Thai Food

Thai Food
Thai food is a hybrid, influenced by many
cuisine similar to a creature in Thai
Mythology: the head of an elephant
(strength), the body of a lion (power), and
winds sprouting from 4 legs (ability to fly).
Influences from other cultures
• Chinese: noodles, techniques of wok
cooking (pad Thai-a snack food similar to
sandwich in US)
• Indian: curries (yellow, green, red)
• Spanish and Portuguese: chilies for Thai
• Greeting: Khin Khao Roue Yung (have
your eaten yet)?
General eating cultural
Thai-Thai: freedom in eating anywhere anytime
Thai eat together with family and friends; eat alone is
considered bad luck.
Most home-cooked meal are combination of new and
leftover dishes, because a house cook always make extra
food for unexpected guests or for a second serving and they
do not want waste any food.
Children are told to eat leftover first or to pets or pigs, never
waste rice
Appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, and deserts are
served at the same time and can be eaten in any order,
except deserts.
A meal consists of several dishes with combination of
flavors: sweet, hot, sour, and salty (2-3 types of meat)
A typical comb: sharp-flavored salad and plenty of fresh
vegetables. A soup, including curry dishes; a stir-fry of meat
and vegetables; a meat dish such as deep-fried fish or fried
chicken; a basic sauce or chili dip with a dies dish of
vegetable; dessert is a sweet base of coconut or a variety of
Sometimes, one dish meal for convenience: noodle soup,
fried rice, or curry and rice with an accompaniment of
vegetable, sauces, or condiments
Chilies in vinegar (Prik Nam Som) is important for
noodle soup
Fresh chilies in fish sauce (Nam Pla Prik) for fried
Crushed dried chilies (prik Poan) for extra heat
Palm sugar for sweet, lime and tamarind for sour,
chilies for hot, fish sauce for salty
Herbs and spices that grow in tropical climate: 3
kinds of basils (Thai sweet basil-Anise or licorice
flavor for coconut curries or vegetable, lemon
basil-nippy peppery and lemon flavor for soup
and salad, holy basil-mint-like zesty, and very
spicy flavor for stir fry); cardamon; chili-smaller
and hotter; Thai chilies (bird-eye chilies); Prik
Chee Fa (a little milder); Serrano (mild multipurpose chili); chives; Turmeric; Yanang leaves
(use in bamboo shoot salad, to count-act the
bitter taste of other veg.)
Diversity in vegetables and fruits
Many variety of eggplants: (3 most common
ones are)
Ma-kheua Pro: golf-ball size, light green. (in
red or green curry or fresh with a chili dip)
Ma-Kheua Puang: small marbles size in
clusters with bright green color
Ma-Kheua Yao: long green fruit, stir-fry or
Many mushrooms
Straw mushroom; oyster mushroom; shiitake
mushroom; mouse’s-ear mushroom or wood
ear mushroom (crunchy texture)
30 varieties of banana; 70 different kinds of
mango (green ones for salad)
Geographical Features
Thai is divided into four distinct
regions: North, Northeast, Central,
and South.
Each has its own unique character,
climate, language, personality,
and cuisine.
Climate: subtropical with long hours
of sunshine and high humidity.
Three seasons: hot-march to
June, Rainy-July to Oct, Cool-Nov
to Feb. Low 20˚C, high 37˚C.
The climate is suitable for the
cultivation of a wide range of
tropical and semi-tropical
agricultural crops
Land: arable land 34%, permanent
crop 6%, permanent pastures 2%,
forests and woodland 26%, others
Northern region
Mountains, forests, and fertile valleys. Bordered
by Myanmar and Laos, Lower extremities of
Himalayan foothills-forest mountains, and fertile
river valleys, encompasses part of the fabled
Golden Triangle.
Pleasant cool climate; 4 sister rivers (the Ping, the
Wung, the Yom, and the Nan) flow into the Chao
Praya river in Central Thai
“mellow” people. They seldom had to face
economic hardship; crafts, architecture, language,
cuisine, and conduct are the highlight of Thai
Cuisine is influenced by Myanmar and Lao (curry
dish by Brumese, sticky rice by Laotian)
A chili dip or sauce accompanied by fresh or
cooked vegetables; mild minced pork with tomato
and spice mixture to fiery dried chili with spices
and shrimp paste; Longan fruit in rice pudding,
syrup, beverages
Northern region (continue)
Traditional feast called Khuri Tokedinner for important guests or
2-foot-tall round table with upward
rim with northern delicacies: a
curry fish, vegetable soup,
chicken salad, pork rinds
sausages, rice puff, fresh
vegetables and Nam Ton
Bamboo container with sticky rice,
bowl of water for rinsing hands,
hand-rolled local cigarettes,
northern classical dances and
Northeastern Region
A high semi-arid plateau used mainly for cattle and
growing crops such as rice and maize. Poorest
region due to drought
Small lunch box: creative eating making use of
most of resources of sticky rice (heavier to
Soup: one or two dominant flavors from local herbs
and spices, in clear broth (no coconut milk, too
luxuary), simple dishes, easy to prepare
Papaya salad with fish sauce, lime juice and herbs
Produces most of the preserved products in meats
and vegetables, example: raw salt fermented
fish, dried and salt-cured beef, and bamboo
shoots in brine (prepared for drought or flood)
Local delicacies to survive extreme environment:
deep-fried silkworms, grilled lizards, crickets,
and red ants salad.
• Traditional dinner are
similar to the north
• Pork salad, bamboo
shoot soup, sour fish,
salted beef, Tumsom
(papaya salad), BBQ
chicken, Jaew dip,
sweetened puffed rice,
sticky rice in bamboo
container, water for
hand rinsing
Central region
• Flat and fertile due to the large Chao
Praya river.
• Main rice growing of Thailand with
complex irrigation network. Yearround crop growing “Venice of the
east”, large cities with all kinds of
people from different background
• Elaborate, sophisticated and
contemporary food (Royal food with
a touch of sweetness).
• Abundant seafood. Produces best
fish sauce and shrimp paste
• Sweet tangerine and mango
• Food kept on changing to follow
trend and new taste, utilize new
ingredient from outside.
Southern Region
• Hilly and mountainous,
covered mainly by
rainforests. Stretch Gulf of
Thailand to Indian Ocean.
Cashew nuts abundant,
coconut, pineapples are
• Great religion diversity
• Cuisine has Malaysia
• Grilled fish, Prawn skewers,
yellow soup, fish tripe soup
• Some local food are
modified to western palate.
Sticky bean dish with shrimp