Thailand food is renowned for light cuisine that incorporates bold flavours and strong aromats, blending a number of elements from traditional Southeast Asian cuisine. Attention is paid to achieving a complex yet balanced flavour, combining the fundamentals of sweet, sour, bitter and salty tastes. Thailand food also has unique regional dishes that correspond to the northern, north-eastern, central and southern areas of the country. Each region's cuisine has its own signature dishes, flavours and ingredients. For example, southern curries use fresh turmeric and coconut milk while north-eastern cuisine uses fresh lime juice. Most Thailand food was originally Chinese cuisine that has been introduced into Thailand and slowly evolved into traditional local cuisine.
Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup): Chilli, shallots, galangal (ginger), lemongrass, lime leaves and juice give this dish it's refreshing and bold flavours while straw mushrooms and fresh prawns balance the hot, sour, spicy flavours.
Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad): An acquired taste, chilli, garlic, cherry tomatoes, green beans and raw papaya are ground in a mortar and pestle to create a spicy sweet and sour flavour. Dry shrimp, salted crab and peanuts are often used in regional variations.
Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup): A milder version of Tom Yum, this soup combines tender chicken strips with chilli, galangal (ginger), lemongrass, shallots and fresh lime leaves in hot coconut milk to soothe the spicy kick.
Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry): Made with your choice of meat, cooked til tender in a blend of coconut milk, red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves to achieve a delicate, fragrant, mild and sweet finish.
Pad Thai (Thai Style Fried Noodles): A choice of thin, small or wide noodles accompany egg, onion and beansprouts ready to be dressed in your choice of chilli, fish sauce, ground peanuts, sugar or all of the above.
Khao Pad (Fried Rice): A common lunch dish combining herbs, onion, egg and fried rice then served with sliced cucumber and a wedge of lime. Again, dressings are you choice with popular options including chicken, crab or prawns and chilli, basil or leftover vegetables.
Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry): Succulent chicken, tiny eggplants, bamboo shoots, coriander and sweet basil combine with hot coconut milk and green curry paste to provide a delicious sauce for fragrant rice to soak up.
Yam Nua (Spicy Beef Salad): This fresh and fiery salad combines coriander, lime, spearmint, dried chilli, onion and tender beef strips to offer a bold, flavoursome and spicy dish.
Pak Boong (Morning Glory): A common leafy Southeast Asian plant with delicate leaves and hollow stems is combined with garlic, chilli, fermented black bean, fish sauce and oyster sauce for a quick and easy favourite.
Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken Cashew Nut): A favourite with locals and tourists alike, moist sautéed chicken, sweet soy sauce, mushrooms, onions, carrot, chilli, honey and roasted cashews offer an irresistible contrast of textures and flavours.