Thursday, 7 August 2008

A Guide to the Food of the Thailand and the Islands

Think Thai food and the first image that comes to your mind is usually a spicy dish or one with a lot of curry. This is partly true - to an extent. Believe it or not, you might have probably had Thai food at least once in your life without knowing it, or maybe you do. Thai food is internationally famous, and for many a reason. All Thai dishes are rarely ever bland and always have that one special ingredient that makes you wonder how it's done.

Rice is the main staple food of Thailand and this is usually what accompanies a set meal, if weren't a meal on its own (eg.fried noodles). There are two kinds of rice the Thais love: standard white rice and glutinous sticky rice. Glutinous rice is more loved by the northern Thais as you see it more frequently in their meals. Thai food differs from one place to another. Spice is famous in most dishes but the Thai's balance out their spicy food with ingredients such as lemon, lime and lemon grass.

For the northern areas, apart from the glutinous rice, a lot of their food has influence from neighbouring countries like Laos with most of their food highly seasoned and spicy E.g.: spicy roast pork. A favourite dish of the northerners would be khanom chin nam ngiao (Thai vermicelli in spicy soup). Vegetables are seen a lot in the dishes here as well because most northerners are agriculturists.

If you're in the Central region, the cuisine is somewhat "Royal cuisine", as some dishes are inspired by the kitchens of the Royal Court back when Thailand was known as Siam. The dishes are more elaborate and tend to look like beautiful masterpieces that took hours to make instead of something that's whipped up in 5.

For the southern region the dishes get really interesting. Coconut is a prominent ingredient in many dishes. It usually is present to offset the heat of curries and chilli based soups and its oil is widely used for frying. As the southern bit tends to be near the coastal regions, fresh seafood such as crab, lobster and prawns are usually the centre of many dishes and curries.

The most popular Thai dishes of today include those such as Tom Yam Kung ( Spicy shrimp soup ), Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai ( Green chicken curry ) , Phanaeng ( meat in coconut cream ) and Pad Thai ( fried noodles ) which is probably Thailand's most famous noodle dish.

Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Phuket Villas & Vacation rentals.

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