Thailand is well-known not only for its amazing architecture, beautiful landscapes, unique cultures, and friendly people, but also for its special and delicate cuisine. Thai cuisine is the subtle combination of fresh food, spices, and herbs. When mentioning about Thai food, we will think about a fine mixture of spicy, sour, sweet, and bitter flavors. This creates a harmony in each Thai dish. Cuisine has become a prominent cultural feature of Thailand, which attracts a significant number of tourists. In other words, Thai cuisine is one of the main purposes of every trip to this amazing country.
General Features of Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine is influenced by the cuisine of its neighboring countries such as: India, Malaysia, Myanmar, China et cetera. The northeast region takes the food culture from Laos. The mountainous area in the north is under influence of Burmese cuisine, whereas Malaysia shares its Hinduism food culture to the south region of Thailand. Only the mountainous Korat in the east has the food characteristics of Cambodia. This diversity in food culture makes tourists visiting Thailand fall in love straight away with its enjoyable and delicious dishes.
Indeed, tourists all around the world love Thai food. It is not only delicious but also healthy because of the special attention of cooks to fresh, delicate, and harmonious ingredients. Thai uses herbs (basil, mint. ginger, saffron, hot peppers, lemon grass coriandrum sativum, et cetera) for food processing. They both add flavors to the dishes and make them good for people health.
Flavorful Thai dishes are the fantastic combination of the sourness, sweetness, saltiness, and especially, spiciness. Tourists often think that all Thai foods are hot or extremely hot and not healthy. However, this is not really a true judgment. Although the dishes are cooked from many hot spices, they are also blended with different types of fruit and vegetable, along with fresh and low fat products which are good for people health. Some dishes are spicy because of green pepper and red hot peppers called “phrik” in Thai language. There is a variety of “phrik”: from slightly spicy to spicy and extremely spicy.
The colors of fruit and vegetables make Thai dishes very appetizing and eye-catching: the red color of hot pepper, the yellow color of saffron, the purple color from beetroot, the green color from pandan and so on.
4 Different Food Regions of Thailand
Thai people consider enjoying cuisine as their favorite entertainment. Each region has a different way of cooking and eating food. When mentioning about Thai cuisine, we are talking about 4 different food cultures from 4 different areas throughout Thailand. Each area has its own unique and traditional food processing.
- The North: Being influenced by Myanmar, northern dishes are often cooked to a turn with a strong and no spicy, sweet, or sour flavor. Pork, beef, duck, and chicken are the northern favorites.
Kaeng Hang Le is a typical dish of the northern Thailand. It is a curry cooked from pork, ginger, saffron, tamarind, and Khao Soy, another kind of curry cooked with meat, onions, egg noodles, cabbages, and lime leaves.
- The Northeast: Sharing the food culture with Laos, sticky rice served with grilled pork or chicken is the best-loved dish in this region. The northeastern love grilled meat and small animals such as rats, frogs, red ants, et cetera.
Therefore, when visiting Thailand, Tom Yam Gung is one of the most recommended dishes to try. It is a very famous speciality of the northeastern Thailand. This area has a typical flavor of sour soups which is softer than the southern, stronger than the central and northern ones. Cooked with shrimps or seafood blended with lime leaves and coconut milk, Tom Yam Gung has an enjoyable slightly sour flavor that no one can resist.
- The Central Region: Steamed rice is the main dish of every family in the central Thailand. Thai and Chinese food are very popular in cities like Bangkok, especially noodles. Due to taking influences from the king’s palace, there are many royal dishes which are cooked more sophisticatedly than the common ones.
Thai people in the central region love well-cooked food with a slightly sweet flavor. Food decoration is also carefully paid attention. Normally, dining tables are decorated with fruit and vegetables that are cut and prepared thoughtfully. Central cuisine is also considered as a combination of the best dishes from the other regions. Sometimes, the food coming from other areas of Thailand which is cooked in this region has a better taste and standard.
- The South: Having cuisine features in common with India and Malaysia, dishes in this area have a strong, spicy, and sour flavor. Many different spices may sometimes be cooked in one dish. This makes the food from southern Thailand have distinctive characteristics that attract tourists.
Thai Hot Pot is one of the most popular dishes of this region. The spiciness of hot peppers, the smell of lime leaves mixed with fresh ginger, and the slight sweetness of sugar are the flavors which cannot be missed in a Thai Hot Pot dish. It is often served with shrimps, mushrooms, tomatoes, water spinach, and so on.
Cuisine is a part of traditional culture of a country in general, of Thailand in particular. Thai cuisine is truly irreplaceable. The amazing architecture, the beautiful landscapes, the hospitality, and the passion in the art of cooking and eating food of Thai people have made Thailand and its food culture reach a newer and better level of tourism.