In the 1960s, American troops arrived en mass on Thai soil, ready for a war with the country’s prolific neighbour; since this initial exposure to a worldwide audience, Thailand- and her tasty cuisine- have not looked back. Across the globe, nations are falling for the charms of the unique balance of four taste senses found in Thai food: sour, sweet, salty and bitter. With lemongrass, Thai basil and Thai chilli’s often featuring in these dishes, the result is a delicious complexity that the Thai people delight in, and are deservedly proud of.
Though never colonised, Thailand’s central position in South East Asia has led to a myriad of influences from Malaysia in the south, Cambodia and Vietnam in the East, and China and Laos in the north. Laos and Thailand share a love of ‘sticky rice’: a concept that will initially perplex any traveller on first taste, but will soon become a regular accompaniment to any of Northern Thailand’s savoury dishes, such as the tongue-tingling som tam (spicy green papaya salad), or a sweet dish (like intricately-carved mango). In Central Thailand, jasmine rice may act as an alternative accompaniment to the regions fiery Tom Yum (seafood soup), or the even more fiery fish curries of the South.
For any intrepid traveller, local street food is hard to beat- and nowhere is this more apt than in Thailand. In a mere five minutes, Thai street vendors can rustle up the most delicious ‘Pad Thai’ or ‘Khao Saoi’ (noodle soup in curry). Discover dishes that you did not even know existed in Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road: seafood omelettes, and- for the more adventurous- even dried insects! The Thai people’s love of markets is not restricted to land: the legendary floating markets will provide a browsing experience like no other. With these markets proving especially popular in Central Thailand, you may even get to try a ‘floating-market’ variety of the world famous Gaeng Keow Wahn Neau reu Gy- or, as you may know it, Thai Green Curry.
Just like the beautiful country itself, Thai food truly has got it all: class, complexity, and character. The country’s determination to remain distinctive is carried through to the cuisine, creating unforgettable flavours that stand apart from the crowd.