One thing that Thailand is famous for is its food. All over the world, the hot but lightly flavored food is thought to be quite healthy. On cold winter days in northern latitudes, spicy and nutritious Thai dishes help to keep people warm and healthy during flu season. Thai seafood dishes are a delight as are Thai fruit dishes such as fruit shakes or deserts. For people from northern latitudes, there is a wild variety of native tropical fruits waiting to be tasted for the first time.
Thai cuisine is generally characterized by light flavors of lime juice, lemon grass, and fresh coriander. The combination of these ingredients generally gives Thai food a distinctive taste. Added to many dishes is lots and lots of red pepper. Thai people like to compete about how much hot pepper they can eat during a meal. People in different areas in Thailand are fond of different dishes. There are actually regional cuisines that show the influence of neighboring countries. People in the north tend to create dishes more like Chinese and Burmese food. Southern Thai food shows Malaysian influences. People in Isan eat food like Laotian food.
Famous seafood dishes include Tom Yam Kung prepared with lemon and shrimp soup; Mikrop prepared with shrimp, pork, eggs and fried vermicelli with sweet and sour sauce; Chicken Curry; Tom Kha Kai; Yam Nua; steamed fish curry; cuttlefish; fried prawn with sweet and sour flavor; pork floss and scallop; and steamed lobsters.
Like Indians, Thais like curries too. But Thai "curries" are often more like soup. Tom Yam Kung is made with lemon grass, prawns and galangal. It is usually spicy, but you might be able to request that it be served without all the hot stuff. Tom Kha Kai is Thai chicken soup made with hot stuff and coconut. Kaeng Daeng is made of duck or some other poultry and lots of red hot stuff. Kaeng Khiowaan is a sweet green curry made of lemon grass and coconut.
In Thai restaurants, bananas are fried in syrup or coconut juice and served as a dessert after dinner. Other snacks and desserts include Keropok Lekor and various types of pastries called Khanom. Waan Yen is ice slushes with fruit juice or pieces of fruit or nuts or coconut. Among them, durian and mango rice clumps are popular.
I updated this article on May 3, 2012
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