Unique Flavours - That's Thai Food

Once described Thai food as "having three tastes: hot, hotter, and hottest." As anyone who has ever inadvertently bitten into one of the tiny green or yellow chillies that lie concealed in many dishes can attest, there is a degree of truth in the observation. But only a degree. True connoisseurs would quickly add that it also has an infinite variety of other flavours, both assertive and subtle, which collectively make it one of Asia 's most distinctive cuisines

China, India, Java, even far-off Portugal have experted an influence on Thai cooking over the centuries, bringing with them certain spices and herbs and other ingredients. Some of these, mainly Chinese, were incorporated almost unchanged: most, however, underwent gradual alteration to meet local tastes, ultimately emerging as something uniquely Thai.

Once known only to a comparative handful of travelers who came to the source. Thai food is currently enjoying an international vogue. There are reportedly more than 200 Then restaurants in Los Angeles alone, and numerous others are to be found in London, New York, Paris, and almost every other major city in the world where Thai students gather. The cuisine has been "discovered" by various food magazines and articles written in praise of its exotic flavours.

What produces the wide range of tastes that one perceives in the assorted curries, soups, salads, snacks, and sweets cooked Thai style For the answer, let us look at the extraordinary array of herbs, spices, and other ingredients that the average Thai cook would regard as essential, some bought from the nearest market but many picked fresh from the garden. Of the fresh seasonings, undoubtedly the most celebrated are the chillies. These are not, a novice might suppose, limited to one or two varieties, scarcely distinguishable from each other.

In fact, perhaps a dozen different kinds of chillies play a part in Thai cooking, varying considerably in both flavours and potency.The most explosive is the smallest, a yellow-orange bombshell known as “phrik khi nu luang”. closely followed by a green variety called “phrik khi nu” ( which, translated literally, means "rat dropping." the name deriving from its shape.) An encounter with one of these half-inch terrors can make a strong man rush for the nearest glass of beer, but no true lover of Thai food would dispense with them in certain dishes. A number of larger chillies, several degrees milder, are also used when a less aggressive flavour is called for. Green peppercorns find their way into some mean dishes, particularly those involving game

Equally ubiquitous are the aromatic leaves of the coriander plant (phak chi) sprinkled lavishly on just about everything from soups to curries. One foreign resident, less addicted to the flavour than most Thais, swears he was once served a coriander garnished bowl of ice cream: but this experience, if true, must be regarded as an aberration.

Numerous other fresh plants are also added to Thai food for flavouring purposes. Lemon grass (takhrai) lends a delicate citron taste to several of the most distinctive soups as well as to some salads, and the leaves of the Kaffir lime (bai makrut) are used for a similar purpose in certain curries. For a long time, these two basic Thai seasonings were virtually unobtainable in Western countries, and countless travelers carried a leaf or two to homesick friends living abroad; now, thanks to the growing popularity of Thai restaurants, they can frequently be found in specialty markets in many of the world 's major cities.

Enjoy your Thai Food !!

Thai Food: Thai Food - Thai Cuisine By Venus

In Meaning "Thai Food " from Tourism Thailand

Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices as well as fish sauce.Thai food is popular in many Western countries especially in Australia, New Zealand, some countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, and Canada. Instead of a single main course with side dishes found in Western cuisine, a Thai full meal typically consists of either a single dish or rice khao with many complementary dishes served concurrently.

Rice is a staple component of Thai cuisine, as it is of most Asian cuisines. The highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice is indigenous to Thailand. This naturally aromatic long-grained rice grows in abundance in the verdant patchwork of paddy fields that blanket Thailand’s central plains. Its aroma bears no resemblance to the sweet smell of jasmine blossoms, but like jasmine flowers, this rice is precious and fragrant, a small everyday delight. Steamed rice is accompanied by highly aromatic curries, stir-frys and other dishes, incorporating sometimes large quantities of chillies, lime juice and lemon grass. Curries, stir-frys and others may be poured onto the rice creating a single dish called khao rad gang , a popular meal when time is limited. Sticky rice khao neow is a unique variety of rice that contains an unusual balance of the starches present in all rice, causing it to cook up to a pleasing sticky texture. It is the daily bread of Laos and substitutes ordinary rice in rural Northern and Northeastern Thai cuisine, where Lao cultural influence is strong.

Noodles, known throughout parts of Southeast Asia by the Chinese name kwaytiow, are popular as well but usually come as a single dish, like the stir-fried Pad Thai or noodle soups. Many Chinese cuisine are adapted to suit Thai taste, such as khuaytiow rue, a sour and spicy rice noodle soup.

There is uniquely Thai dish called nam prik which refers to a chile sauce or paste. Each region has its own special versions. It is prepared by crushing together chillies with various ingredients such as garlic and shrimp paste using a mortar and pestle. It is then often served with vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage and yard-long beans, either raw or blanched. The vegetables are dipped into the sauce and eaten with rice. Nam prik may also be simply eaten alone with rice or, in a bit of Thai and Western fusion, spread on toast.

Thai food is generally eaten with a fork and a spoon. Chopsticks are used rarely, primarily for the consumption of noodle soups. The fork, held in the left hand, is used to shovel food into the spoon. However, it is common practice for Thais and hill tribe peoples in the North and Northeast to eat sticky rice with their right hands by making it into balls that are dipped into side dishes and eaten. Thai-Muslims also frequently eat meals with only their right hands.

Often thai food is served with a variety of spicy condiments to embolden the dish. This can range from dried chili pieces, sliced chili peppers in rice vinegar, to a spicy chili sauce such as the nam prik mentioned above.

Introduction to Thai Food - Thai Cuisine By Venus

If you mentioned Thailand to a westerner say 30 years or so ago, more than likely they would confuse the country with the Chinese Republic on Taiwan. Or, if they even knew the name at all, all it was probably through Hollywood’s slightly libelous version of Thai “history” as portrayed in
Anna and the King of Siam. Nowadays, of course, Thailand is known throughout the world, and the reason is the kingdom’s fabulous Thai Cuisine. Thai restaurants and foods can be found in almost every nation and are patronized by people who may never have set foot in Southeast Asia or possibly never even left their own.

So just what is it that makes Thai cuisine special? Most likely it is the combination in each dish of the four basic flavors – sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Over the centuries, Thai cooking has borrowed freely from the culinary arts of China, India and Malaya, blending these different influences to create something that is truly unique. And while Thai food has a reputation for being spicy, in reality most dishes are not. The spiciness varies by region, and central Thai cuisine – the most commonly encountered variety – is probably the least spicy of all.

Recommended dishes for someone new to Thai food might be gai tawt met mamuang himapan (chicken fried with onions, cashews and mild red peppers), gai haw bai toey (seasoned chicken roasted in pandan leaves), nuea paht nam man hoi (slices of beef cooked in oyster sauce), the famous tom yam goong (a mildly spicy shrimp soup) and mee grawp (crisply fried noodles with a light coating of sugar). These favorites should be available in any proper Thai restaurant anywhere in the world.

For lunch, a light one dish meal might be preferred, say khao pad Koong (fried rice with shrimp) or kweitiou paht Thai (rice noodles stir fried with an egg, tofu and dried shrimp, and garnished with ground peanuts).

A proper meal when friends gather in Thailand, however, will always include many selections. The more people present, the more the different dishes that will be ordered. Unlike a western dinner, a Thai meal will not be served in courses. There may be a light appetizer, such as baw bia tawt (fried Chinese spring rolls). But the main dishes will probably all arrive at nearly the same time.

Diners help themselves by using a large serving spoon to take as much of whatever they want. There will invariably be a soup – like as not tom yang goong, possibly a mild curry made with coconut milk (not ghee as in India), and one or more chicken or fish dishes. A spicy salad may also be included, provided there are enough people to warrant it. Every effort is made to try to balance the meal, both in respect to taste and to visual appearance. (The Thais are great lovers of beauty.)

At large gatherings, a common practice is to finish the meal by ordering a huge plate of fried rice to ensure that no one goes away hungry. Soft drinks or fruit juices will probably ordered for the women and children, with the men opting for the ice cold and potent Thai beer.

Sweets may follow, but desserts are not as commonly ordered in Thailand as in the west. Thai sweets are generally made from some combination of rice and coconut, but the variety is nothing short of amazing.

Unfortunately, Thai sweets all do tend to taste a bit alike, and a better choice is a platter of fresh fruit. With its semi-tropical climate, Thailand has some kind of fruit always in season. Oranges are available year round, and Thai pineapples are noted for being among the best in the world. Papayas, oranges and pomelos (sort of a sweet grapefruit) will also be available most of the year, along with more exotic and seasonal fruit such as rambutan, mangosteen and durian.

Enjoy your Thai Food and Have Fun !!