Thai cuisine is really better described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country. The cooking of Thailand has been influenced by China and India while maintaining a unique taste of its own. Like Vietnamese food, Thai food uses fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices as well as the ingredient found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country: nam pla, a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce.
From palace food to street snacks, the many cuisines of Thailand offer the culinary enthusiast a lifetime of exploration. Fiery hot curries, slippery rice noodles, soothing lemon grass, tangy green papaya—these are just some of the wide range of flavors that permeate the former kingdom of Siam.
Over the years, the mountainous north, long isolated from the rest of the country, developed its own native culture with a language, crafts and customs as different from those of central Thailand as is Portugal from Spain, and is heavily influenced by its neighbors Burma and Laos. The southern jungles and coastlines offer coconuts, cashews, pineapples, seafood and crustaceans to its millions of Muslims and Malaysian-influenced peoples. In between, rice, guavas, cucumbers and other foods are reaped from the central region's paddy fields, orchards and vegetable gardens.
from Kate's Global Kitchen
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This page modified January 2007
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