Friday, June 10, 2011

What is Thai Food?

According to Wikipedia:
"Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Thai cuisine places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components."
I really like the words 'strong aromatic components', it sums up what I always want to relay in my reviews when I want to explain how a fresh curry soup comes out smelling.
The article continues on to explain how spicy Thai food usually is. This is a common theme I hear when people talk about Thai food, I want to clear something up; THAI FOOD ISN'T ALWAYS SPICY. Rest assured that you can go to a Thai restaurant and get food that won't leave your tongue scolded. If you are one of those people afraid of piquant foods, make sure to ask your server to give you the mild version of the dish.
Another aspect of Thai food that makes it unique is its ability to include tastes that hit 4 particular senses, sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Every place I have visited also has great textures, mixing textures with the aforementioned flavors is the key to having a unique dining experience.
Whenever I inquire about the different types of Thai food I usually get an answer somewhat like this. Thailand has four regional cuisines corresponding to four different regions of the country; Central, Southern, Northern, and Northeastern. Each regional cuisine shares similar food derived from those of neighboring countries. The fact that there are different regions of food explains why you can go to different Thai restaurants, get the same dish, and each taste totally different. I have grown really fond of the southern influenced Thailand curries because they contain a coconut milk base, which makes the dish sweet and spicy, a combination I absolutely love!
I have seen enough travel channel episodes on Thailand to know that any semi-formal dining experience, they traditionally bring out all the plates, place them in the middle of the table, and everyone share. Whenever I go out with a group of people to eat Thai food, I try to incorporate that style of eating, it seems to add an extra level of authenticity.
Chopsticks are something that most westerners, (us) consider to be Asian, but in reality not all Asian countries use chopsticks at every meal. In Thailand chopsticks are primarily used for noodle dishes.
Common items used in cooking Thai food include turmeric, soy beans, shallots, garlic, kaffir, Thai chilis, lime, ginger, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, lemongrass, tamarind, and peppercorns.

-Jedd Johnson
Thai Food Aficionado

No comments:

Post a Comment