Life-Changing Thai Food

The Thailand Artisans’ Table

Every day around the world, families, friends, and coworkers all come together over food. This is a time meant for more than eating: We share our highs and lows, compare our daily experiences, laugh together, and bear one another’s burdens. Differences take a back seat to this experience that connects us.  A meal shared can nourish the body and the soul.

Trades of Hope creates jobs around the world to empower women out of poverty. These women may need healing from sex trafficking, bond slavery, or they may not be able to provide for their children. These women may not have had the same chances we as Americans have, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and dream of a better life for them. They laugh and cry together, enjoy holidays together, work, play and eat together. (And – as crazy as it sounds – they eat without staring at their cell phones!)

Our backgrounds may vary, but we are more alike than we think. We love to celebrate the different cultures of artisans around the world, and we love learning more about their way of life in order to honor them.

We asked some of our artisans about their favorite foods — and we were BLOWN AWAY by the responses! They were super excited to give us a glimpse into their personal lives – and kitchens! Our home team’s mouths were watering over these AMAZING, blog-worthy images we received from Thailand! Obviously, we couldn’t wait to dry off our keyboards and share their stories with you!!

Family Style Meals Together

These artisan partners bring beautiful foods to work each day. They enjoy breakfast together upon arriving to work and again regroup by the table at lunchtime. They serve the food family-style, in bowls for all to share. (A far cry from the American version of the lunchroom, with employees hunched over individual drive-thru bags!) This amazing variety brings many colorful, flavorful surprises to the table. How fun!

They enjoy rice at each meal along with various types of noodles. Chicken and pork are their primary proteins followed by fish and duck all served with herbs, roots, and plants. Here are some tempting images of typical meals (shared in the artisans’ own words) below:

Amazing smells fill the streets as you walk through the marketplaces in Thailand. The aroma of barbecue, lemongrass, coconut milk, fried garlic, and chilies all fill the air. Part of the Thai philosophy of life, Sanuk, means to take pleasure in all you do. This applies perfectly to how they cook and eat.

Trades of Hope Artisans in Thailand - Enjoying a Family-style Meal Together

Papaya Salad


The som tam, or raw green papaya salad, is also present daily at the artisan’s table. It is so spicy that for the foreigners working at the company it is impossible to eat. Oh yes, one salad can have up to 10 chilies! Greens such as cabbage, morning glory, and basil are also at the table along with these local fruits: lychees, lung yai, rambutan, and grapefruit.

Colorful Thai fruits


Apart from vibrant color combinations, extreme textures are also enjoyed at the artisan’s table. Crispy pork skin is served with delicious dipping sour-sweet tamarind sauces on the side. The mu ping (pork skewers) are sold in the corner of the workshop. The sai ua (spiced lemongrass sausages) – a Chiang Mai signature dish – is also available at a nearby street where artisans stop by on their motorbikes before coming to work.

Morning Glory

Khao Soi


For A, one of the most diligent artisans of the group, and for Raquel, a Venezuelan working at the sales and marketing department, their favorite lunch is Khao Soi: a noodle soup, made with boiled and deep-fried egg noodles in a chicken or beef, coconut curry broth, served with lime, roasted chili, mustard greens, and shallots.

Issan Sausage




Boy, our artisans’ IT manager, gets Sai Krok Isan, pork and rice sausage to enjoy after work at home, every time the cart arrives at 5:00 pm. (Why limit all this delicious food to work hours?)

…We warned you these pics might have you drooling!

We love giving you a glimpse into the lives of these Thai artisans. When we contacted our artisans to ask about the foods they enjoy, we received an overwhelming response! They were so excited to share their favorite dishes with an American audience — showing the deep pride in celebrating their culture, heritage, and traditions. This is a great reminder of how we can bring others joy when we invest time to learn more about those around us.

These same artisans are equally passionate about the handcrafted pieces they create for Trades of Hope. By making jewelry, bags, and other items, these women are able to rise out of poverty. They are creating more than handicrafts, they are creating options for sustainable employment. Their opportunity comes to fruition as more people in America purchase their Fair Trade goods.

Poverty is replaced with something far more satisfying than any meal: Hope.

Trades of Hope is Keeping Rural Villages Sustainable in Thailand

You Can Help Keep Families Together in Thailand.

Barb Desouza
About Barb Desouza
Barb has dabbled in Admin, Tech, and Customer Service at Trades of Hope before finding her sweet spot in the Marketing/Communication team. Better known as her alter-ego, "Barbara Hope" in the CE's Facebook world, she's passionate about coffee, grammar, Boston sports teams (sorry, Jeremy), and having a witty comeback for most situations.

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