Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized by any Western power. And because of that, Thailand has maintained its traditions when it comes to preparing, cooking and serving their food. Although this is a fact, we cannot deny that Thai food is also heavily influenced by the many cooking methods done by its neighboring countries.
Thai food is evidently heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine. This is because 2000 years ago, the settlers of Siam were actually the people of Yuan province in China who migrated to this land. They brought with them the staple food which is rice. Aside from their dietary staple of rice, they included soy sauce, dumplings, noodles, and other Chinese cuisines alike. The flavor profile of Thai cuisine is sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot. Blending those flavors is what they are most famous for in the culinary arena.
Indian spices are also highly used in Thai food. Spicy seasonings like cardamom, coriander and cumin are used a lot. The same goes with ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. Like the Malays, Thai food also consists of coconut milk. This type of cuisine has been very popular in many Western countries.
As mentioned above, rice is indeed their dietary staple. However, they mainly use two kinds of rice: the standard one and the glutinous kind. The sticky rice is often used to make desserts. Rice is also incorporated in dumplings, noodles and many more. Their main protein is chicken, beef and pork. They are also fond of eating seafood.
Although Thai food is generally known to be spicy, Thai food is actually a unique combination of seasonings and spices. These dishes must be balanced. Their mainstay is curries, incorporated with hot chilies. They get the rest of their flavor profiles from ingredients like dried shrimp paste, fish sauce, lemongrass and spices such as basil, garlic, coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. They also make a lot of soups.
When it comes to desserts, Thailand will never come last. With its tropical climate comes with tropical fruits. These tropical fruits are then made into sweet desserts. The popular ingredients to satisfy their sweet tooth are apples, mangoes, papayas, jackfruits and durian.
Mealtime customs in Thailand are actually not so traditional. The locals indeed love to snack a lot. This is why wherever you go, Thailand is full of sidewalk vendors selling their variety of snacks including egg rolls, noodles, fried rice, fish cakes and many more. Even at 3 AM, you can never go hungry in Thailand. You will always find food vendors at any time, at any day of the week.
Meals in Thailand do not come in courses. In the morning, their breakfast consists more of rice, eggs, and leftover dishes from the previous night’s meal. During lunch, they simply eat rice and a single dish. Sometimes, they only eat noodles. The meals at night time usually consist of a couple of different kinds of dishes to balance the flavors out. Soup can be served at any time of the day. In fact, soup is typically consumed during and all throughout the duration of their mealtime.
Thailand is a place for all food lovers out there. The next time you want to try something exotic, you can always go to Thailand to try their authentic meals. Their affordability is also a big bonus!