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THAI FOOD AND THAI CUISINE

 

Thai food has become one of the most popular cuisines in the world. If you enjoy it in your home country, you will love it in Bangkok. Eating is a favourite pastime in this city and you can do it everywhere. You may enjoy sitting on a rickety stool on a street footpath watching the passing throng as you eat a bowl of noodles almost as much as sitting in a fine-dining restaurant.

Thai food does not have to be full of chillies. In fact some of the dishes many foreigners most enjoy are those where the subtle flavours of the herbs and spices slowly fill the mouth. The distinctive taste comes from a handful of fundamental ingredients: fresh coriander, basil, mint, lemon grass, garlic, chills, pepper, shallots, coconut milk, shrimp paste, fish sauce, Kaffir lime leaves, and dried spices.

A Thai meal offers a combination of flavours: sweet, hot, sour, salty, and sometimes bitter. Usually, in addition to the obligatory bowl of rice, there will be a variety of dishes including a soup, a curry, a steamed dish, a fried one and salad, and one or two sauces.
At restaurants, it is best to get a selection of dishes and share them between everyone. This way you get more choice and you will never be stuck with a meal that did not turn out to be what you expected.

Many visitors only sample Thai cuisine at hotel restaurants. Although many hotels have excellent Thai restaurants, the food is too often designed primarily for foreigners and lacks the spark and excitement found in some of the city’s independent restaurants that are frequented primarily by Thais. It is no surprise that you can find Thai food everywhere in Bangkok on the streets, in food courts, in department stores, in hotels, in small restaurants and glittering food palaces.

Thai cuisine acts as an envoy to publicize Thai culture and the good image of the country. Thai food is diverse in taste and preparation. It uses herbs which benefit health. Moreover, Thai food features exquisite food decoration that makes food eye-catching as well as appetizing. Each region has its own unique identity, as follows:


THAI FOOD OF EACH REGION

 

The Northern Thailand food


The predominant flavors are salty and spicy, with a mild sour taste and not sweet. Northern food is eaten by rolling sticky rice into a ball then dipping it is food that is dry and sticky. It is eaten with boiled or steamed vegetables. Popular dishes include Nam Phrik Num, Nam Phrik Ong, Sai Ua, Kaeng Hangle, and kaeng Khae.


 

The Northeastern Thai food


The food here is spicy and has little liquid. Many dishes have Pla Ra, or fermented fish. The food is a mixture of salty, spicy and sour, called Saep (delicious) by the locals. It is usually eaten with sticky rice and fresh vegetables. Well-known dishes are Lap, Nam Tok, Som Tam, and Soup No Mai.


 

The Central Region Thai food


The food of this region encompasses all flavors (sour, sweet, salty and spicy). Central region people have steamed rice as the staple diet and like to consume a variety of shrimp paste, chili sauces like Nam Phrik Pla Thu and Nam Phrik Long Rua which is a dipping for many vegetables. In addition, there are numerous soups such as Kaeng Pa, Kaeng Khiao Wan and Kaeng Som. Boiled dishes include Tom Yam and Tom Khlong. One of the most popular dressed salads is Yam Pla Duk Fu. The region is also noteworthy for its stir-fried dishes and simmered sauces. To top things off, there are hundreds of sweets like Bua Loi, Lot Chong Nam Kathi, Thong Yip, Thong Yot, Thong Ek, etc.


 

The Southern Thai food

 

Southern food is mainly very spicy and aromatic with herbs. Due to its hot and humid climate, people often catch a cold or become sick. A good way to maintain good health is to consume spicy food to keep the body warm and fend off illness. Much of the cuisine is spicy, salty and sour. Favourite dishes are Kaeng Phung Pla, Kaeng Som, Khamnom Chin Nam Ya Pak Tai, and Khao Yam. Indigenous vegetables used in cooking are Sato pods, Krathin tips (an Acacia plant), betel leaves, Luk Niang, Luk Riang, cashew nuts, etc.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL FOOD


Chinese food in Thailand is second to none. Indian, European, Mediterranean and other Asian cuisines are plentiful in major cities. American and Continental breakfasts are served in most hotels and coffee shops. Western-style fast food, snack shops and ice-cream parlors are fast gaining popularity.

 

 

TABLE ETIQUETTE

 

Dining is, above all else, the most important social event in Thai life. Using the correct utensils (a fork and a spoon) and proper eating gestures will garner much respect from Thais. The fork is used to push small amounts of food onto the spoon. The spoon is the only instrument to enter your mouth. To Thais, using a fork to put food into one’s mouth is as uncouth as using a knife in Western countries to put food into the mouth. Noodles are eaten with chopsticks.

Normally, several food platters and a large bowl of rice are set on the table. When serving oneself, put on more than one or two spoonfuls on the plate at a time. Never fill the plate at one time as in Western countries. It is customary at the start of a meal to have a spoonful of plain rice first. If Thais are hosting, they will undoubtedly encourage guests to eat more of the non-rice dishes as a gesture of their hospitality. When eating with Thais, always try to finish the food on one’s plate. This will please the host, communicating the message that the food was delicious.

 

 
 
 

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