Asian Cuisine: Thailand Foods

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Topics: Thai cuisine, Curry
Thailand Cuisine

Thailand is a small country in Southeast Asia, sharing a peninsula with Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Like all local and national cuisines, the food of Thailand reveals a great deal about the country—it is a palimpsest of its political history, its trade, and its geography. Thailand sits between the cultural and political powers of India and China, and its food is clearly influenced by both. Yet Thailand’s food, like her people, has maintained its own distinct.

Thailand is not a very big nor a very rich country, but it is unique. It has a way of life that mixes ancient ritual with the ways of the modern world. Thailand is most fortunate, with both the land and surrounding seas yielding rich harvests. The staple, rice, is grown in abundance, as do the numerous varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices that enliven the Thai palate. Despite all the problems of the modern world Thailand still has much of old Siam.

Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. The spiciness of Thai cuisine is well known. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety are of great significance to Thai chefs. Thai food is known for its balance of three to four fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.

As an acknowledged expert of Thai cuisine, David Thompson, explains in an interview: "Thai food ain't about simplicity. It's about the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish. Like a complex musical chord it's got to have a smooth surface but it doesn't matter what's happening underneath. Simplicity isn't the dictum here, at all. Some westerners think it's a jumble of flavours, but to a Thai that's important, it's the complexity they delight in.

Thai food is also known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices as well as fish sauce. Each Thai dish has more than 3-4 flavors. The ingredients of

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