: คิดถึงคุณจัง by ธานินทร์ อินทรเทพ
Found via My Analog Journal (great channel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHaL5H-VYRg&t=892s

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