Salt, sustainability and saving the ocean: Bo Songvisava on the world’s most essential ingredient

Laura Price - 01/05/2019

Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava, chef and co-owner of Bo.Lan in Bangkok and environmental activist, says the humble table ingredient is more important than many people think

While spice and spiciness are the attributes most commonly associated with Thai food, salt is the one ingredient that is at the core of every single dish, according to Bo Songvisava, who spoke at #50BestTalks: Vital Ingredients, presented by Miele, as part of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards programme in Macao. Sprinkle salt over tomatoes and the flavour profile will change entirely; add it to a margarita and the taste of the spirit will be completely different.

Salt is not just an individual ingredient – it is also an essential element in helping to preserve foods, such as olives, jamón, pork and beef. It is necessary for the human body to survive, and in many cultures it is a symbol of good luck – some throw it over their shoulder to expel evil; others toss it on the floor for good fortune at the start of a sumo-wrestling match.

But plastic pollution in the ocean is threatening the salt we use, sometimes even resulting in human consumption of plastic micro beads via sea salt, fish and shellfish. “If we do not act today, I don’t think we’re going to last as a human kind,” says Songvisava.

Watch the video to hear her thoughts on salt, sustainability and the future of the planet.

Now watch the videos featuring Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den, Garima Arora of Gaa and Fabrizio Fiorani of Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, and stay tuned for news on the next edition of #50BestTalks.

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