Thai Food

Learning: Famous Thai Food, Unique Thai Food, Thai Recipes, Thai Desserts, Thai Drinks & Thai Beverages, Thai Fruit, Thai Sauces, Thai Soup, Thai Ingredients  etc.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup-Thai FoodThai Food

Almost always, eating Thai style will involve a number of people, usually a family group, for being forced to eat alone ranks high on the Thai scale of misfortunes.

A visit to a Thai house for dinner begins with the warm welcome that is the hallmark of Thai hospitality. The host will likely offer some refreshing cool water as a prelude to session of light-hearted conversation Thai people enjoy telling jokes and teasing each other so that talk, not food, may occupy much of the early part of the visit. But then comes the time to enjoy a meal together.

Thai Food

Dishes are usually comprised of bite-sized portions, and Thai food service typically includes only a fork and a spoon. In fact a century or so ago no cutlery (apart from serving utensils) was used at traditional Thai food. The rice, whether ordinary or glutinous, was pressed into small balls with fingers and then dipped into the other dishes. European spoons and forks appeared during the nineteenth century, at first in royal circles and later taken up by the general population; the custom today is to actually eat with a dessert-sized spoon, using the fork mainly to move food around on the plate. A Chinese-style ceramic spoon is often provided if there is a soup, in which case each guest will have a small bowl as well as a plate. Knives are rarely used, since meats are already cut into bite-sized pieces, and chopsticks only when Chinese-type noodles are included.

Almost always there will be a variety of dishes, for it takes more than one or two preparations to achieve the blend of flavors Thais like. An ample supply of rice is always the centerpiece. Traditionally all of the dishes are served at the same time. The Thai cook strives for a balance of flavors, textures and colors.

Ideally, a Thai food offers a combination of flavors: sweet, hot, sour, salty and bitter. Sometimes several of these are present in a single creation, subtly blending, while in other dishes one flavor predominates. Most often, in addition to the obligatory bowl of rice, there will be a soup of some kind, a curry, a steamed dish, a fried one, a salad, and one or more of the basic sauces, probably based on nam prik (náam phrík, Thai: น้ำพริก) and / or fish sauce (nàam pla, Thai: น้ำปลา).

Thai Food

There is generally enough food to accommodate any unexpected guests who may drop in. All the dishes are placed on the table at the same time and can be eaten in no particular order. Nor are there any rigid rules about what goes with what: diners are free to mix dishes according to individual taste. Diners at the table serve themselves only one or two mouthfuls of a dish at a time, allowing everyone to share the same dishes. Serving plates are replenished as they empty. Dessert for a formal Thai food often consists of several dishes-usually fruit of some kind as well as a solid and a liquid sweet. Water and tea are still the most common liquid accompaniments, though a bottle of Thai whisky is often present at festive gatherings, to be drunk with soda and fresh lime juice.

The preferences of individual cooks will dictate how strongly the various flavors are emphasized. Then using these recipes Western cooks may wish to later them so that the flavors are sweeter, less salty or less hot. In the event that some of the ingredients may not be available outside Thailand (such as specific noodles), alternative suggestions and explanations are provided for the cook's benefit.

Thai Recipes

The Most Famous Thai recipes

Here are some of the most popular Thai recipes. Since most Thai food is cooked with fresh, organic ingredients, measurements are only a guide. When using these Thai recipes you should adjust the quantities to your personal taste.

Phad Thai GoongPhad Thai

Phad Thai is one of the most recognized and appreciated dishes in Thai culinary tradition. The following Thai recipe is a classic interpretation of the dish.

rice noodles 150gr
prawns 5pc
phad thai sauce 1tbsp
red chilli julienne 5gr
bean sprouts 10gr
green chives 10gr
sweer turnip pickle 5gr
shallot slices 5gr
hard white bean curd 10gr
crushed peanuts 1tbsp
coriander leaves 5pc
chicken egg 1pc
lime wedge 1pc
banana flower 1pc
dried shrimp powder 3gr

Heat oil in a frying pan and saut? sweet turnip, shallots and diced hard bean curd. When it turns yellow, add prawns, noodles and some water to soften. Then fry being sure to constantly turn the mixture to avoid sticking.

Add tamarind sauce and continue to saut?. Then add bean sprouts, green chive and mix thoroughly before removing heat and setting aside.

Add oil to a pan and heat. Break egg into pan and let cook. Return the noodle mixture to the pan and mix to together with crushed peanuts.

Spoon the mixture onto a plate and top with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts. Serve with bean sprouts, green chives, banana flower and lime wedge.

Tom Kha Gai (Coconut milk curry) : ต้มข่าไก่coconut milk curry

3 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
one 2cm piece of khàa or Thai ginger (or galanga) or substitute Chinese ginger if unavailable
3 stalks tàkhrái (lemon grass), bottom third only, cut into 7cm lengths (or substitute three 3cm strips lemon zest)
1/2kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
3 tbs náam plaa (fish sauce)
2 tbs fresh lime juice
3 Thai chillies, seeds and ribs removed, minced (or 1 1/2 tbs dried red chilli flakes)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tbs chopped fresh coriander leaves

In large pot, combine the coconut milk, chicken stock, ginger and lemon grass. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through - about two or three minutes. Discard the ginger and lemongrass.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice, chillies and sugar. Sprinkle coriander leaves on top and serve (Serves 6)

Yum Woon Sen (Spicy cellophane Noodle Salad)yum woon sen

120g packet of dry cellophane noodles (woon sên)
1/2 dozen medium size shelled and deveined prawns
1/4 cup (50g) chopped pork (optional)
1 tbs peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup clear chicken stock
4 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbs fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
two (or three if you like it really hot) green or red Thai chillies, chopped (or substitute 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes)
2 or 3 shallots, sliced into thin half rings
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbs fresh chopped coriander leaves, plus a few whole sprigs for garnish green or red lettuce leaves

Soak the woon sen in warm (not hot) water for about 20 minutes, and when soft, drain and set aside. In a sauté pan or small wok, fry the chopped garlic in peanut oil till it turns light brown.

Remove browned garlic and set aside. Add pork and stir fry for about half a minute, then add stock, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Stir fry for another 30 seconds or until the meat is cooked, then toss in prawns. Cook the prawns until they just turn opaque and pink - less than 30 seconds on medium-high heat.

Add the noodles, chopped chillies (or chilli flakes), shallots and green onion, and toss over medium-high heat till well mixed and heated. Just before removing from the burner, mix in the reserved browned garlic. Seve on a bed of lettuce leaves with sprigs of coriander as garnish.

Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup) : ต้มยำกุ้ง Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)
1 pound medium-size shrimp
10 mushrooms
1 stalk of lemon grass, lightly pounded and cut into 2 inches long
3 lime leaves
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of nam pla
3 tablespoons of lime juice
6 prik ki nu, pounded lightly
4 cups of water
½ cup of roughly cut cilantro leaves

Remove the shrimp shell but leave the tails (for look). Then cut open the back of each shrimp to remove the veins. Clean the mushrooms with water and dry them well before wedging each into quarters. Bring water to boil, then add lemon grass, lime leaves, and shrimps. When the shrimps turn pink, add mushrooms and salts. Remove the pot from heat after boil. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and hot peppers to taste.

Serve the soup while still hot in individual soup cups and top each cup with pieces of cilantro.

Som Tam Esan (Papaya Salad) som tam norteastern thaifood

Thai salad is delicious served with steamed sticky rice (khao neow). The papaya must be dark green and firm.
1 medium dark green papaya/pawpaw
4 garlic cloves (kratiem)
6 green Thai chilies (prik khee noo)
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup chopped green beans, in 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
2 tablespoons anchovy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lime juice or tamarind juice (ma-khaam piag)

Peel the papaya and rinse with running water to remove the acid. Remove the seeds and shred the papaya with a grater. Set aside.

Place the garlic cloves and the chilies in a mortar and mash with a pestle until crushed into chunks. Place the papaya and the remaining ingredients in the mortar and gently combine all ingredients by mixing with the pestle and a spoon. Serve cold.

(Serves 4.)

Thai Desserts

Thai desserts exhibit a unique and exquisite taste and appearance. The sweet taste, coloring Foy Thong-Thai Dessertsand elaborate details in each kind require a lot of time and skill. Real traditional Thai desserts contains only three main ingredients; flour, sugar and coconut. These three are mixed in different amounts and are cooked by various methods such as steaming, boiling, frying and grilling to produce numerous kinds of desserts. Hundreds kinds of desserts have been produced from these three main ingredients displaying great imagination and perserverance.

Tuay Fu-Thai DessertsThai desserts get their inspiration from Buddhism and its ceremonies. Therefore, the name of Thai desserts have positive meaning to wish everyone good luck and prosperity such as "kha-nom-tuay-fu" shows prosperity with its name and apperance. Another popular family of Thai desserts has "Thong" meaning "Gold" in all of the names.

Thai dessert names include Thong-yib, Thong-yod (golden ball), Foy-thong (golden Thong Yod-Thai Dessertsthreads), Thong-ek, Thong-plu, Thong-muan etc., all meant to wish everyone with gold, much money and treasure to spend forever. Nowadays, many kinds of Thai desserts cannot be found but we can still enjoy many. We can be proud of the ingenuity and the exotic taste and and the unique appearance of these pieces of Thai cooking.

Thai desserts offer a soothing finale to a spicy meal. Usually a simple meal will conclude with fresh fruit of some kind, with the more elaborate desserts reserved for special occasions. Many of the dessert recipes can double as sweet snacks, for eating at any time. Pureed banana (gluay guan), coconut delight (ma-prow kaew), and crisp sweet taro (puek chaap) all fall in this group.

At midday a cold dessert is preferred, such as short noodles rolled in coconut (kanom duang), Tab Tim Grob-Thai Dessertsan attractive tricolored noodle dish. Crispy water chestnuts (tab tim grob) is another particularly refreshing dish, with chilled water chestnuts being topped with coconut cream. Egg desserts like Thai custard (sangkaya) reflect the Portuguese in fluence on Thai custard (sangkaya) reflect the Portuguese influence on Thai cuisine. Thai custard is probably the best known Thai dessert, but there is a great diversity of desserts in the different regions.

Ta Gow-Thai DessertsIn the Northeast sticky rice squares (khao neow tad) are popular, with the rice being steamed with coconut milk. In the North, sweet rice pudding with longan (khao neow piag lamyai) is a regional specialty when longans are in season. Sticky, or sweet, rice is a short-grain glutinous rice used all over Thailand for desserts but as a staple in the North and Northeast. In the South, pudding with coconut topping (ta-gow) served in banana leaf cups is a favorite. The popular desserts of Bangkok include baked mung bean cake (kanom naw gaeng) and black glutinous rice pudding (khao neow dam piag), with its distinctive velvety plum color.

Another favorite dessert combines sticky rice with crescent slices of mango (khao neow ma-Khao Neow Mamuang-Thai Dessertsmuang). The fruit makes a tempting, sweetly tart complement to the sticky rice, all presented on a bright green banana leaf. Dessert can also be as simple as a platter of fresh fruits that are in season. They are peeled, sliced and ready to eat: papayas, watermelons, jackfruits, longans, lychees and mangoes are just some of the huge variety available.

One fruit that disdains the company of any other is the magnificent durian. It makes a strong statement with “a smell like hell and a taste like heaven”. Durian, an oval-shaped fruit with spikes, signals its presence with its aroma during Thailand’s summer-April through June when durian is in season. As the fruit ripens, the flavor becomes richer. The choicest durians are found in the province of Nonthaburi, on the periphery of Bangkok. Thailand’s wealth of fruits, as well as vegetables, also play another role during major celebrations such as national holidays when intricately carved fruit and vegetable sculptures add luster to a banquet setting. The embellishment of dishes with such sculptures is a purely Thai signature. This style of presentation, which elevates any food to one fit for royalty, is another way of showing special regard for one’s guests and this is always an important part of Thai hospitality.

Thai Drinks-Thai Beverages

Thai Beers-Thai Drinks and Thai Beverages1Thai Beers

Thai beer is becoming quite expensive in relation to the cost of other consumer activities. The Thai government has placed increasingly heavy taxes on liquor and beer, so that now about ..(..)..B out of the ..(..).. to ..(..)..B that you pay for a large beer is tax. Whether this is an effort to raise more tax revenue (the result has been a sharp decrease in the consumption of alcoholic beverages for perhaps a net decrease in revenue) or to descourage consumption, drinking can wreak havoc with your budget. One large bottle (630 ml) of Singha beer costs nearly one third the minimum daily wage of a Bangkok worker.

According to the Un's Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Thailand ranks fifth world-wide in consumption of alcohol, behind South Korea, the Bahamas, Taiwan and Bermuda, and well ahead of Portugal, Ireland and France.

Beer Three brands of beer are brewed in Thailand by Thai-owned breweries: Singha, Amarit Thai Beers Thai Drinks Thai Beveragesand Kloster. Singha (pronounced ‘Sîng’ by the Thais) is by far the most common beer in Thailand, with some 66% of the domestic market. The original recipe was formulated in 1934 by nobleman Phya Bhirom Bhakdi and his son Prachuap, who was the first Thai to earn a brewmaster's diploma from Munich's Doemens Institute. Singha is a strong, hoppy-tasting brew thought by many to be the best beer produced in Asia. The barley for Singha is grown in Thailand, the hops are imported from Germany and the rated alcohol content is 6%. Singha is sometimes available on tap in pubs and restaurants.

Kloster is quite a bit smoother and lighter than Singha and generally costs about ..(..)..B more per bottle, but it is a good-tasting brew often favoured by western visitors, expats and upwardly mobile Thais who view it as somewhat of a status symbol. Amarit NB (the initials stand for 'naturally brewed', though who knows whether it is or not) is similar in taste to Singha but a bit smoother, and is brewed by Thai Amarit, the same company that produces Kloster. Like Kloster it costs a few baht more than the national brew. Together Amarit and Kloster claim only 7% of Thailand's beer consumption. Alcoholic content for each is 4.7%.

Thai Beers Thai Drinks Thai Beverages2Boon Rawd Breweries, makers of Singha, also produce a lighter beer called Singha Gold which only comes in small bottles; most people seem to prefer either Kloster or regular Singha to Singha Gold, which is a little on the bland side. Better is Singha's new canned 'draught beer' - if you like cans.

Carlsberg, jointly owned by Danish and Thai interests, is a strong newcomer to Thailand, As elsewhere in South-East Asia, Carlsberg has used an aggressive promotion campaign (backed by the makers of Me-Khong whisky) to grab around 25% of the Thai market in only two years. The company adjusted its recipe to come closer to Singha's 6% alcohol content, which may be one reason they've surpassed Kloster and Amarit so quickly.

Singha has retaliated in advertisements suggesting that drinking Carlsberg is unpatriotic. Carlsberg responded by creating 'Beer Chang' (Elephant Beer), which matches the hoppy taste of Singha but ratchets the alcohol content up to 7%. Dutch giant Heineken opened a plant in Nonthaburi in 1995, so look for more sparks to fly.

The Thai word for beer is bia. Draught beer is bia sòt (literally, 'fresh beer').


Thai Liquors

Thai Liquors Thai Drinks Thai BeveragesThai liquors come in cheaper varieties such as lâo khão, or 'white liquor', of which there are two broad categories: legal and contraband. The legal kind is generally made fom sticky rice and is produced for regional consumption. Don't expect to find any recognizable brands as most are produced locally and aren't labeled for mass sales. Like Me-Khong and its competitors, it is 35% alcohol, but sells for ..(..).. to ..(..)..B per klom, or roughly half the price. The taste is sweet and raw and much more aromatic than the amber stuff - no amount of mixer will disguise the distinctive taste.

Thai liquors also comes in illegal varieties and are made from various agricultural products including sugar palm sap, coconut milk, sugar cane, taro and rice. Alcohol content may vary from as little as 10% or 12% to as much as 95%. Generally this lâo thèuan (jungle liquor) is weaker in the South and stronger in the North and North-East. This is the choice of many Thais who can't afford to pay the heavy government liquor taxes; prices vary but ..(..).. to ..(..)..B worth of the stronger concoctions will intoxicate three or four people. These types of home-brew or moonshine are generally taken straight with pure water as a chaser. In smaller towns, almost every garage-type restaurant (except, of course, Muslim restaurants) keeps some under the counter for sale. Sometimes roots and herbs are added to jungle liquor to enhance flavour and colour.Yaa Dong Thai Liquors
Thai liquors are also infused with herbs at times. This practice has become somewhat fashionable throughout the country and can be found at roadside vendors, small pubs and in a few guesthouses. These liquors are made by soaking various herbs, roots, seeds, fruit and bark in lâo khão to produce a range of concoctions called yàa dong. Many of the yàa dong preparations are purported to have specific health-enhancing qualities. Some of them taste fabulous while others are rank.

Thai Wine

Thai wine is on the rise as Thais become increasingly interested in wine-drinking. However, Thais still manage only a minuscule one glass per capita average consumption per year. Various enterprises have attempted to produce wine in Thailand, most often with disastrous results but that is beginning to change. There are several areas around the country that are having some success growing wine grapes. Khao Yai in Nakorn Rachasima province is fast becoming one of the most famous. These wineries are beginning to produce very drinkable wines mostly from Shiraz and Chenin Blanc However, growers are experimenting with other varieties as well.


Thai Spirits

 Me khong Thai SpiritsThai spirits are also becoming famous. Rice whisky is a big favourite in Thailand and somewhat more affordable than beer for the average Thai. It has a sharp, sweet taste not unlike rum, with an alcoholic content of 35%. The two major liquor manufacturers are Suramaharas Co and the Surathip Group. The first produces the famous Me-Khong (pronounced 'Mâe-khõng') and Kwangthong brands, the second the Hong (swan) labels including Hong Thong, Hong Ngoen, Hong Yok and Hong Tho. Me-Khong and Kwangthong cost around .....B for a large bottle (klom) or .....B for the flask-sized bottle (baen). An even smaller bottle, the kòk, is occasionally available for ..(..).. to ..(..)..B. The Hong brands are less expensive.

Thai spirits came together in the late 1980s, when the two liquor giants met and formed a Thai Spiritscommon board of directors to try to end the fierce competition brought about when a 1985 government tax increase led to a 40% drop in Thai whisky sales. The meeting has resulted in an increase in whisky prices but probably also in better distribution - Me-Khong and Kwangthong have generally not been available in regions where the Hong labels are marketed and vice versa. A third company, Pramuanphon Distillery in Nakhon Pathom, markets a line of cut-rate rice whisky under three labels: Maew Thong (Gold Cat), Sing Chao Phraya (Chao Phraya Lion) and Singharat (Lion-King).

Me Khong 2 Thai SpiritsThai spirits also include more expensive Thai whiskies appealing to the pre-Johnnie Walker set and include Singharaj blended whisky (...)..B a bottle) and VO Royal Thai whisky (.....B), each with 40% alcohol.

Thai spirits also include one true rum, that is, a distilled liquor made from sugar cane, called Sang Thip. Alcohol content is 40% and the stock is supposedly aged. Sang Thip costs several baht more than the rice whiskies, but for those who find Me-Khong and the like unpalatable, it is an alternative worth trying.