To many outsiders Thailand represents “the East” at its most beguiling and enigmatic. Golden stupas, green jungles, elephants, pristine beaches, a buzzing nightlife, and of course the hot and spicy cuisine.
A trip to Thailand will reveal that their cuisine is much more diverse and sophisticated than what is usually found in Thai restaurants abroad. In the main it is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients and strong, aromatic flavors. While it is quintessentially Southeast Asian in this regard, it has also absorbed a great deal of influence through the ingredients and cooking styles of India, China, and the West.
Indigenous Thai food has four basic categories: “dtom” (boiled), yum (spicy hot salads), “dtum” (salads or pastes pounded in a mortar), and “gaeng” (curries). Fried dishes of Chinese influence are also ubiquitous. Within Thailand there are at least four distinct regional cuisines: Central, Isan, Northern/Lanna, and Southern.
While restaurants in the main centers are used to catering to foreigners, in smaller towns many are not, and the unsuspecting tourist who chooses an interesting-looking dish from the counter may find it alarmingly fiery. There is always the option to ask for it to be served otherwise, if you are aware of this! The famously exquisite manners and hospitality of the Thais means they will be happy to cater to different tastes and cultures.
Thai etiquette is rooted in a worldview that is influenced by the country’s history, culture, and customs, as well as its longstanding interaction with foreigners. Thais put a great deal of effort into social skills in order to maintain harmony in the public realm, and their culture is a rich and sensuous one, where the many rituals of food, festival, music, and dance reveal a great love of fun and enjoyment of each other’s company. As their guest you will no doubt be made to feel at home – all the more reason not to inadvertently behave in a manner they may find offensive!
- ISBN: 9781787022966
- Format: Paperback
- Page count: 200
- Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
- Published at: £9.99 / $14.99 / CAN $19.99