Think Thai food and the first image that comes into your mind is probably either a tasty dish of Pad Thai or maybe a spicy curry combined with a delicious glass of Iced Thai Tea !.
This is partly true - but only to an extent. Believe it or not, you might have probably had Thai food more than once in your life without even knowing it.
Thai food is internationally famous the world over, and for many good reasons.
All Thai dishes are rarely ever bland and always have that one special ingredient that makes you wonder how it was achieved, was it the long list of spices that appear in most dishes, or the use of healthy herbs, or it might have been the "fusion" created by the total combination.
Whatever it is, its DELICIOUS!!
Rice is the main staple food of Thailand,and is usually what accompanies EVERY set meal, that is if it was not a meal on its own (eg.fried noodles).There are two main kinds of rice the Thais love: standard white rice(steamed) and glutinous "sticky" rice.
Glutinous rice is much loved by the Northern Thais and you see it more frequently in their meals.I think personally I could live just on "sticky" rice, its highly addictive.
Thai food differs considerably from one region to another,however the use of basic Thai spices is the constant that links them all together, with the spiciness being counterbalanced by the use of such ingredients as lemon, lime and lemon grass.
If you prefer Thai Vegetarian Food rather than the typical "full on" carnivore dishes, it is not quite so easy to reproduce the delicious aromas & flavours, and within Thailand itself you certainly have to search around to find local restaurants that even offer a vegetarian menu.
The fundamental problem being that both fish sauce & oyster sauce appear in almost EVERY single Thai dish, which just makes the Thai Vegetarian Recipe versions more of an exciting challenge to recreate them.
For the Northern region, including North-East (Isaan), apart from the glutinous rice, a lot of their food has influence from neighbouring countries such as Myanmar & Laos with most of their food highly seasoned and spicy e.g.: spicy roast pork.A favourite dish of the northerners would be khanom chin nam ngiao (Thai vermicelli noodles & chicken in spicy soup).
Vegetables are seen a lot in the dishes here as well because most northerners are involved in some form of agriculture, whether it be by farming, or just by smallholding.
If you are in Chiang Mai and would like to taste truly delicious
Vegetarian Food I would highly recomment Pun Pun which is located inside Wat Suan Dok Temple on Suthep Road between the Suan Dok Gate on the moat and the Chiang Mai University- if you are new to the city you can just tell the driver of the red trucks to take you to Wat Suan Dok.
Supplementing this range of fine foods,over the last few years there has also been large scale developments of vineyards around the Chiang Rai area, which are now producing world renowned Fine Wines ,although these are widely available in this area, they are yet to hit the worldwide markets that will welcome them with open arms.
If you're in the Central region of Thailand, the cuisine is deemed as "Royal cuisine", as many dishes are inspired by the Kings Kitchens of the Royal Court back when Thailand was known as Siam.
The dishes are more elaborate and tend to look like beautiful masterpieces that took hours to make instead of something that's conceived and created in just five minutes !!
For the Southern region the dishes get really interesting. Coconut is a prominent ingredient in many dishes.
It usually is present to offset the heat of curries and chilli based soups and its oil is widely used for frying.
As the southern bit tends to be near the coastal regions, fresh seafood such as crab, lobster and prawns are usually the centre of many dishes and curries.
If you prefer to practice your Thai culinary skills whilst enjoying a fabulous holiday in Chiang Mai,Thailand, rather than merely downloading from the internet, then just follow this link http://www.visit-chiang-mai-online.com/cooking-vacation-thai.html to Cooking Class Asia who are organising culinary trips mixed with cultural excursions to Northern Thailand.
Recommended Recipe Links:
Delicious Rhubarb Recipes
A guide to harvesting a healthy rhubarb garden.Learn to prepare and serve great dishes as well.
Top 10 Thai Dishes:
The most popular Thai dishes, irrespective of the region of Thailand you are visiting are probably:
1/ Tom Yam Goong - hot & spicy soup.
2/ Pad Thai - fried noodles dressed up with tofu, bean sprouts, onion,prawns & a choice of meats.
3/ Kuay Tiew (Noodle Soup) - thin noodles served up in a broth with your choice of meat.
4/ Som Tam - spicy papya salad thin sliced papaya with tomatoes, dried prawn,limes, chillies & more chillies !!.
5/ Gai Med Ma Moung (Chicken Cashew Nuts) roasted cashew nuts, sweet soy sauce,honey,garlic & of course chilies.
6/ Kang Kheaw Wan Gai (Green Curry Chicken) green curry paste, chicken,coconut milk, chillies & garlic.
7/ Tom Kha Gai(Boiled Galangal Chicken) combines coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal(Asian ginger)and chicken.
8/ Kao Phad (Fried Rice) fried rice with your choice of meat,egg, onion, cilantro, garlic, and tomotoes.
9/ Massaman Curry (Muslim) concoction of coconut milk,potatoes,roasted peanuts,bay leaves,sugar, cinnamon,tamarind sauce & meat of your choice.
10/ Pad Kra Pao Moo (Spicy Pork) stir-fried pork, with chillies, garlic, basil & onion.