If you want to live in Thailand, aside from embracing their culture, you also need to become familiar with the local foods they serve. Well, it’s not really difficult to love the foods in Thailand because the country is famous for its mouthwatering cuisine. The foods here are usually lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. According to some chefs, Thai foods demonstrate intricacy, attention to detail, texture, color, taste, and as well as the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits.
Thai cuisine can be described more accurately as five regional cuisines which correspond to the five main regions of Thailand.
The foods in Bangkok has Teochew and Portuguese influences. And since it is the capital city of Thailand, its cuisine is sometimes influenced by more dedicated royal cuisine. However, the tastes and looks of foods in Bangkok have changed over time as they have been influenced by other cuisines such as European, Asian, and Western countries.
Central Thai Cuisine
Central Thai is known for the flat and wet central rice-growing plains. It is the site of the former Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, as well as the Dvaravati culture of the Mon people before the Siamese arrived in the area. One of the major ingredients used in Central Thai cuisine is coconut milk.
Isan or Northeastern Thai Cuisine
The culture in Isan is similar to Laos and its foods are influenced by Khmer cuisine. The most popular ingredient here is Pla ra or fermented fish.
Northern Thai Cuisine
Northern Thai has the cooler valleys and forested mountains of the Thai highlands. It was once ruled by the former Lanna Kingdom. This cuisine also shared a lot of ingredients with Isan.
Southern Thai Cuisine
This is the cuisine of the Kra Isthmus which is bordered on two sides by tropical seas. The foods here are based on Hainanese and Cantonese influence.
Thai Cuisine Serving
Foods in Thailand were traditionally eaten with the hand while seated on mats or carpets on the floor or coffee table in upper middle class family. These customs are still found in the more traditional households. However, in the present time, most Thais eat using fork and spoon. Tables and chairs are also introduced as part of a broader Westernization drive during the reign of King Mongkut, Rama IV. The use of fork and spoon, on the other hand, was introduced by King Chulalongkom when he returned from a Europe tour in 1897 CE.
In Thai dining, the practice of khluk is important. It is the mixing of flavors and textures of different dishes with the rice from one’s plate. When eating, the food is pushed using the fork on left hand into the spoon on the right hand and then brought to the mouth. For soups, a traditional ceramic spoon is sometimes used. They do not usually use knives at the table.
Meals in Thailand usually consists of rice or what they call khao in Thai. It comes with many complementary dishes that are shared by all. These dishes are served at the same time including the soups. It is also customary in Thailand to provide more dished than there are guests at a table. A traditional Thai meal would have at least five elements which are the dip or relish for raw or cooked veggies, a clear soup, a curry or stew, a stir fried dish of meat, fish, seafood, or vegetables, and a deep-fried dish.
When you eat in restaurants in Thailand, you will have access to a selection of Thai sauces or nam chim and as well as condiments. They are either brought to the table by waiters or they are already present at the table in small containers. Some of these sauces can be dried chili flakes, sweet chili sauce, sliced chili peppers in rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, and sugar.
The Best Thai Dishes
Thai food is probably one of the best reasons why a lot of people love to live in Thailand. It’s because you will be able to get tasty, freshly cooked food almost anywhere here. In fact, most Thai people eat out all the time. This means that anywhere you go in Thailand, there is always somewhere to eat within a few minutes’ walk. If you’re curious about the dishes that you will be eating when you live in Thailand, then we are giving you a list of the best Thai dishes.
Tom Yum Goong
This is an iconic bowl of spicy shrimp soup. It is aromatic and comes with a fairly strong spicy kick. It is made with typical Thai ingredients such as chili, lemon grass, shallots, fresh lime juice, lemongrass, kaffier lime leaves, and lots of fish sauce. It is also added with mushrooms and fresh prawns, and as well as coconut cream if you want to try its creamy version.
Tom Kha Gai
This is a chicken in coconut soup. It is related to tom yum and it offers people with a lower tolerance to spice an opportunity to taste the same flavors. It is a unique kind of soup and comes with lots of creamy coconut milk which creates a rich sweet soup.
This is a noodle soup and it is one of the most popular Thai dishes that you can find almost anywhere in the country. It is a type of noodle soup that can be made with chicken, pork, or beef, and as well as either rice noodles or egg noodles. Wontons or meatballs can also be added to the broth. It is topped with condiments such as lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, and dried chili peppers.
This dish is a spicy green papaya salad. It hails from Isan in Northeastern Thailand and also one of the most popular dishes in the country. It consists of shredded green papaya, carrots, peanuts, tomatoes, palm sugar, dried shrimp, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, lots of chilies, and garlic. These ingredients are mixed together using a mortar and pestle to amplify the flavors.
Pad Thai is a Thai style fried noodles and it is one of Thailand’s national dishes. It is a go-to for people who are starting to explore Thai cuisine. This fried noodle dish is usually made with shrimp or chicken but there’s a vegetarian option as well. You can find Pad Thai on almost any street corner in Thailand and it is a cheap but very tasty meal.
Pad Phuk Ton
If you are looking for a vegetarian-friendly dish in Thailand, then this is probably one of the best you can try. This dish is a stir-fried pumpkin. You can order it with a plate of brown rice if available.
This is the fried rice of Thailand and it is a Thai go-to. It contains some egg and onion. It also usually comes with cucumber slices to garnish and as well as lots of condiments to suit your taste.
This is a Thai curry which is a little milder compared to other curry counterparts in Thailand. That is why it is a popular dish among foreigners and tourists in Thailand who remain in the spicy “safe zone”. This curry is usually served with shrimp but there are vegetarian options as well.
Kai Med Ma Muang
This is a chicken with cashew nuts dish. It is loved by locals and by foreigners as well. It is a sweet and flavorful dish that is made with stir-fried chicken, cashew nuts, honey, soy sauce, chilies, onions, mushrooms, pepper, and other vegetables that the chef has on hand. It is a simple dish but very tasty.
Kao Niew Ma Muang
If you are looking for dessert, the Kao Niew Ma Muang is definitely a must-try in Thailand. It is a mango and sticky rice dessert that is an all-time crowd pleaser. It is made with sticky rice, fresh mango slices, and sweet condensed milk. It is a simple dessert but very delicious.
These are just some of the best Thai dishes that you will be able to taste when you go to or decide to live in Thailand. It is not difficult to get used to these local dishes because they are all really good. If you want to know more about Thailand aside from the delicious foods they offer, you can also check out our post on Understanding the Thai Culture for more information.