Planning a culinary journey in Thailand is a daunting task as there is a wonderful array of culinary traditions to sample. Thai cuisine encompasses four different regions, each with its own distinct characteristics.
Thai food is marked by a mélange of spices and herbs, creating a refreshing aroma that would definitely whet one’s appetite. The Asian staple, a bowl of rice, is also inevitably present to complement the different textures and tastes of the dishes, which are all served at the same time.
Be careful, though – Thai cuisine is generally fiery hot. However, most restaurants take requests from customers to tone down the spicy flavor.
A steaming bowl of tom yam soup has an amazing rejuvenating effect. One sip of the rich coconut milk-based concoction unleashes an explosion of hot and sour flavors with citrus overtones.
Without a doubt, tom yam goong is the most popular of all Thai soups. The ingredients consist of kaffir lime leaves, coriander, lemon grass, chili, lime juice, fish sauce, and mushrooms. The classic tom yam soup has shrimps or chicken as meat. It reportedly has therapeutic effects, thanks to the citrus-based elements.
Every Asian country takes pride in its noodle dishes. Thailand has its own star dish, the pad thai – stir-fried noodles that combine plentiful treats. It has the typical Thai ingredients such as fish sauce, tamarind juice, lime, and chili; but it’s peanuts that give pad thai its signature taste.
Whether from a fancy hotel restaurant or a simple streetside stall, eating this favorite Thai noodle specialty can be quite gratifying. The lime wedges served on the side are meant to be squeezed on top of the freshly cooked pad thai to elevate the dining experience to another gustatory level.
Curry entrees come in various types. These dishes are coconut milk–based and are spiced up for another fiery dining experience. You might come across gaeng massaman, which is a mild curry with peanut and potato. Thai green curry, or gaeng kiaw wan, is thicker, and the spiciness can be a bit too much for the uninitiated. Prepare your palates for gaeng daeng (red curry) and gaeng pet (spicy curry), which are spicier than the previously mentioned curry preparations.
Som tam, or green papaya salad, is another common sight in a Thai meal. While it is Lao in origin, som tam has become a popular component of northeastern Thai cuisine. Its primary ingredients are shredded papaya, cherry tomatoes, lime, green beans, fish sauce, and dried shrimp or grilled chicken. If you are a vegetarian, the chef can use soy sauce and omit the shrimps.
Mango with sticky rice
In Thailand, there’s always room for dessert, especially when mangoes are in season. Mango served with sticky rice with sweet coconut milk drizzled on top is a famous sweet treat in the country. Tourists have also grown to love this hearty dessert. It can be quite filling because of the glutinous rice. Thus, you may see some people devour it for their lunch.
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