During the censure debate in the last week of February, MP Army Captain Thamanat Prompao was the Opposition’s main target of attack. The Captain was convicted and imprisoned in Australia for heroin trafficking in the mid-1990s.
Fending off his critics, Captain Thamanat explained to parliament that it was a misunderstanding and he was wrongfully convicted. In fact, what was found in his possession was flour, which in Thai is pang (แป้ง).
Thai netizens, the sarcastic bunch that we are, suddenly found a new comedic material. Jokes with intent to ridicule are tweeted and retweeted, til thumbs are blistered. Most popular of the jokes is how the Captain knew he would miss Thai food while staying in Australia, so he bought flour to make Rad-nha, a noodle dish.
Aussie police just couldn’t tell the difference between flour and heroin.
According to the Office of the Royal Society, the full name of Rad-nha is Kuay-tiew rad-nah, literally Rad-nha noodle. This is a popular dish found both on the streets and at upscale restaurants. The thick noodle is fried, in the Chinese style, and cooked with a variety of meat or seafood and vegetables, top off with Chinese soy sauce.
Most important to the deliciousness of the dish however is the broth that comes from flour. The flour used here is thick and sticky, made of cassava (mun-sum-pa-lhung, มันสำปะหลัง), hence it’s called pang-mun (แป้งมัน).
There are a variety of pang or flour in Thai and world cuisines, however pang-Aussie is yet to be invented by any chef.