You simply can’t talk about Thailand and not mention the food. Somewhere between the fiery hot chili and the fragrant rice, balance is the key to a great Thai meal, according to the Thais themselves. You will usually find a blend of sweet, sour, spicy and salty at the meal of a true Thai. Thai food is among the most famous in the world, for both flavor and presentation.
If you are going to do as the Thais do, you will eat one dish at a time and will have it with a heaping bowl of rice to the side. You will have no need for a knife as a large spoon is used alongside a fork instead of a knife. You will also never, ever throw away food. To do so is said to insult the female ‘god of rice’ for she will punish with a vengeance.
You will be doing lots of sharing of food if you are eating as the Thais do. They share plates with each and every course of each and every meal so if you are germ-phobic, well, you are out of luck. But if you love good food, you are in for a real treat.
Thai food has a long history. Over 1,400 years ago, Thailand was settled by the Chinese. Not only is Thai food influenced by that era of Chinese, but also by Muslims, Europeans and even the people of India. Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms have ruled over Thailand too, before it was actually called Thailand. Then there is the influence of their own. The very poor provinces, or “Issan”, leave nothing to waste. Everything is considered food from chicken feet to things that are better not even mentioned.
The cuisine varies greatly in the different regions. While the poor provinces make the best of what they have (which is a little bit of most everything), the North leans toward Burmese influenced food or Chinese. The South has the distinct taste of Muslim and Malaysia type spices and herbs in their dishes.
Where do you go in Thai for great Thai food? Practically anywhere! You can stroll into any restaurant or café and sit down for a great meal or even grab one off a street cart. No matter where you go, North, South, East or West, you will find awesome delicacies everywhere because Thais love to eat and love to cook so you will never be lacking for excellent cuisine.
One thing is for certain, your taste buds will sing! There is nothing quite like the taste of spicy, salty, sour and sweet all in one meal and often you will find bitter in the mix as well. Thais believe that food is to be savored and enjoyed. They revolve their celebrations and events around food and even celebrate their food if there is no other cause for celebration.
If you are in doubt as to where to eat if you are lucky enough to visit Thailand, ask a local. You will find obscure places that are downright treasures. You can also look up places online and often find ratings and comments made by those who have gone before you but your best bet is still to ask a local.
Thais love their food, that is for sure and when you visit and partake of their food, you will quickly understand why. Then you will, no doubt…share the love.