Thai food offers a variety of delicious flavors, extraordinary tastes and beautiful decorated and colored dishes. The mix of fresh herbs and spices combined with market fresh ingredients gives Thai food its special and unique flavor.
This mixture of perfectly balanced ingredients became Thailand’s trademark and is famous and loved all over the world.
Rice, rice, rice
No typical Thai dish is served without rice. It is the staple food of Thai cuisine and is an integral part of its culture as pasta for Italy.
There are two types of rice – steamed (khao suay) and glutinous (khao neaw) – which are accompanied by a variety of dishes that can be eaten in almost any order.
Rice and food is so important to Thai culture that it even has influenced its language. The word to eat in Thai is translated as kin khao which literally means to eat rice.
Also, if you meet Thai people they surely will ask you kin khao yang which means “have you eaten (rice) yet”, but also can be referred as “how are you”.
Thai food by region
Each region in Thailand has their special characteristics when it comes to food as many dishes have been influenced by their neighboring countries.
Food In central Bangkok
In Bangkok and central Thailand, food is served in all kinds of flavors: hot, salty, sweet and sour, mostly eaten with steamed rice accompanied with different types of nam phrik (chili sauce/paste), soups or fried dishes. In most cases they are spicy and aromatic.
It is also from this region where the so-called Royal Cuisine has originated – the art of serving beautiful decorated dishes with all kind of organic components.
It is the typical image of Thai food which can be seen on TV or in books.
Northern Thai food
In the North, food remains very cultural and traditional.
Rather than eating plain rice with forks and spoons, it is preferred serving meals with steamed glutinous rice that can be formed into small balls with the fingers and dipped into the accompanying dishes, such as boiled vegetables, nam phrik ong (a spicy sauce with minced pork, tomatoes and chilies), soups or curries.
Generally, northern food is mild or hot, salty and sour, but never sweet; and a lot of ingredients are used which grow around the area, such as bamboo.
A well-known regional specialty is a spicy sausage called naem. It is made of fermented minced pork and has a sour flavor.
Food in the northeast – issan style
Food in the northeast, also referred to as isaan, is one of the most loved among Thais and farangs (foreigners).
Same as in the north, food is mostly eaten with sticky rice and a lot of ingredients are used that grow in the wild.
It is hot, salty and sour and offers many famous dishes such as laab, made with spicy minced chicken or pork, gai yang (barbecued chicken) and of course som tam, the famous spicy papaya salad which is a must-try when visiting the land of smile.
Northeastern food has become very popular among Thais that it is eaten everywhere throughout the country and offered in most Thais restaurants
Thai food in the South
Southern food is influenced a lot by its surroundings. With the sea lying right next to most regions and palm trees growing everywhere, the food has got a touch of both.
The coconut is one of the most important ingredients as its milk, oil and meat give a lot of flavor to many dishes.
Fresh seafood such as fish, prawns, crabs, squids and lobsters are also main ingredients for many dishes, which mostly have a hot, spicy and sour taste.
However, there is one unique Thai dish called nam phrik, a chili sauce or paste, where each region has it own special versions. It is usually served with vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers and long-yard beans.
Most Thai people eat it by dipping the vegetables into the sauce or eat it with steamed or glutinous rice.