Thai food is internationally
famous. Whether chilli-hot or comparatively
bland, harmony is the guiding principle
behind each dish.
Thai cuisine is essentially a marriage of
centuries-old Eastern and Western influences
harmoniously combined into something uniquely
The characteristics of Thai
food depend on who cooks it, for whom it
is cooked, for what occasion, and where it is
cooked to suit all palates.
Originally, Thai cooking reflected the
characteristics of a waterborne lifestyle. Aquatic
animals, plants and herbs were major ingredients.
Large chunks of meat were eschewed. Subsequent
influences introduced the use of sizeable
chunks to Thai cooking.
their Buddhist background, Thais shunned
the use of large animals in big chunks.
Big cuts of meat were shredded and laced with
herbs and spices.
Traditional Thai cooking methods were
stewing and baking, or grilling. Chinese influences
saw the introduction of frying, stir frying
Culinary influences from the 17th century onwards
included Portuguese, Dutch, French and Japanese.
Chillies were introduced to Thai cooking
during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries
who had acquired a taste for them while
serving in South America.
were very adapt at 'Siamese-ising' foreign
cooking methods, and substituting ingredients.
The ghee used in Indian cooking was replaced
by coconut oil, and coconut milk substituted
for other daily products. Overpowering
pure spices were toned down and enhanced by
fresh herbs such as lemon grass and galanga.
Eventually, fewer and less spices were used
in Thai curries, while the use of fresh herbs
is generally acknowledged that Thai curries
burn intensely, but briefly, whereas other curries,
with strong spices, burn for
longer periods. Instead of serving dishes in
courses, a Thai meal is served all at once,
permitting dinners to enjoy complementary combinations
of different tastes.
proper Thai meal should consist of a soup, a
curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying
fish and vegetables. A spiced salad may replace
the curry dish. The soup can also be spicy,
but the curry should be replaced by non spiced
items. There must be a harmony of tastes and
textures within individual dishes and the entire