Thai cuisine is an astonishing result of mixing the cooking traditions both of Southeast Asian and several European countries.
The influence of the Chinese, the Malaysian, the Portuguese and the Japanese brought to the kitchen of Thailand not only new products, but also a variety of cooking methods.
Traditional Thai cooking methods were baking, stewing and grilling. The Chinese added frying, stir-frying and deep-frying. As for chili, it was introduced to the Thai people by Portuguese missionaries in the late 1600s. Chili and local fresh herbs had substituted most of Indian spices, that made Thai dishes burn intensely but briefly.
Thai cuisine is considered to be one of the hottest kitchens in the world, but hot spices represent only a small part of the whole Thai cooking tradition. A closer look at Thai dishes uncovers a reflection of the Thais’ yearn for harmony. The combination of dishes served should always keep the balance of different tastes and textures within each dish and the entire meal. A meal in Thailand should always include a soup, a curry or a spicy salad and a main course, which could be fish or meat.
Seafood, chicken, pork and fish accompanied with rice or noodles are the most popular Thai ingredients for cooking, although there are much more exotic components which could be used. Lime leaves, lemongrass and ginger are used to compose the delightful aroma. Coconut milk is often used to colour and to sweeten soups and curries. Some fruits as green papaya and ripe pineapple are also added to various Thai courses to fill a dish with intense sour or sweet notes.
Since eating in Thailand is usually a communal affair including two persons and more, the basic rule for ordering food is the plus one rule. Two diners ask for three dishes in addition to their individual portions of steamed or sticky rice. All main courses in Thai cuisine are eaten with spoon and fork. Dishes are usually cut into tiny slices so there is no need for a knife. During the eating Thai diners are always balancing chili-spiced food with bland to have the best for palate and to avoid any discomfort.
The blend of aromatic essences, the exotic flavours and the abundant texture are the colourful pieces, which the unique Thai cooking tradition is built with. There is no culinary experience that compares to Thai cuisine.