Thai cuisine is popular all over the world due to unusual combinations of products and bright tastes. Local chefs use a variety of spices, herbs and dressings in order to spice the dishes. Europeans on arrival in Thailand note the unusual spiciness of food, so in restaurants you can hear a request not to add too much sauce to the order. Most Thai food is prepared from rice, noodles, seafood, chicken, vegetables and fruits.
Thai cuisine is popular due to its vibrant flavours.
Specifics of Thai cuisine
The variety of national dishes is due to the absence of dietary restrictions. In Thailand, the majority of the population professes Buddhism, and in this religion there are no prohibitions in food. Buddhists can eat anything based only on their taste.
Thais eat fish, seafood, combine meat with vegetables, fruits. Most tourists have heard about the love of the locals to cook insects and their larvae, worms, which in the view of Europeans can not be edible and appetizing.
All this is due only to the interest in new tastes. Thai cuisine and its dishes are considered medicinal, since fresh herbs and spices are used for cooking, which have healing properties.
Principles of preparation
In Thailand, there are no rules for combining foods or spices. Variations of one recipe can be many only due to the fact that chefs will use different seasonings, cereals, sauces. Locals focus primarily on the taste of the dish, and not on the exact proportions of ingredients.
Methods of heat treatment
Often food is steamed, open fire, baked on the grill or in the oven. The basis of the national cuisine is soups: the ingredients are put in a pan, boiled or stewed in broth, sometimes with the addition of coconut milk. Meat, fish, noodles, rice and many other products are stewed in a frying pan with spices, fried in oil until ready.
Very often food is steamed.
All national food is decorated with carved figurines from vegetables and fruits.
Vegetable salads are carefully laid out, meat dishes are served with slices of greens, berries, nuts or dried fruits.
The main features of food in Thailand
In different parts of the country, food is prepared differently. The process and recipe depend only on the chef and his personal professional knowledge, skills. Salty, sour, sweet and bitter tastes can be combined in one dish, because lemon juice, bitter cucumber, fish sauce and sugar are often used during cooking.
Almost any dish in Thailand is prepared with the addition of rice. This cereal is the basis of the diet, is used to prepare hot, soups and is even part of many desserts. In Asian countries, rice is considered one of the main products, so there are many ways and technologies for its preparation.
Dishes in Thailand are prepared with the addition of rice.
Thailand is no exception – there are rules for heat treatment and use of this cereal:
- Thais stew, boil rice or fry.
- During cooking, water is never salted. This is done only after the completion of the process, and most often soy sauce is added instead of salt.
- Sticky rice Thais steam in a dish of bamboo. Alternatively, you can use a steamer.
- If the cereal needs to be boiled, it is pre-soaked in water for several hours.
Another main course, along with rice. Rice, egg, buckwheat noodles are widely used, which are quickly cooked. It should be poured with hot water for 5 minutes and then add spices to taste. Popular recipes, which include funchosa – “glass” transparent vermicelli from green beans with the addition of starch. It can be found in soups, spring rolls and salads.
Thai noodles are not only boiled, but also fried with the addition of meat, seafood, eggs or vegetables. Such a dish is served with gravy, but it can be eaten without dressing.
Seafood & Fish
Thanks to its proximity to the sea, this country boasts a wide variety of fish and seafood on the menu:
- Shrimp dishes are popular in Thailand. They are grilled or added to noodles or rice.
- Rings are prepared from squid or carcasses are baked on the grill. Squid meat is often added to soups or salads.
- On the basis of fish, broths are boiled, sauces are made. Local chefs fry the fish whole or steam it, having previously stuffed it with herbs, vegetables and spices.
- Local octopuses are marinated, fried on an open fire. Used with rice or noodles, served with garlic sauce.
- Crabs are eaten whole with soy or any other sauce or added to salads.
- Oysters are served as a delicacy. Usually they are eaten raw with the addition of lemon juice.
Thailand has a wide variety of fish.
Foreigners are happy to eat sea delicacies, their usual fish (sea bass, mackerel, perch) and dishes from it.
The idea that insects can be eaten is strange for foreigners and raises many questions. However, ready-made insect meals can be bought in street tents with food. Fried grasshoppers, silkworm larvae are sold on the streets of Thailand directly from the trays.
There are many dishes with insects in Thailand, and they all differ in the methods of preparation and serving. For example, crickets can serve as a filling for buns or even become a dessert in chocolate. Thais note that in some beetles there are more useful trace elements and protein than in the same chicken meat. They are nutritious, so saturation from food comes quickly and lasts for a long time. At the same time, in terms of caloric content, insects are in no way inferior to fried fish or baked meat.
As a snack, Thais popular fried in oil bamboo worms. They can traditionally start a family dinner. To taste, the dish resembles popcorn. Insects can also be the main dish. For example, ants are fried in a frying pan with oil, sprinkled with spices and salt, mixed with rice and vegetables. Then the plate is necessarily decorated with fresh herbs.
Traditional dishes – what to try
Thai cuisine is a “combination of the incongruous.” It is notable for its exotic tastes and unusual presentation of dishes.
Tom Yam is recognized as the most delicious Thai national soup. Recipes for its preparation have accumulated a large number, but the main ingredients are still shrimp stewed in coconut milk with garlic, lime and mushrooms.
Tom Yam is a popular spicy Thai soup.
Tom yam is cooked in fish broth, an alternative option is chicken broth. Every chef has an author’s recipe for cooking this soup. Some add ginger, tomatoes, others lemongrass and lemon. This Thai dish is considered spicy, so it is served together with balls of boiled rice.
A salad that Thais prepare for family dinners or holidays. It is made from cashew nuts, shrimp, string beans, tomatoes and spices. As an alternative, instead of shrimp, crab meat is sometimes put in the salad. The dressing consists of fish sauce and lemon juice.
The peculiarity of cooking is the preparation of ingredients: the products are not cut into pieces. They are mixed in a roomy dish and then pushed in a mortar.
Thanks to this, the salad is soft. Catfish are prepared there based on the calculation that it will be immediately eaten, because the products that make up the composition quickly deteriorate.
Rice noodles are a dish whose taste is appreciated even by tourists. First, the noodles are fried, then seafood, nuts, bean sprouts, garlic, green onions, fish sauce, lime juice and pepper are added. The mixture is poured with beaten eggs and cooked until it becomes a thick consistency. The finished noodles are seasoned with lime or lemon juice, sprinkled with peanuts.
Pad Thai is a classic dish of Thai cuisine.
There is another option – add hot red pepper, a spoonful of sugar and a little vinegar. This seasoning kit comes complete with pad tai noodles.
Yam Woon Sen
Glass noodle salad with shrimps. For cooking, you can use both dried and fresh seafood. An alternative recipe is to put minced meat instead of seafood or make yam wun sen vegetarian.
The main thing in the salad is the right dressing. Thais use fish sauce with lemon juice and fried garlic. The noodles are mixed with shrimp, dressing, decorated with nuts, green onions and cilantro on top.
For massaman curry, a large set of spices is used: cumin, cloves, cardamom, various mixtures, but the dish itself can not be called spicy, rather it is spicy. The basis of the curry sauce is coconut milk, which is mixed with peanuts, cinnamon, curry paste, nutmeg, cloves. Then in this mass meat is stewed – chicken or beef. The traditional way of serving is to use potatoes with coconut oil as a side dish.
Massaman curry looks like a thick rich stew.
An easy-to-follow recipe for fried rice. You can try the dish in any Thai institution. To begin with, the cereals are boiled, after which they are fried with onions, garlic and pepper, mixing with spices. Then pieces of seafood or poultry meat are added to the rice. Sometimes they put fruits – most often pineapple.
Usually, khau phat is not filled with anything, but be sure to put a piece of lime in the plate. In some recipes, it is allowed to add eggs.
Kung Som Pak Ruam
This is a soup that combines sweet, sour, spicy flavors. It is prepared with the addition of carrots, cabbage, beans in meat broth, seasoned with greens and hot peppers.
Kung som pak ruam is a light vegetable soup.
A spicy dish that is traditionally decorated with fresh lime and finely chopped lemongrass leaves. Panang Gai is made from chicken. The meat is fried in a spicy paste of red curry, then poured with coconut milk (or cream), which makes the bird juicy and soft.
This is a dish that is best tried in a restaurant. Jim Jam is a nutritious, rich meat broth in a clay pot standing on hot coals. Waiters to the soup bring slices of greens and vegetables, pieces of pork and liver, beaten eggs, ready-made glass noodles with basil. Vegetables along with meat are thrown into the broth, where they are stewed until completely ready.
Jim Jam is a nutritious, rich broth.
The dish is fried fish stuffed with lemongrass. Before frying on the coals, the carcass is sprinkled with a large amount of salt.
Yam pla duk fu
Traditional Thai dish, the basis of which is fried in oil, breadcrumbs or catfish flour. As an addition to the fish, a sauce of mango, lime, red onion, cilantro, shrimp, squid, sugar, nut sauce and vinegar is served.
Yam pla duk fu is deep-fried catfish meat.
Street Food in Thailand
Street food in Thailand is represented by a wide range of national dishes and is in demand among both the local population and tourists. Points of sale are in the open air. Dishes are prepared in a short period of time, are inexpensive, they can be saturated.
Places where you can buy food:
- Makashnitsa are small mobile trolleys equipped with a kitchen, stove or grill, a showcase with food and a cash register area. Similar points can be seen along the crowded streets of Thailand. Usually, 1 person works in such a stall, combining the functions of a cook and a waiter in his activities. In this place you can buy a hearty lunch, consisting of appetizers, hot, dessert and drink.
- Food markets. Sellers have whole stalls on which the choice of ready-made dishes is great: spring rolls with different fillings, noodles, fried rice, shrimp and crabs in batter, dried fish and meat, pies with sweet filling, cakes with cream, mango and pineapple shakes.
- Stalls with fruits. It mainly sells fruit smoothies, juices, cuts.
Tourists are impressed by Thai desserts.
They consist of coconuts, rice, cream, nuts and fruits:
- Roti is a Thai pancake. Prepared from a liquid dough, which the cook rolls out to a thin cake. The buyer himself chooses the filling – it can be chocolate, sugar, eggs or meat.
- Sweet rice balls with coconut milk, pumpkin, dried fruit filling and bananas. This dessert is sprinkled with large amounts of cane sugar and coconut chips, sold in stalls with street food in containers or on wooden sticks.
- Coconut ice cream. The basis of the recipe is ordinary ice cream, which is diluted with coconut milk, jelly from fruits, sweet rice. This dessert is served in a peeled coconut shell with pulp.
- Desserts made of durian, famous for its pungent smell. They are especially popular among gourmets and tourists. From this fruit make ice cream, sweets or eat fruits in raw form.
Drinks in Thailand
Thailand is a country with a hot climate, and for a comfortable stay in it it is necessary to consume a lot of fluids. Mostly locals and visitors drink still water, juices, fruit smoothies or mixes, refreshing green tea and cold bottled coffee. In street stalls with food, they buy milkshakes with ice cream or ice. In these drinks, at the request of the client, fillers can be added: syrups with different flavors, caramel or chocolate.
Thais use rice not only as food. This cereal is the basis for the production of alcoholic beverages. The most popular wine is sato – it tastes like champagne, because it contains a large amount of carbon dioxide. Sato is drunk on weekends, holidays, at various events or corporate events.
Tourists often try Thai moonshine lao khao, which is made from sugar cane, sugar palm juice and rice gluten. Locals order it in cafes and bars or insist on their own.
The world has recognized Thailand as a country with exotic cuisine with a lot of unusual flavor combinations. Each cook himself manages the amount of spices and salt when cooking, so the recipes are inaccurate. The secret of a delicious dish, according to local residents, is to maintain a balance between sour, bitter, salty, spicy and sweet tastes.
Thais strive to preserve the freshness of products, so they cook exactly as much as they can eat. Another national feature of cuisine is the speed of cooking. It is believed that the faster the products are prepared, the tastier the dish turns out.
When tourists go to Thailand, food for them is one way to understand the culture of another country. Subsequently, many literally fall in love with her. This is confirmed by the fact that Thai cuisine is popular in different parts of the globe.