Thai cuisine is renowned all around the globe for its distinctive flavours, which are a mix of spicy and sour tastes.
Thai cuisine is a mixture of centuries old Eastern and Western influences harmoniously blended to give the unique Thai flavours. Characteristics of eat Thai meal can depend on which part of Thailand it’s being cooked in, what occasion it’s being cooked for and also whom it is being cooked for. It’s quite simple to vary the taste of the Thai dishes to suit everyone.
Originally Thai’s came from the region of Southwest China between the 6th and 13th centuries, into the region which is now known as Thailand. Hence Thai cuisine is influenced by Chinese cooking techniques and certain Chinese dishes such as Szechwan. In fact Thai cooking techniques are a mixture of many of the countries neighbouring Thailand such as Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Buddhism has also played it’s part in influencing Thai dishes. Thai’s avoided using large pieces of meat in their meals. Instead they preferred to shred their meat into smaller pieces and blend them with herbs and spices. Traditional Thai food reflected the characteristics of waterborne life – they included aquatic animals, plants and herbs. These traditional methods of cooking were stewing, baking and grilling. Later on Chinese influences introduced other cooking methods such as stir-frying. Western influences were introduced into Thai cooking techniques from the seventeenth century onwards. These included Portuguese, Dutch, French and Japanese techniques. Chillies were introduced into Thai cooking by the Portuguese. The ghee used in Indian cooking was adapted and introduced into Thai cooking. The Thai used coconut oil and coconut milk instead.
Eventually Thai cooking used less pure spices and increased the use of fresh herbs such as lemongrass and galangal instead. Thai curries vary from curries from other countries as they burn intensely but for a shorter period. Traditionally Thai serve all dishes together, instead of serving their food in different courses. This traditional meal would usually consist of a soup, a curry dish or spicy salad, rice and a dip with accompanying vegetables.