Thailand Food

Thai Food :

One of the great pleasure of being in Thailand is that there is a great abundance of eating places and the cost of eating is rather cheap when compared to those in Western countries. As Thailand is a major agricultural country, grains, vegetables, meat and all kinds of foodstuff are produced here at very reasonable prices. Besides, aquatic and marine animals are easily acquired from the sea and many rivers. These factors together with the gift of cooking of Thai people make Thailand a paradise for every food lover.

Wherever you are in Thailand, you'll surely find a good number and variety of eating places -- perhaps much more than you've ever expected. And that's why many Western visitors said that one of their pleasures while being in Thailand is EATING! When asked why? They simply said -- Because it is delicious and cheap!

Thai Tastes :

The unique feature of Thai cuisine is the mixture of 4 basic tastes -- salty, sweet, sour and pungent. Many dishes can even be described as pungent and spicy with lots of garlic, chilies, and fresh herbs. Thai food not only tastes good, but is also healthy due to its low fat and high fiber and the nutritious properties of its herbal ingredients.

Anyway, Thai food can be basically divided into four groups according to its region of origin -- central, northern, northeastern (Isan) and southern.

Thai food in the central part is a combination of various tastes -- hot, salty, sweet and greasy. People in the central and southern regions eat steamed rice with side dishes, such as curries, shrimp paste dip with fresh vegetables, fried dishes and soups. While many dishes of the central region receive the influence of Chinese cuisine, the southern ones are influenced by Malay cuisine.

Another difference is that the southern dishes consist mainly of sea fish. Its taste is sour, salty and very hot since people like to use turmeric in cooking. Khanom chin (Thai rice vermicelli) is a popular native food of the South, which is taken with vegetables and a hot and spicy curry.

On the other hand, the northern and northeastern people prefer eating steamed glutinous rice to non-glutinous rice. Most northern dishes are generally milder than those of the other regions. Sugar, coconut cream and spices are less used.

Its well known style of eating is khantok dinner comprising sticky rice, curries and nam phrik ong (a sauce of minced pork, tomatoes and chilies) all of which are placed in a wooden tray around which all guests sit and eat with hands.

The taste of the Northeastern (Isan) food is stronger, more salty, sour and hot than elsewhere in the country and some dishes receive the influence of Laos. One unique characteristic of Isan food is that pla ra (fermented fish) constitutes a main dish in almost every meal. It is plainly eaten with glutinous rice or added to other dishes.

Som Tam (green papaya salad), one of the most popular dishes in Thailand, is also an original northeastern food and is normally eaten with glutinous rice and grilled chicken.

Basically, eating Thai food is a communal affair joined by two or more people sharing different dishes. So the greater the number of diners, the greater the number of dishes shared. These dishes are eaten together allowing the diners to enjoy the harmonious tastes of the whole meal. A typical Thai meal should consist of a soup, a fried dish, a hot salad (yam), a curry dish or a dip with fried fish and fresh vegetables. Besides, Thai food is normally served with a variety of condiments and sauces, e.g. fish sauce with chilies and vinegar with chilies.

If you are trying hot Thai food for the first time, you should take plenty of you should have plenty of water ready, you should also avoid eating chilies, especially the small red or green ones called phrik khi nu, which is a main ingredient in curries, hot salad and spicy fried dishes. Thai food is eaten with a fork and spoon and no knife as all ingredients are cut in slices or small chunks.

The Top Ten Thai Dishes Loved by Foreigners

A few years back, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Culture Commission had conducted a survey of Thai restaurants all over the world to find out ten favorite Thai dishes of foreigners. In the survey 500 Thai restaurants with Thai chefs around the world were asked to fill in a questionnaire. The results were the top ten Thai dishes which are listed below in order of their percentages of popularity

  1. tom yam kung (spicy shrimp soup) 99%
  2. kaeng khiao wan kai (green chicken curry) 85%
  3. phat thai (fried noodles of Thai style) 70%
  4. phat kaphrao (meat fried with sweet basil) 52%
  5. kaeng phet pet yang (roast duck curry) 50%
  6. tom kha kai (chicken in coconut soup) 47%
  7. yam nua (spicy beef salad) 45%
  8. mu or kai sa-te (roast pork or chicken coated with turmeric) 43%
  9. kai phat met mamuang himmaphan (chicken with cashew nuts) 42%
  10. phanaeng nua (meat in coconut cream) 39%

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