Taste of Thailand Cuisine

About us

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Geographically

Thailand is a diverse country, Thais generally divide it into four distinct regions. The central region is largely delta country, dominated by the Chao Phraya River, and with rich soil. Southern Thailand is peninsula country, with the Andaman Sea on one side and the Gulf of Thailand on the other. The North is cool and mountainous. Northeastern Thailand is a vast plateau and flank by the Mekong River. Each region has its own distinct ethnic peoples, speaking their own dialect, and practicing their own customs. Therefore, when we sit down to a Thai meal, we are experiencing the many different styles and flavours of the country. The curries and seafood of the South; the courtly dishes of the North; the herby, earthy recipes of the Northeast, with their river fish; the sheer inventiveness of the fertile Central region. Add to this the Chinese influence, which has itself been profound, and the contributions from other ethnic peoples, and you have a most wonderful melting pot.

Central Plains

Although the presence of Bangkok in the heart of the Central region has acted like a magnet to draw in regional influences, there are still many local specialties that mark out the food styles here as distinctively Central. The best rice is grown in this region, notably the khao hom mali, or jasmine rice, that is so highly rated as a Thai export. There are three curries typical of the region, namely the familiar green curry (kaeng khieo wan) to which is usually added poultry or fish; a hot curry known as kaeng phet , and a milder version called kaeng phanaeng . All are based on coconut milk. Tom Yam , the famous hot and sour soup, originates from the Central region. There is also a creamy coconut milk soap made with chicken called tom kha kai . Yam, the tangy salads, are a Central invention. Haw mok, little banana leaf cups of a souffl?-like mix made from red curry paste, egg and coconut milk, with seafood added, are a popular snack item. Phat pet is a stirfry with basil and curry paste. Most meals in the Central region will include an omelets of some kind, either a plain one served with a thick sweet chilli sauce, or with oysters added. There is a more substantial omelets filled with ground pork, tomato and onion, called khai yat sai. The Chinese influence is especially strong in the Central region. You will find it in the plain soups that usually include tofu, ground pork and green squash, in the clay pot dishes, and of course in the noodle dishes such as kuay tiaw . Travel a little with in the Central region and you will find some real local specialties. At Nakhon Pathom, to the west of Bangkok, you will find sticky rice and coconut steamed in a length of bamboo. This is known as Khao lam. You will also find it at Nong Mon market in Chon Buri province, near Pattaya, a road side market about a kilometer in length that is also famed for its dried fish. Chanthaburi, close to the Cambodian border, has its own noodles fried with crab meat. A distinctively flavoured leaf, chamuang , grown in the forests here , and is used in curries. There is a chilli paste dip from the coastal areas of the eastern Central region, made from crab egg and yellow chilli. Travel southwest of Bangkok to the town of Phetchaburi and you will find khanom maw kaeng, a baked custard. There are many varieties but they are all based on mung bean, egg and coconut milk. Slightly further south , along the coast , Cha-Am and Hua Hin are renowned for their seafood. Cha-Am has a picturesque harbour where oysters are bought in fresh by the boat load. Kanchanaburi, further west towards Myanmar, has a tremendous variety of curries created by the Mon ethic grouping.

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The North

The South is home to most of Thailand’s Muslims, its largest religious minority. They are mostly concentrated in the provinces adjacent to Malaysia, where Malay is spoken as commonly as Thai. In other southern provinces such as Songkhla and Phuket, Chinese predominate. Southern food reflects all this diversity. The coconut is used to the full, its milk thickening soups and curries, its oil for frying its grated flesh as a condiment. Cashew nuts and pineapple also grown in volume, and from a familiar part of the cuisine. The warm seas produce an abundance of fish, big lobsters, crabs, mussels, squid, prawns and scallops, prepared simply by steaming or frying, or more elaborately by cooking in a clay pot with noodles. Southerners like their food chilli-hot, and are also fond of the bitter taste imparted by a flat, native bean called sataw. A dish very typical of the South is kaeng tai pla, a very hot curry made with fish stomach, green beans, pickled bamboo shoots and potato. Fresh turmeric turns this and many other southern curries a distinctive yellow. There is even a dish that is called simply “yellow curry” (kaeng leuang), made from fish,green squash, pine apple, green beans and green papaya. The Chinese dish of thin rice noodles knowns as khanom chin appears here in a spicy fish curry sauce, serve with cucumber, pineapple , pickled cabbage and other fruits and vegetables. Roti. A round flat wheat bread descended from the Indian breads, is a real southern flavourite, totally assimilated into the local culture. Coffee, grown in the south, is a popular beverage and coffee shops can be found throughout the region. In some parts the coffee will be roasted on the premises with a charcoal-fire boiler, and serve with a range of snacks that can include steamed buns dumplings and a form of doughnut called pa thong ko.

The South

The South is home to most of Thailand’s Muslims, its largest religious minority. They are mostly concentrated in the provinces adjacent to Malaysia, where Malay is spoken as commonly as Thai. In other southern provinces such as Songkhla and Phuket, Chinese predominate. Southern food reflects all this diversity. The coconut is used to the full, its milk thickening soups and curries, its oil for frying its grated flesh as a condiment. Cashew nuts and pineapple also grown in volume, and from a familiar part of the cuisine. The warm seas produce an abundance of fish, big lobsters, crabs, mussels, squid, prawns and scallops, prepared simply by steaming or frying, or more elaborately by cooking in a clay pot with noodles. Southerners like their food chilli-hot, and are also fond of the bitter taste imparted by a flat, native bean called sataw. A dish very typical of the South is kaeng tai pla, a very hot curry made with fish stomach, green beans, pickled bamboo shoots and potato. Fresh turmeric turns this and many other southern curries a distinctive yellow. There is even a dish that is called simply “yellow curry” (kaeng leuang), made from fish,green squash, pine apple, green beans and green papaya. The Chinese dish of thin rice noodles knowns as khanom chin appears here in a spicy fish curry sauce, serve with cucumber, pineapple , pickled cabbage and other fruits and vegetables. Roti. A round flat wheat bread descended from the Indian breads, is a real southern flavourite, totally assimilated into the local culture. Coffee, grown in the south, is a popular beverage and coffee shops can be found throughout the region. In some parts the coffee will be roasted on the premises with a charcoal-fire boiler, and serve with a range of snacks that can include steamed buns dumplings and a form of doughnut called pa thong ko.

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The Northeast

was long regarded as remote from Bangkok and its direct influence. The Lao kingdoms on the other side of the Mekong River held greater sway over the region until the French drew up their Indochine boundaries in the late 19th century, forcing the vast plateau that the Thais call Isan more firmly into the embrace of Bangkok. For food, glutinous rice is preferred to the white variety. Roasting and grilling give a strong savoury flavoury to much of the food , as dose the inclusion of herb and pickled ingredients. Chillies also tend to be used with greater gusto here , to liven up a meal that might otherwise somewhat impoverished in terms of cop. Som tam is an art here. The green papaya is pounded in a mortar with lime juice, garlic , fish sauce and a number of other ingredients. A popular style has a shrimp , cherry tomato and roasted peanuts. Another has pickled field crab and very pungent fish sauce named pla ra. Kai yang or grilled chicken, is another Isan special , the art lying in the prepation of galic, coriander root, black pepper and fish sauce that is rubbed over the chicken before it is cooked slowly over hot charcoal. A variety of dips are served the chicken. Larb is a kind of salad made by tossing minced meat, poultry or fresh water fish with fresh mint leaves, spring onion , lime juice, grounded dried chili , uncooked rice that has been dry roasted to a brown colour . Neua nam tok is art of salad , using larb-like ingredients, with beef that has been charcoal-grilled so the fat run out: the Thai name translates as “waterfall beef”. An Isan meal will include a spicy soup made from lemongrass, galangal, onions ,kaffir lime leaves and chili. There are many variations, with beef tripe and liver, or chicken and tamarind leaves heading up the list of favourites. Peculiar to the region is the giant Mekong catfish name pla beuk can be caught only at a certain time of the year, usually in May , it is stored frozen for the restaurants that specialize in this dish..