Myleen Hollero Jet Tila
Use the phrase gin jay (eat vegetarian or vegan in Thai) the next time you're at a Thai restaurant if you want to make certain your dish is free of animal product, chef Jet Tila of The Charleston advises.
"We're so conditioned to using fish sauce. The idea of seafood is almost ingrained in Thai cooking. Thai people will say 'Oh yeah, I'll cook vegetarian for you' and they might use fish sauce. It's such a natural part of our diet, so we'd adjust that," says the recently appointed Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine. "Fish sauce is swapped out with thin soy or soybean sauce."
According to Tila, vegetarianism or veganism is often tied to religion. "For a lot of Thais, it's based on Buddhism. For Catholics, some will eat vegetarian during Lent. If someone just passed away, you might eat vegetarian for 30 to 90 days as an offering."More »