The Adventurous yet Comforting Food of Thailand || An Overview of the ingredients, methods, and regional variations in Thai Cuisine

I first tasted Thai food in the US in 2010. There I had ordered a serving of Pad Thai and I loved it. When I came back to India, I searched for Thai food in India, and found Ego Thai. I remember I went alone to this restaurant to have Thai food.


I first tasted Thai food in the US in 2010. There I had ordered a serving of Pad Thai and I loved it. When I came back to India, I searched for Thai food in India, and found Ego Thai. I remember I went alone to this restaurant to have Thai food. 

The restaurant is expensive, but good Thai food wasn't easily available in Delhi back then. Ego Thai's food is excellent though. And I had no regrets. After my solo trip to Ego Thai, I have also been their with my friends and with my husband. But since then, many other options have come up in Delhi.

The restaurant is expensive, but good Thai food wasn't easily available in Delhi back then. Ego Thai's food is excellent though. And I had no regrets. After my solo trip to Ego Thai, I have also been their with my friends and with my husband. But since then, many other options have come up in Delhi.

Now you can order in or dine out at various restaurants. And for a while I felt that I knew Thai food. However, I was shaken out of this misconception when I visited Thailand for real, and there I witnessed an explosion of senses. And I finally got a glimpse of what food meant to Thai People.

Now you can order in or dine out at various restaurants. And for a while I felt that I knew Thai food. However, I was shaken out of this misconception when I visited Thailand for real, and there I witnessed an explosion of senses. And I finally got a glimpse of what food meant to Thai People. 

Let's start with beverages first. Because of the heat and humidity, cold beverages are very popular in Thailand. We too had our share of cold coffees and teas. While cold coffee is mostly standard cold coffee or the Cambodian version with condensed milk. But the Red Cold Tea is very interesting.

Let's start with beverages first. Because of the heat and humidity, cold beverages are very popular in Thailand. We too had our share of cold coffees and teas. While cold coffee is mostly standard cold coffee or the Cambodian version with condensed milk. But the Red Cold Tea is very interesting. 

I was reading about it and found that the red color is from a coloring that is added to the Thai Tea Mix, so yes that was a bit disappointing to learn. However, the tea itself is tasty and refreshing. But if you are against food coloring, then you should go for the cold coffee.

I was reading about it and found that the red color is from a coloring that is added to the Thai Tea Mix, so yes that was a bit disappointing to learn. However, the tea itself is tasty and refreshing. But if you are against food coloring, then you should go for the cold coffee. 

Then there are some really good varieties of beer available - Chang, Leo, and Singha. Also available at grocery stores are some really good pre-mix cocktails in bottles. These alcoholic beverages are reasonably priced too.

Then there are some really good varieties of beer available - Chang, Leo, and Singha. Also available at grocery stores are some really good pre-mix cocktails in bottles. These alcoholic beverages are reasonably priced too. 

You will also find several kiosks serving drinks with black pearl like balls at the bottom of the glass. We tried them, but did not enjoy the gooey texture too much. However upon doing further research it turns out that these balls are made of tapioca starch with tea in the middle, and are known as Boba.

You will also find several kiosks serving drinks with black pearl like balls at the bottom of the glass. We tried them, but did not enjoy the gooey texture too much. However upon doing further research it turns out that these balls are made of tapioca starch with tea in the middle, and are known as Boba. 

We had some of the tastiest soups and noodle soups at the street side vendors. When we were in Phuket, there was an old lady selling soup on her cycle. We had that a couple of times. We discovered that these were reasonable and tasty options to survive on. If one does not opt for expensive restaurants by the beach, one can easily travel on a budget in Thailand

We had some of the tastiest soups and noodle soups at the street side vendors. When we were in Phuket, there was an old lady selling soup on her cycle. We had that a couple of times. We discovered that these were reasonable and tasty options to survive on. If one does not opt for expensive restaurants by the beach, one can easily travel on a budget in Thailand.


You can also find really tasty fired chicken and rice with broth in the night markets. They might not look appealing at sight, but at almost all places we tried stuff, we found it to be tasty and their servings large enough for a meal. And these too are very reasonably prized.

You can also find really tasty fired chicken and rice with broth in the night markets. They might not look appealing at sight, but at almost all places we tried stuff, we found it to be tasty and their servings large enough for a meal. And these too are very reasonably prized. 

We tried a lot of street food and found it very pocket-friendly. We even had Pad Thai on the streets here and it was simpler and tastier than the imported, elite version we get to have in India. And you do not really find too many vendors selling the cliched red and green curries. Instead broth-like curries are more popular.

We tried a lot of street food and found it very pocket-friendly. We even had Pad Thai on the streets here and it was simpler and tastier than the imported, elite version we get to have in India. And you do not really find too many vendors selling the cliched red and green curries. Instead broth-like curries are more popular. 

The curries rely on aromatic herbs, such as cilantro, Thai basil, and Vietnamese corianter, and natural flavor of ingredients for depth. Fresh Green Chiles and Dried Red Chiles are common ingredients for curry pastes. Coconut milk and vinegar too are important ingredients.

The curries rely on aromatic herbs, such as cilantro, Thai basil, and Vietnamese corianter, and natural flavor of ingredients for depth. Fresh Green Chiles and Dried Red Chiles are common ingredients for curry pastes. Coconut milk and vinegar too are important ingredients. 

Sliced shallots for texture and minced or crushed garlic for flavor are also added. Another key ingredient is lime leaves. Another very important ingredient at least for curries is Galangal. This root is a relative of ginger, but unlike ginger that has a peppery flavor to it, galangal has a citrusy flavour, which is not mild by any standards. Galangal is used to cut the heaviness of meat-based dishes and also to neutralize the smell of seafood.

Sliced shallots for texture and minced or crushed garlic for flavor are also added. Another key ingredient is lime leaves. Another very important ingredient at least for curries is Galangal. This root is a relative of ginger, but unlike ginger that has a peppery flavor to it, galangal has a citrusy flavour, which is not mild by any standards. Galangal is used to cut the heaviness of meat-based dishes and also to neutralize the smell of seafood.  

Meats most commonly used in Thai cuisine are Pork, chicken, and duck, along with prawns, crabs, oysters etc are most commonly used meats. Octopus and squids can also be found. And, though it is rare, but you can also find alligators and crocodiles being being roasted and served at some night markets.

Meats most commonly used in Thai cuisine are Pork, chicken, and duck, along with prawns, crabs, oysters etc are most commonly used meats. Octopus and squids can also be found. And, though it is rare, but you can also find alligators and crocodiles being being roasted and served at some night markets. 

You will find some really tasty sausages and meatballs and also fried fritters of various meats. These are usually served with dips and you can find these at street-side stalls. We also managed to find one stalls serving sushi. One could pick any from a choice of sushi for just 10 Baht per piece. And the sushi were tasty as well.

You will find some really tasty sausages and meatballs and also fried fritters of various meats. These are usually served with dips and you can find these at street-side stalls. We also managed to find one stalls serving sushi. One could pick any from a choice of sushi for just 10 Baht per piece. And the sushi were tasty as well. 

There are also plenty of vegetarian options available in Thailand. While in many dishes, such as Pad Thai, meat is simply replaced with Tofu, there are some dishes that are authentically vegetarian, such as Pad Phuk (stir fried vegetables), Pad Phuk Tong (Stir Fried Pumpkin), Som Tum (papaya salad), and Pak Bung (Morning Glory).

There are also plenty of vegetarian options available in Thailand. While in many dishes, such as Pad Thai, meat is simply replaced with Tofu, there are some dishes that are authentically vegetarian, such as Pad Phuk (stir fried vegetables), Pad Phuk Tong (Stir Fried Pumpkin), Som Tum (papaya salad), and Pak Bung (Morning Glory). 

Fresh fruits form an important part of diet in Thailand. It doesn't hurt that a vast variety of tasty, juicy tropical fruits is easily available everywhere. You can find vendors selling beautiful bowls of cut fresh fruit everywhere.

Fresh fruits form an important part of diet in Thailand. It doesn't hurt that a vast variety of tasty, juicy tropical fruits is easily available everywhere. You can find vendors selling beautiful bowls of cut fresh fruit everywhere.   

Mangos, kiwis, watermelons, papaya, litchis, pineapples, bananas, dragonfruit and many other varieties can form a good snacking option when you are walking all around the country. These fruits are all really refreshing. You can also sip on fresh coconut water to keep yourself hydrated.

Mangos, kiwis, watermelons, papaya, litchis, pineapples, bananas, dragonfruit and many other varieties can form a good snacking option when you are walking all around the country. These fruits are all really refreshing. You can also sip on fresh coconut water to keep yourself hydrated.

The availability of so many tropical fruits is probably also the reason why many deserts in Thailand are fruit-based. Take sticky rice with mango for example. It is an acquired taste. I loved it, but many don't. Then there is Thai jelly, which too is fruit-based. Then there is Starfruit in Mango Orange Sauce. This is a simple dessert and yet is difficult to find outside Thailand. Apart from this, there are simple pineapple pops which are nothing but roasted pineapples on skewers. But sometimes the simplest desserts are the tastiest.

The availability of so many tropical fruits is probably also the reason why many deserts in Thailand are fruit-based. Take sticky rice with mango for example. It is an acquired taste. I loved it, but many don't. Then there is Thai jelly, which too is fruit-based. Then there is Starfruit in Mango Orange Sauce. This is a simple dessert and yet is difficult to find outside Thailand. Apart from this, there are simple pineapple pops which are nothing but roasted pineapples on skewers. But sometimes the simplest desserts are the tastiest. 

Apart from fruit-based desserts, there are also some rather technical ones, such as sticky rice in bamboo (Khao Lam). This is prepared by stuffing a mixture of sticky rice, red beans, sugar, and coconut cream in bamboo stems and then cooking till these ingredients merge into one. Then there are several desserts that are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The main ingredient in these are sticky rice, black beans, sugar, and coconut milk.

Apart from fruit-based desserts, there are also some rather technical ones, such as sticky rice in bamboo (Khao Lam). This is prepared by stuffing a mixture of sticky rice, red beans, sugar, and coconut cream in bamboo stems and then cooking till these ingredients merge into one. Then there are several desserts that are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The main ingredient in these are sticky rice, black beans, sugar, and coconut milk.  

One quirky desert that is also available widely is the Thai Roti. This is a sweet roti that is eaten with a variety of toppings such as nutella, chocolate syrup, and bananas. Eating this dessert is one thing, but apparently it is also a joy to watch it being prepared.

One quirky desert that is also available widely is the Thai Roti. This is a sweet roti that is eaten with a variety of toppings such as nutella, chocolate syrup, and bananas. Eating this dessert is one thing, but apparently it is also a joy to watch it being prepared. 

Ice creams too are available in various flavors and colors. We tried several flavors. If you are lucky, you may stumble upon stalls that serve tiny scoops in little cones for their sampler platter. Not only do these taste good, they also look very cute. One traditional Thai flavor is the coconut icecream. If you like coconut flavor, you will love this. There is also another specialised Thai Dessert - custard-filled bread.

Ice creams too are available in various flavors and colors. We tried several flavors. If you are lucky, you may stumble upon stalls that serve tiny scoops in little cones for their sampler platter. Not only do these taste good, they also look very cute. One traditional Thai flavor is the coconut icecream. If you like coconut flavor, you will love this. There is also another specialised Thai Dessert - custard-filled bread.  

Another aspect that I wanted to touch upon is the snacks available at street-side, and especially eggs. We tried a platter of fried quail eggs sprinkled with salt and pepper. These were quite good as well. The eggs themselves are smaller than chicken eggs and are patterned. On the stalls selling eggs, you will find chicken eggs, duck eggs, and also pink colored eggs that are Thai version of century eggs or hundred years eggs. This is a South-east Asian technique of egg preservation.

Another aspect that I wanted to touch upon is the snacks available at street-side, and especially eggs. We tried a platter of fried quail eggs sprinkled with salt and pepper. These were quite good as well. The eggs themselves are smaller than chicken eggs and are patterned. On the stalls selling eggs, you will find chicken eggs, duck eggs, and also pink colored eggs that are Thai version of century eggs or hundred years eggs. This is a South-east Asian technique of egg preservation. 
 
Overall, there is no dearth of good food in Thailand. If you eat meat, you will be in foodie heaven when in Thailand. Even if you are a vegetarian, you will find enough options that are very enjoyable.

Overall, there is no dearth of good food in Thailand. If you eat meat, you will be in foodie heaven when in Thailand. Even if you are a vegetarian, you will find enough options that are very enjoyable. 

Now that we have an overview of the various food items available in Thailand, let's try to understand the cuisine a little better. Traditional Thai cuisine loosely falls into four categories: tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), and gaeng (curries). Deep-fried, stir-fried, and steamed dishes have been adopted from Chinese cuisine.

Now that we have an overview of the various food items available in Thailand, let's try to understand the cuisine a little better. Traditional Thai cuisine loosely falls into four categories: tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), and gaeng (curries). Deep-fried, stir-fried, and steamed dishes have been adopted from Chinese cuisine.

As is normal in any country, Thai cuisine too varies across regions. Let's start from the North. We visited Chiang Mai, and one of the local dishes that we tried was Khao Soi, which is a coconut and curry based noodle soup. It is topped with crispy noodles and other ingredients such as pork or water buffalo meat.

As is normal in any country, Thai cuisine too varies across regions. Let's start from the North. We visited Chiang Mai, and one of the local dishes that we tried was Khao Soi, which is a coconut and curry based noodle soup. It is topped with crispy noodles and other ingredients such as pork or water buffalo meat. 

Chiang Mai is in North Thailand and the Northern Region is comparatively cooler owing to the hilly terrain. This cuisine shares its ingredients and cooking style with Northeast Thai or Isan cuisine where one can find a heavy influence of Khmer cuisine. Khao Lam, the dessert that we discussed earlier is a popular dish from this region.

Chiang Mai is in North Thailand and the Northern Region is comparatively cooler owing to the hilly terrain. This cuisine shares its ingredients and cooking style with Northeast Thai or Isan cuisine where one can find a heavy influence of Khmer cuisine. Khao Lam, the dessert that we discussed earlier is a popular dish from this region.  

The Central Thai region is the rice-growing region of Thailand. This region saw the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai Kingdoms in the past. The cuisine here uses coconut milk heavily. This is also the region from where most of the dishes familiar to people from outside Thailand originate. Pad Thai, Tom Yam Soup, Gaeng Phet (Red Curry), and Gaeng Keaw Waan (Green Curry), all originate from here.

The Central Thai region is the rice-growing region of Thailand. This region saw the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai Kingdoms in the past. The cuisine here uses coconut milk heavily. This is also the region from where most of the dishes familiar to people from outside Thailand originate. Pad Thai, Tom Yam Soup, Gaeng Phet (Red Curry), and Gaeng Keaw Waan (Green Curry), all originate from here. 

The cuisine of Bangkok derives its influence not only from the Central Thai cuisine but also from international cuisines such as Central Asian, Indian, Western, and European. There is also a strong influence of the Royal Cuisine where the emphasis is on the freshness and quality of ingredients and presentation.

The cuisine of Bangkok derives its influence not only from the Central Thai cuisine but also from international cuisines such as Central Asian, Indian, Western, and European. There is also a strong influence of the Royal Cuisine where the emphasis is on the freshness and quality of ingredients and presentation.  

The Southern Thai Cuisine is unique in the sense that it shares several dishes with Malaysian cuisine. Also, if you are looking for Halal food, you will find many more options in Southern Thailand, where Muslim population is comparatively high. Some of the interesting Southern Thai dishes are Kaeng Matsaman, Kaeng Som, etc.

The Southern Thai Cuisine is unique in the sense that it shares several dishes with Malaysian cuisine. Also, if you are looking for Halal food, you will find many more options in Southern Thailand, where Muslim population is comparatively high. Some of the interesting Southern Thai dishes are Kaeng Matsaman, Kaeng Som, etc.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country. 

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to travel if you are a foodie and don't mind experimenting with new ingredients and styles of cooking. And yet, some Thai dishes taste very familiar to an Indian palate. So you will find both adventurous and comfort food in this country.

Comments

Trending Post Today !

How to reach Kasol/Malana and top things to do around this stunning hill-station of Himalayan State of India

Main places to see & Top things to do around Dalhousie : Stunning Hill Station in Himalayan State of India

Travel & Music || Enchanting Himachal and its Charming Songs

Curated List of Main Places to Visit & Top Things to do in Cleanest City of India - Amazing Chandigarh, Punjab

DSLR Comparison : Between Canon 1300D & Nikon 3300D - Which one is better entry level Camera for stunning Photography?