Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai eatery dishes out cannabis leaf menu



Thai eatery dishes out cannabis leaf menu

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A worker examines cannabis plants from a crop being grown in Prachinburi province to be used in dishes at the Abhaibhubejhr Spa Cuisine restaurant. AFP

Thai eatery dishes out cannabis leaf menu

From spicy “happy” salads to soups sprinkled with cannabis shoots and deep-fried marijuana leaves – a Thai hospital restaurant has rolled out a weed-inspired menu which has curious customers flocking to sample its euphoria-inducing offerings.

Since becoming the first Southeast Asian country to legalise medical marijuana in 2018, Thailand has ploughed ahead on the extraction, distillation and marketing of cannabis oil – eager to capitalise on the multibillion-dollar industry.

The plant itself was finally removed from the country’s narcotics list last month, which means licensed providers – like hospitals – can now use its leaves, stems and roots in food.

This marks a return to Thailand’s culinary past, said doctor Pakakrong Kwankhao, who heads the Centre of Evidence-based Thai Traditional and Herbal Medicine in Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital.

“Putting cannabis leaves in the food is our culture,” she said. “In the past before cannabis was banned . . . we put small amounts as seasoning herbs and we also use it as a herbal remedy.”

Last week, the hospital’s wellness centre, which has a restaurant, introduced a new menu of Thai dishes offering a different sort of kick.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
This photo taken on Friday shows pork on bread with cannabis leaves laid out with ingredients at the Abhaibhubejhr Spa Cuisine restaurant in in Prachinburi province. AFP

In the restaurant’s bustling kitchen, a cook batters marijuana leaves and fries them to golden crispness, while another sprinkles them in a wok of minced meat with chili.

There are very small amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in fresh plants, but to avoid over-consumption, the restaurant has a five-leaf maximum limit per customer, said Pakakrong.

“If they have low tolerance, then they may choose the dish with just a half-leaf,” she said, warning that those who are pregnant or with certain health problems should avoid the weed-infused menu.

As for other interested foodies, “recent research found that this small amount can improve mood, focus and also creativity”, the doctor said.

She added that the restaurant hopes to expand its budding menu to include western fare.

For now, it draws a crowd during lunch, with diners snapping selfies while growing increasingly mirthful with each passing hour.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A customer eats a fried cannabis leaf at the Abhaibhubejhr Spa Cuisine restaurant in in Prachinburi province. AFP

“Are we laughing because of what we’ve eaten? I don’t think completely anyway,” said customer Thierry Martino, a French jewellery designer.

“The cannabis leaf which [the dish] is cooked with gives a little bit of bitterness,” he said, adding that his meal was “excellent”.

Arsala Chaocharoen said she was eating in the same way ancient Thais used to dine.

“They’ve put the cannabis leaves in my noodle soup and this is actually an old traditional knowledge of Thais,” said the 32-year-old pharmacist, before digging into her “joyfully happy spicy salad” – a dish of corn-battered leaves served with chili sauce.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the