Thai Food

Thai Food (The Basics)

Thai food is famous all over the world for it’s flavours , spiciness and unusual ingredients. Included here is a short guide explaining the basics so that the traveler can make wise choices from the menu, and ensure pleasurable dining experiences.

A really important part to any Thai meal is the rice which is served to enhance the flavours of the dish and to counter the taste and texture.


Rice:- (Khao)

A really important part to any Thai meal is the rice which is served to enhance the flavours of the dish and to counter the taste and texture.

Plain Rice :- Plain boiled rice (Khao Phao) is served with the majority of meals, and comes in many different varieties and classes. Jasmine , and fragrant rices from different provinces are the most commonly served.

Sticky Rice:(Khao Neow) is often eaten by the Northern Thai and Issan Peop

le as a dipper(dunker) for more liquid foods; and used throughout Thailand to go with fruit like Sweet (Yellow) Mango. You can find this in local markets.

Dessert Rice (Khao Lam)  is prepared in Bamboo stems and sometimes in coconut leaves and is sticky and delicious. Khao Lam comes in many varieties and colours, flavoured with Coconut milk and black rice.(See Photo) You can find this at Nong Mon Market and many other places.

Fried Rice (Khao Phat) is often the first dish tried by travelers. The basic version is (Khao Phat Khai) alias Egg Fried Rice. The more adventurous will then order Khao Phat Gung (Fried Rice with Shrimp),  Khao Phat Gai (with Chicken), Khao Phat Moo (with Pork) or Khao Phat Talay (Sea Food Fried Rice, normally with Squid, Shrimp, Crab and Shellfish). Surprisingly none of the Khao Phat dishes taste like Chinese Fried Rice. The secret is the addition of Fish and Oyster Sauces, and sometimes Garlic.

Meat Dishes Normally served with Rice:-

Phat Krapao :-  (Fried ground meat with garlic, Chilli, and Basil). This quickly cooked and spicey dish can be found anywhere in Thailand. You will notice it’s preparation by the eye-stinging pungent aroma produced on addition of the Chilli and Garlic. The resultant can be extremely spicy with a unique flavour. It is very difficult to produce a mild version. So those with sensitive stomachs be aware. (The varieties follow the content i.e. Phat Krapao Moo, Phat Krapao Gai Etc.). This dish is normally served with plain Rice.

Phat Preaw Wan (Sweet and Sour) :- Again these dishes are named by the sauce with the addition of the type of meat used. The main ingredients are Tomato sauce , Pineapple, sweet Chilli, spring Onions, pickled Ginger , Cucumber, fresh Tomatoes, and Onion. 

Khao Man Gai    (Chicken with rice) :-   This mild dish consist of thicly sliced and normally skinless chicken breast served on a bed of rice. The dish is served with yellow bean sauce ,dark soi sauce  , and chicken stock soup.  

Khao Moo Daeng (Rice with Red Pork) :- A local favourite, and not very spicy, Khao Moo Daeng is produced by roasting pork that has been marinated in soy sauce, sugar, honey, five spice powder, tomato paste and coriander root. The resulting dish is a moist and succulent addition to your rice. (See picture)

Noodle dishes (GuayDeo):-

Thai noodles are made with rice or wheat flower and sometimes egg added (Bah Mee). The noodles themselves come in three main sizes Sen Lek (thin), Sen Mee (Medium) or Sen Yai (Large flat ones). There are tens of different noodle dishes, which alter throughout Thailand dependent on the local favorite. Three common types of noodle dish that you will find served at your local stalls are:-

Bah Mee (egg Noodles):- These deiicious  noodles are normally sold from street stalls (sometimes mini-franchises) because of their warming properties. Bah Mee are probably the most filling of noodle dishes and come accompanied with Char Sui and Kwang Doong (a local green vegetable, also known as Bog Choy)..(See picture)

Yen Tafow (Pink Noodles):- This pink soup can come with any size of noodle that you specify. The pink colour is derived from the main ingredient which is Red Tofu and a mix of chili and tomato sauces. This is the local favorite for the addition of wontons, look jin bla (fish balls), and other bits and pieces that add to the overall meal.

Guay Deo Rua (Boat Noodles):- Named for the boats used in history in the then floating markets. You will often see a small replica of a boat where these dishes are sold. The soup is a dark colour and is formulated with the use of fresh pig's blood. Traditionally Boat Noodles come in small, cheap, portions because of the lack of space aboard the original vendor's boat.




 Kheow Wan (Green Curry):- A travelers favourite because of its mild and coconut taste. Green curry paste is the main ingredient, which is made by pulverizing fresh green chillies and lemon grass then adding sweet basil leaves, garlic, onion, coriander seeds and blue ginger. These ingredients are then boiled in coconut milk, with the addition of some elephant peas with the meat and sliced egg plants.

Gaeng Phet (Red Curry):- A much spicier soup like curry, Red Curry is made in a similar way to the green version but the main ingredients are garlic, shallots,dried red chillies,blue ginger, shrimp paste, coriander , cumin seeds, Thai basil, peppercorns and lemongrass, which are pounded in a pestle before adding coconut milk meat and /or pumpkin.

Massaman Curry :-This dish emanates from the South of Thailand which has a large muslim population .The flavour of the dish relies upon Massaman curry paste which usually contains peanuts or cashews,potatoes,bay leaves, cardammon ,cinnamon,palm sugar, fish sauce, chilli and tamarind all cooked in coconut milk.



Tom Yum :- These soups can vary between the spicy to the mild.The soup is boiled up in a deep pan of water with green ginger,chopped lemon grass,red onion, mushroom , lemon, coriander, fresh chilli , stock, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves. This is simmered until the addition of the meat e.g. prawn (gung), chicken (gai),Etc.

Jok:-  This is what kids and some adults have for breakfast. made from broken meal rice, which eventually becomes stodgy like porridge. Stock is added to enhance the flavour as is minced pork or chicken, finely sliced ginger, and fried crispy rice noodles, soy sauce, coriander and pepper.(See Picture).

Vegetable dishes and Salads-

Phat Pak Ruem (Mixed Stir Fried Vegetables in Gravy):- The most popular vegetarian dish for Thais. It is made by slicing cauliflower, cauliflower, brocoli, baby corn, mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus, These are stir fried in Soy sauce in a wok adding garlic and some stock.

Som Tam:-This very spicy green papaya salad is definitely an acquired taste. It is popular for diets as there is virtually no fat content. Som Tam Thai is the pure version which consists of thinly sliced papaya,peanuts, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, dried baby shrimps, garlic, lemon, sugar, fish sauce and tamarind sauce.

Yam Woonsen Talay:-(Glass noodle salad or Yam Woonsen) : Shrimps,squid, ground pork, celery, onion, tomato ,chilis , glass noodles ,fish sauce, sugar, lime juiceSoak the glass noodles in hot water, boil the ground pork, shrimp, squid  and mix all together and add sauces to your desired flavour.


Snacks and Sweets

Doughnuts (Donuts-Pa Tong Go):- Delicious Thai donuts are found between 0630-0800 at road side stalls throughout the area. They are best eaten straight from cooking when they are still warm and can be dunked into the soy milk , that normally accompanies them. They come in two main types, the two fingers of plain donut and the round sweetened type. (See picture). Are they good for you? Who cares?They are filling and delicious. Try them with fresh Thai coffee.

 To Be Continued......