The national cuisine of Thailand is known for its diversity and detail. The sheer variety it brings to the table is baffling. It is a fusion of Eastern and Western influences, combined to form what is now considered Thai cuisine. Indeed, it is Asian food at its finest.
The cuisine is well-known for the balance of the five beautiful flavours – sweet, salty, hot (spicy), sour and bitter. The use of authentic Asian ingredients, herbs, and spices, sets it apart. Each dish follows a perfect harmony of at least three to four different flavours, lending a distinct taste, characteristic and feature to the dish. Undoubtedly, Thai cuisine is internationally enjoyed and loved.
Thai cooking used to a reflection of the features of water-borne lifestyle. Some of the main ingredients were aquatic plants and animals. Due to the Buddhist background of Thai people, huge chunks of meat were shunned, and vegetarianism reigned supreme. Stewing, baking and grilling were some traditional methods employed for cooking Thai food.Today, it is a melange of other culinary influences – those of the Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and French. Stir-frying, frying and deep-frying were introduced by Chinese impact. Chillies were presented to Thai cooking by Portuguese missionaries, during the late 1600s.
However, traces of traditions still find their way into Asian food, and it is not different when it comes to Thai cuisine. A Thai meal is prepared by the cooperation and teamwork of Thai cooks and families, as it involves a long procedure of preparing the ingredients and thereafter cooking. The cuisine represents the Thai life, displays its traditions, culture and customs.A Thai meal typically includes a soup, a curry dish along with condiments, fish and vegetables accompanied by a dip. The soup can be spicy, but in that case, the curry is replaced by a non-spicy dish. Sometimes, the curry dish is substituted by a spicy salad.
Thai cuisine is more correctly described as a combination of four regional cuisines, albeit essentially regarded as a single cuisine. These regional cuisines which correspond to the different regions of the country is explained in more detail.