Kitchen Tips

Carving Food the Thai Way

The art of Thai vegetable and fruit carving has become a popular form of art in many Asian countries. Although it is an intricate discipline, it can be done at home. But, certain steps have to be followed if perfection is to be achieved. Carving food the Thai way makes your dishes look and taste delicious. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you have your very own garden of Thai carved fruits and vegetables.

Thai carving

Photo courtesy of Patrick Keogh used under the Creative Commons Licence

Spruce up the food

Before carving your fruits and vegetables, make sure they are thoroughly washed and cleaned. A neat fruit is easier to carve and nicer to present.

Choose the right knives

Be sure to use stainless steel or bronze blades. Ordinary blades will cause discoloration of fruits and vegetables.

Pick appropriate designs

The designs you want to carve should be appropriate for decorating a plate of food. Floral patterns are most suitable, while animals such as rats are not.

Selecting the best fruits and vegetables

Onions and shallots should be fresh and wrinkle-free. Carrots should be straight and large, while radishes should be fresh, round, and of a uniform medium size. Pumpkins are easy to carve if they have a rough exterior. Cabbages should be firm, with heavy heads. Most fruits such as watermelons, papayas, apples, sapodillas and jujubes should be firm with no bruises.

Preparations and treatments

To prevent browning, soak tomatoes and apples in a mixture of lime juice and water. Beets need not be soaked, but washed in salty water after peeling to remove the sap and then washed again before carving. Carrots must should not be soaked in water before carving as water makes the flesh tough, making it difficult to carve.

Carving the fruits and vegetables

The simplest patterns to carve are flowers and leaves. For example, to carve a leaf, the best option is an apple. After washing the apple, cut a wedge-shape slice in it, and then trim at the core, leaving the flesh and skin. Using a carving knife, cut the slice in the shape of any leaf of your choice. With the knife tip, curve grooves in the apple’s skin to show the veins of the leaf. It is easier to do this from the base of the leaf to its tip. As final touches, cut notches along the edges of the leaf.

Preserving your art

Do not place your completed masterpiece in water, as it will spoil and rot. Put them in containers and place in a refrigerator, or simply cover them with a damp cloth and place them in a spot protected from drafts so they do not wilt.

thai fruit carving

Photo courtesy of Asian Art Museum used under the Creative Commons Licence

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