Thailand is labeled “paradise” not only for its breathtaking beauty and inspiring culture, but also for its culinary brilliance. From adrenaline-rush Bangkok to serene seaside towns in the South and tranquil villages located along the Mekong River, Thai cuisine is as rich and diverse as its culture. Uniquely crafted to appeal to all tastes, Thai food combines best of flavors, textures, colors and presentations. Adding this to the country’s liberal supply of ancient cooking secrets and the Thai hospitality and you find a culinary treasure trove that offers enriching and memorable dining experiences.
Over the decade Thai cuisine taken its place in the international culinary scene. The sheer number of restaurants springing up in the international capitals of the world attest to its phenomenal popularity. Nevertheless, there is more to Thai food than what you can taste in restaurants.
Offering a variety of flavors, enthusiastic use of herbs, spices and market-fresh ingredients, Thai food is famed for its balance and harmony. An exciting combination of five fundamental tastes; hot, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter brings contrasting yet complementing flavors and textures to each dish. Coconut milk, seafood and fruit also play a key part in Thai cuisine.
Although considered as a single cuisine, Thai food is better described according to the country’s four main regions: Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern. With Cultural and ethnic infusions over centuries, regional cuisines have absorbed some Eastern and Western influences while maintaining their own unique flavors and characters.
The fertile plains along the Chao Phraya River, Thailand’s traditional heartland, is home to diversified dishes of foreign influences. For centuries, inspirations from the Middle East, Europe and Asia have contributed to making distinctive dishes that were later transformed to suit Thai tastes.
Their signatures are now evident in several dishes such as Phat Phak Bung Fai Daeng (stir-fried water spinach), kaeng Wan (green curry) or even the famous Phat Thai. Unlike the North and Northeast, Thais living in the central prefer fragrant steamed rice. Additionally, Sino-Thai food has become popular in big cities like Bangkok, especially in numerous noodle dishes found on every street corner.
As unique as its culture, is the food from the North, where steamed glutinous rice is preferred. Traditionally glutinous rice is kneaded into small balls with the fingers. Reflecting Burmeseinfluences, Northern curries are generally milder than those found in the Central or Southern regions. Popular dishes from the North include Kaeng Hang Le (pork curry), Khao Soi (curry broth with egg noodles and meat) and Sai-Ua (pork sausage), to name but a few. Visitors to the North should enjoy a Khantoke Dinner, the traditional meal setting during which diners sit around low tables.
***This sponsored article was provided and paid for by Tourism Authority of Thailand***