Thai cuisine would seem very exotic for every European, but it has a variety of flavors and aromas. It was formed over many centuries and neighboring countries contributed to the traditional dishes of Thailand. India’s impact made the Thai food spicy, China influenced to the size of the portions due to the principle of moderation in all things, and Japan has made seafood the main ingredient for soups.
Since Thailand was never conquered by colonialists from Europe, the national cuisine of the country retained its identity long. Only a few decades ago when tourists from all over the world began to arrive to the country in search of the enchanting and exotic entertainment, local chefs began to adopt European culture of cooking.
Features of Thai cuisine
The basis of Thai cuisine is rice, and this is not surprising because this ingredient is present in almost all traditional dishes. The rice here is served as a main dish, and meat, fish or salads are garnish.
The principle of local cuisine – harmony of 5 basic tastes: sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour. If the balance is achieved, then the dish will not only be delicious, but also useful. Chefs do not adhere to the strict rules of preparation of particular products, however all meals served warm or even hot, richly flavored with spices (black and red pepper, coriander, ginger, dill, etc.).
You will not see knives on the table, because everything is already chopped while cooking. Chopsticks or a fork will lie near the plate.
Where to have a delicious food in Thailand
It should be noted that the cost of food in Sunny Thailand is not the lowest in South East Asia, but if you know right places, you can eat tasty and inexpensive here. Thai people often eat in local cafes and small eateries, where the ethnic food is prepared. They also buy local treats at the evening markets. For tourists from the European countries they sell chicken kebabs on thin wooden sticks. If you want to dine outside the home, then you can choose these options:
1. Hawkers – small cafes serving the famous national dishes. It is actually a Thai street food. They’re everywhere, because the prices are really affordable for everyone. It may be an ordinary two-wheeled cart with a pot, which cooks some masterpiece of local cuisine, or a cozier place with a canopy and tables. The food is prepared right in front of you, and you will be able to observe the process, which is a definite plus. To eat in such a place can cost 50 baht.
2. Thai food restaurants and cafes. These provide a completely different level of service, as well as prices. It proposes a good Thai food menu. Sometimes the cost might be almost like in Europe, so mainly tourists who are not going to lose any pleasure while on vacation chose such places.
3. A children’s menu. There is no problem with baby food in the “land of smiles”. Any supermarket has juice, puree, porridge and complementary food from a variety of manufacturers for kids. Almost all local restaurants have children’s menus or you can just tell cook not to add hot seasonings in food.
The cost of food in Thailand
It is worth noting that if you compare the cost of domestic supply with prices in hawkers, absolutely no difference where you eat a whole month. During this period you will spend for cooking meals at home in average 10-12 thousand baht. The same amount you will spend for two in a cheap cafe. And given the constant heat and the desire to rest and enjoy more, hawkers might be a real salvation.
Prices in chain stores and supermarkets are not much different from the market. Before going to the market for the fresh fish and fruit, as you think, find out their cost in local stores – it will be almost the same. Some large stores offer pre-made meals, the price is even lower than in hawkers.
Thai recipes: traditional dishes that are definitely worth a try
1. Soup Tom Yam Kung – is the visit card of Thailand, a real taste explosion. This Thai soup is prepared with shrimp, mushrooms, spices and herbs, cooked in coconut milk. This soup is number one in the “must try” list for tasting.
2. Som Tam is the most popular salad with shrimp, peanuts, fish sauce, tomatoes, beans and various spices. The taste is simultaneously sweet, sour and spicy – just indescribable. This one is from the list of Thai fish recipes.
3. Pad Thai is unreal yummy Thai noodle recipe. It is a rice noodle fried with shrimp, green onions, garlic, beans, tofu, and fish sauce.
4. Fried rice is a popular dish among both the locals and tourists. They add to rice chicken, shrimp, eggs, carrots – all at the request of the client.
5. Pla Plu – a small fish stuffed with lemongrass leaves and lime and fried on the grill.
6. Kao Nuug Ma Muang is a Thai dessert made of mango with coconut cream and of course the rice which is very popular in almost every Thai dish.
In general, Thai cuisine is incredibly diverse and can satisfy any gourmet, so every day you can try new Thai dishes and make a gastronomic discovery.