Understanding Thai cuisine

There is really no such thing as Thai food. Instead, visitors to Thailand can expect to experience a cuisine which strives for balance and harmony by combining the five fundamental taste sensations; hot, sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Thai food is best understood in relation to the four main regions; northern, northeastern, central and southern. Central dishes (from the plain of the Chao Phraya River) have been influenced over the centuries by visitors from china, Europe, Japan, India, the Middle East and Portugal. Dishes here are usually served with fragrant steamed rice and more recently, noodles.

In the north, Burmese influences have resulted in milder curries and the preference for steamed glutinous rice. Popular dishes include tradition pork curries and spicy local sausages as well as curry broth.

The northeastern region (I-San), influenced by neighbouring Laos, offers highly seasoned dishes utilizing local herbs and spices. Popular dishes include Green Papaya Salad, Spicy minced meat salad or those based on freshwater fish or shrimp.

Fresh seafood is a feature of southern Thai cuisine, with fish, prawns, lobsters, crays, squid and scallops xx. Dried chilies and cashews form the basis of stir-fries and coconut milk is a popular ingredient. Favourites include Yellow curry, Fish Curry and Sa Te, a satay meat with spicy peanut sauce.

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