The mind-numbing mix of sweet, sour, hot and salty flavours is what makes Thai cuisine so distinct. Thai chefs are extremely talented in appropriating foreign dishes and making them their own - such as in typical Thai noodles. Forget green salad for a while - enjoy a hearty papaya salad, otherwise known as som tam, while Thai green curry is as distinct a dish as they ever get. Go out, explore and don't fail the best dishes Thailand has to offer. Here we present just a few.
Here's your introduction to the national aroma of Thailand, thanks to the generous use of fragrant herbs. Lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, and shallots provide the memorable smells, with chilis and fish sauce deliver the kick. Substance comes in the form of jumbo shrimps (goong) and mushrooms. The flavour is a unique combination of spicy hot and sour and makes for an ideal start to a meal, or - when paired with rice - a worthy main dish.
Thailand's calling card to the rest of the culinary world, Pad Thai doesn't need an introduction. There is an infinite number of variations on this timeless tradition, but usually, noodles are dressed up with tofu, bean sprouts, onion, and the brilliant final touch: peanuts ground to near dust. Pad Thai is a diner-participation meal; you put on the finishing touches of fish sauce, sugar, chilli powder, and crushed peanuts to suit your taste.
Brush up on your chopstick skills and get your slurping muscles ready, noodle soup is a quick-and-easy staple of the Thai eating experience. Variations in ingredients mean 10 different vendors could serve it 10 different ways ' making it nearly deserving of its own top ten lists.
Som tam ' spicy papaya salad ' comes from northeast Thailand, but it's reached near-cult status throughout the country. Slight regional differences in ingredients mean placement on the sweet-or-sour scale may vary greatly between restaurants. Common to all recipes is shredded green papaya and a healthy dose of heat. Barbequed chicken and lumps of sticky rice are the perfect companions.
Three cheers for the clever soul that figured out nuts and chicken were a good mix. A dish this popular must be more than just good. Phuket raises the standard with a vast supply of some of the world's best locally grown cashew nuts.
So what gives green curry its color? Green curry paste. Sorry, not an exciting answer, but it is an exciting dish. Of all the curries, and there’s plenty of them, the one that’s the colour of American money is among the spiciest. It’s also the least like Indian curry; Thailand has a way of making borrowed food distinctively Thai. The proof is in the coconut milk.
Possibly the world's most refreshing soup, tom kha gai (boiled galangal chicken) combines coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal ' ginger's Asian sister ' and chicken. It's a sweet, tame twist on tom yam goong. On a table filled with delectable Thai dishes, tom kha gai stands out; your spoon will return to this bowl time and again.
Ah, good old fried rice. At first sight, Kao Phad appears to be little more than a big heap of rice; you call that a meal? You'll know it is when you try it. It’s mainly served with chicken and egg, but vegetarian versions or an option with seafood or port are also popular,
Muslim community deserves a heartil thank you for this concoction of coconut milk, potatoes, roasted peanuts, bay leaves, sugar, cinnamon, and tamarind sauce. The meat of choice is often beef or chicken, but because it's been embraced by the Buddhists, pork can also be found.
A ubiquitous meal served mostly during the daytime (while stocks last) at special khao man gai dedicated stalls and restaurants. The chicken is gently boiled until it is tender then the water is used in boiling the rice. This means that khao man gai – apart from being delicious – is high in cholesterol. Served with a chicken broth and delicious sweet and spicy sauces, it’s the perfect midday snack.