Plenty of 'seasoning' ingredients such as garlic, onions,
galanga root, ginger, basil, tamarind juice, lemon grass,
mint, chillies and lime go into the making of Thai cuisine.
Fish sauce (naam plaa) or shrimp sauce
(ka-pi) is used to flavour food accordingly.
Rice forms the staple of most Thai meals, and this is
eaten with one or two curries, seafood/pork, soup, and
vegetables (usually salad).
Red and green chillies are always discreetly mixed into
the food, which can take the uninitiated by surprise
and food can range from the mild to fiery hot. The hottest
of the lot is the yellow-orange phrik lueng and also
phrik khi nu while the others such as phrik yuak and
phrik chi fa are pretty mild.
The infamous tom yam soup is strongly flavoured with
lime and lemon grass. The soup is normally prawn-based
with shallots, chillies, coriander leaves and either
seafood or poultry, and is served ala steamboat-style
ensuring it is kept hot during the meal.
Green curry is chicken or beef curry which is green
in colour (derived from the coriander leaves) and cooked
in rich coconut milk.
A very popular dish which usually accompanies most meals
is som tam, a salad made with grated unripe papaya,
sliced tomatoes, garlic, chilies, dried shrimps, fish
sauce and lemon juice.
Many Thai desserts feature the humble banana in different
ways of preparation as over 20 varieties are to be found
in Thailand all-year-round: kluay cap (banana fried
in sugar and salt), kluay buat chii (in coconut milk),
kluay ping (soaked in syrup and grilled), kluay khaek
(Indian-style) and so on.
Coconut in various forms are also popular, eg. sangkha-yaa
ma-phrao (coconut custard) and ta-koh (Thai
jelly with coconut cream). Coconut milk is used liberally
in many dishes.
In the drinks department, Singh, Amarit and Kloster
beers are brewed in Thailand with Singha being the most
common. Maekhong rice whisky is also a favourite among
the locals. Other whiskies are Singharaj and VO Royal
Thai. Sang Thip is rum made from sugar cane.
This curry is made out of coconut milk with sliced bamboo
shoots, green peppers, string beans and zucchini.Best
eaten with rice or noodles.
Coconut Custard in a Pumpkin Shell
Sweet custard is a popular afternoon tea snack in Thailand.
It is made with coconut milk and steamed in a small
pumpkin or Japanese kabocha squash. Before serving,
the dessert is cut into wedges and the creamy squash
and custard are eaten together.
Crab, Shrimp and Bean Thread Noodle Claypot
This fragrant dish is a popular offering in the seafood
market cafes and garden restaurants of Thailand. Once
the dish is cooked, the pot is carried straight from
the burner to the table sizzling hot, with the savory
aromas escaping from under the lid. If a claypot is
unavailable, any heavy-bottomed pot may be used.
Fish Cakes with Pickled Cucumber Relish
Asian fish cakes tend to have a spongy texture that
appeals to the Asian palate.They are traditionally made
with a mild whitefish, although salmon makes a delicious
substitute. Fresh fish paste, ground daily, can be found
at better Asian fish markets; or make your own by grinding
fish fillets in a food processor at home.
Mangoes with Sticky Rice
If you cannot find good-quality mangoes for this dish,
nectarines, papayas or peaches can be substituted. This
recipe uses sticky rice, which is also known as glutinous
Although the concept of satay, cooking meats on skewers,
originated in Indonesia, it has been enthusiastically
adopted by nearly every Southeast Asian cuisine and
fashioned to suit the local taste and palate. This satay
is a favorite Thai recipe.
Red Curry Mussels over Noodles
In Thailand, dishes like this one are commonly ordered
in open-air seafood markets, where local vendors cook
customers' just-purchased seafood and vegetables in
whatever style they request. At home, with premade curry
paste on hand, this dish will take only about 10 minutes