DELIGHTS OF THAI CUISINE
When it comes to gastronomy it is impossible not to talk about Thai cuisine. It is easy to understand very quickly why it has become so famous throughout the world: the quality, variety and preparation of dishes are a delight for the taste buds, but it also a pleasure for the eyes!
Known worldwide for its combinations of exotic flavours, Thai cuisine, while close to that of its Chinese, Indian and Burmese neighbours, does stand out for the originality of those flavours and ingredients. Often spicy, it has enjoyed growing international renown and success and is an integral part of the culture of the country. Present everywhere in the streets, on the beaches, in the markets, it is a real invitation to travel, leading you on an exotic journey among scents, colours, taste and refinement. And most importantly, remember that here is no time to enjoy the good things!
A RICH AND VARIED KITCHEN
When you set foot in Thailand for the first time, do not be at all surprised to see the natives at a table; they nibble and graze 4 to 5 times a day and sometimes more. And for good reason, they love to eat! What’s more normal? Thai cuisine is known to be very varied, refined and, above all, well flavoured, helped by a few spices and herbs found in most dishes: coriander, ginger, lemongrass, basil, mint , cardamom, curry, peppers and coconut. All the originality of this cuisine lies in the various flavours, combining the acidulated, the bitter and the spicy often mixed with coconut which softens the dishes.
Due to the fact is that it is often spicy, many people unaccustomed to the strength of certain dishes may be surprised, even refractory. In this case just say « Mai Pet » (« not spicy » in Thai), when ordering and things will return immediately to order.
RICE. Rice is the basis of Thai food (the country has been the world’s largest rice exporter since the 1960s). It occupies a very big place in the gastronomy of this country and is found in most things, whether as an accompaniment (often instead of bread) or as a main dish.
THE SOUPS. To taste these is an absolute must! They are divided into two categories, poles apart from each other in terms of seasoning: those that are sour and spicy and those, softer and more unctuous, but always filled with good things. They are eaten both during the day and in the evening. Whatever your choice, you will enjoy them!
PASTA. Another Thai specialty is pasta (better known as « Noodle »). There are several varieties that can be found either in soups or fried, or drowned in different curries. They are almost always embellished with pieces of meat, shrimp or vegetables.
CURRY. Thai cuisine is famous for them and they refer to many liquid dishes. They are often picked up and prepared exclusively with fresh products (especially, not powdered!) Cooked in a wok, they incorporate the ingredients, wetted with coconut milk, to reduce the sauce and enhance the flavour of the dish (or soften). Thais love it, and we do too!
FISH. For all those who like to fish, you are definitely in the right place. Fried, seared or simply grilled, you are spoiled for choice and all for a price that defies competition!
VEGETABLES. Thais consume a lot of vegetables. The country is full of foods with amazing shapes, special tastes and atypical perfumes that Westerners often discover for the first time when they arrive. However, once cooked, raw or cooked, these vegetables provide aroma, flavour and incomparable smoothness.
FRUITS. The Kingdom is known for the richness of its fruits and its extraordinary diversity. Thailand is lucky to have all year round fruits such as mandarin, papaya, mango, watermelon, pineapple, guava and dragon fruit, to name but a few. They are eaten fresh, in salad, in fruit juice or in a ‘fruit shake’. Some are even added to the local cuisine to enhance the flavour. Between scents, colours, shapes and amazing textures… you’ll only want to taste them.
As you can see, Thai cuisine is extremely rich through an extraordinary diversity of dishes, tastes and smells. You should take the time to discover and soak up the multiple flavours and let yourself go to explore new flavours and the trip will be all the more beautiful.
A DIFFERENT KITCHEN ACCORDING TO THE REGION
Thai cuisine varies greatly from one region to another, influenced by neighbouring countries. It is a fusion of traditional dishes from various Asian nations, but also from Europe. Five main flavours stand out: sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. Know, first of all, that as in France Thai cooking is not uniform throughout the country.
Southern dishes such as yellow curry and kidney and fish curry are the most popular.In the Central plains, the food is sweeter, like chicken fillet with basil leaves. In the North, we find a great Burmese cuisine influence, such as in the famous soup with curry and noodles (« Kaoh Soi »). As for the Northeast, its cuisine is derived from Laotian cooking and, although originally considered as a peasant kitchen, it is gaining more and more popularity and some delicacies like green papaya salad (« Som Tam ») are known and appreciated beyond its borders.
Thais focus on fruit for dessert. They cut the fruit into a multitude of shapes (animals, stars, etc. .. ) and have them as an attractive decoration in the middle of the diners to finish the meal in a stylish and beautiful way.
They are the best place to discover and savour true Thai cuisine! All the spirit of Thailand is in these very commercial places that swarm with people. They are an institution, but above all, a habit for locals, and serve as both a place of reunion, hobbies, walks, and as a social link between different castes and ethnic groups. We come here, not only to buy or sell, but also to eat (often something that comes out of the ordinary), or just to see the world.
In the stands where you eat, the prices are fixed. But the prices are so low that there is little wrong. The decor is succinct, the furniture to say the least rustic, the plastic dishes, the often scuffed and worn menus. And yet, there is no better place to feast! The cooking is done in the open air, in the sight of the customer (a pledge of quality and a pleasure for the eyes and the taste buds). The dishes are rustic, the plate is well garnished and it gives off a particular and recognisable smell.
For specialities, you will be spoiled for choice: soups, Pad Thai, curries, salads, rice and fried fish. …On the table, you will find all kinds of spices and herbs (peppers, grilled and crushed peanuts, coriander, small aubergines) wth which to garnish your dishes.
After eating, you can stroll through the market among the food displays and discover exotic products that will still make your mouth water, such as desserts with mysterious shapes and strange textures. A real fireworks of colours, noises and movements. These local markets, it’s all about life!
For several years now, cooking classes have been a phenomenal success among tourists and foreign expatriates alike in Thailand , attracting a vast clientele that includes all ages and social levels.
Indeed, travellers of all stripes are more and more passionate for local cuisine and, absolutely, want to make their own dishes, but also experience the typical markets to meet the locals, soak up the atmosphere of these incredible places and discover new flavours, smells and ingredients, unknown in their own countries.
Whether staying for only a short time or year-round, they come from all over the world to participate in these classes. They enjoy both the playful and studious atmosphere of these very well-appointed and comfortable places and the kindness of the hosts, to learn the basics of some local dishes, but also recognise the different spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits that make up Thai cuisine. Learning while having fun is the secret of these ‘Cooking Classes’.
Whether you are passionate about organic farming, simply want to broaden your culinary palette, whether you are a carnivore or a vegetarian, teachers will take great care to select the best ingredients available for you in the market (according to your wishes and opinion). The dishes chosen, then, will show you how to work them in the manner of the local inhabitants. All are passionate and will share with you this pleasure.
THE MOST POPULAR THAI DISHES
- Gang Kiew Wan (Thai beef curry with coconut milk)
- Pad Thai (Fried rice noodles with shrimp, chicken or pork)
- Tom Yam Kung (Shrimp soup with lemongrass)
- Pad Si Yu (Large rice noodles sautéed with chicken)
- Phat Kaphrao (Sliced beef with Thai basil)
- Khao Phat Kai (Fried rice with chicken)
- Laab Moo (Spicy Pork Salad)
- Kai Sa-Te (chicken skewers with Satay sauce)
- Khao Niao Mamuang (sticky rice with coconut and mango)
- Kluay Tod (Banana fritters)