Chanthaburi: Gastronomic Paradise of Thai Cuisine

The sun is just peeking out, the sky still asleep in the inky darkness, but the streets are already starting to stir.  Vendors and hawkers once again take their usual places in the city market and sidewalk kiosks, completely reenergized.  Chanthaburi, a bustling province in eastern Thailand, is waking up. 

Derived from the Sanskrit words chantha meaning Moon and buri, City, Chanthaburi is where Urban Thai’s resident chef Mummy hails from. 

Chanthaburi sunset

A balmy tropical climate, lush land, and ample coastline have blessed her birthplace with a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, seafood.  Meanwhile a lovely mix of people and cultures is responsible for fusing all that together into one mouthwatering feast that is Thai. 

What Makes Thai Cuisine So Special?

On their own, the essential ingredients and spices that make up Thai cuisine are already refreshingly potent; so how much more when merged with each other?  A dash of curry and five-spice powder here, a creamy dollop of coconut milk there, a few bird’s eye chilis, pounded fragrant lemongrass and knotted pandan leaves, a sprig of coriander and spearmint, some grated ginger and life-giving turmeric, and many others deliver their unique contribution to any dish.  Even signature sauces and pastes such as tao chiao (yellow soybean paste), si-io khao (dark soya sauce), nam pla (fish sauce), and kapi (shrimp paste) transform dishes into something quite unexpected, a wonderful, sumptuous flavor profile you’ve never experienced before.


This grand fusion of flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami—plus the inevitable aroma of goodness that pulls you in—is what makes Thai cuisine unmistakably Thai.  It comes from the mixing of various seemingly incongruous ingredients and yet magically achieving the perfect balance of flavors in the end.  Thais themselves swear this balance is good for the health.

As with any signature cuisine, we come to terms with a country’s way of life just with one bite, one sip of their best, most-cherished dishes.  The mainstay dishes of Thai cooking such as gaeng daeng (red curry), pad thai (Thai style fried noodles), yam nua (Thai beef salad), kai pad med mamuang (stir fried chicken with cashews) to name a few, all tell the story of the brave but peaceable people known as the Thai. All those delicious dishes are on our menu.

In this way, the Thai carry their courage to the kitchen, emerging as winners every time.

In Search of Authentic Thai Cuisine

That said, authentic Thai cooking is simply hard to come by, especially in venues and settings out of Thailand itself.  Recreating both Thai flavors and ambiance requires an extensive skill set in a chef.  Over the years, Chef Mummy has extensively traveled her own province of Chanthaburi, learning from her own people the secret to this balancing act to achieve that glorious, perfect union of flavors.  Her continuing journey, no doubt, has been enlightening just as it is delicious, and she brings all those treasured techniques and recipes to Urban Thai.

As the province starts a bright, new day, Chef Mummy learns two important lessons.  It is in the humblest way of life, the simplest of kitchens, and the most honest hearts of people that the best dishes are made. See you soon at Urban Thai. Do not forget to book your table before coming.

                                                                                             galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

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