Oriental cuisine in its many different forms has been popular in the United States for years, however there is one form of Oriental cuisine that has recently gained more popularity. Thai cuisine shares many of the styles and ingredients of other Oriental cuisines. Chances are if there is a Thai restaurant in your area then it most likely serves some of the traditional favorites of Thailand.
Many of the dishes on the menu of a Thai restaurant are similar to other oriental dishes but tend to be a bit spicier. However, not all Thai dishes are necessarily spicy hot. In fact there are several different regions of Thai cuisine, and they vary slightly in the way the food is prepared.
The last decade or so has witnessed an influx of Thai restaurants across the United States. You may have one in your area that you have been considering visiting but have hesitated because you were not familiar with the food. These following explanations of the basics of Thai cuisine and the suggestions of dishes to order may be just what you need to get motivated to visit a Thai restaurant in your area.
If you like Chinese food or enjoy rice and vegetables then chances are you will enjoy Thai food. Rice is a major ingredient used in Thai cuisine as it is in other eastern and Middle Eastern dishes. In many cases the food you order will come out in family style portions and be accompanied by a side of rice. Thai food is typically cooked in one of three ways, the most popular of which is cooking in a wok; the other two main ways are stir fry and steam cooking.
Seasoning is an important part of oriental cuisine and this is no exception with Thai food. Many of the most popular dishes will be a culmination of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It is also common to find the food served with various condiments that accent the flavor of the food.
It is common for a Thai restaurant to offer a variety of condiments to compliment the flavor of the food you order. These condiments will typically include a sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, chili powder, and fish sauce. Fish sauce is common as a condiment and there are actual several different types, one of the most popular is Nam Pla. Nam Pla is a fish sauce that is made from anchovies that have been dried with salt in an aging box. The end result is a sauce that is intense in flavor.
There are also some ingredients that are popular in many Thai dishes, these include coconut milk, ginger, lemon grass, cilantro and chilies. While rice is commonly used as a side dish there are other ways that rice is used in Thai food. Rice is used to make noodles and wrappers for spring rolls.
As far as popular Thai dishes are concerned there are few that are more popular than Pad Thai. Pad Thai translates to ‘Thai frying’. There are many variations of this dish, built they all contain noodles that are made from stir fried rice, eggs, sprouts, shallots, and a meat product such as pork or chicken. In Thailand this traditional dish is available from roadside vendors.
Another traditional dish that may be served in your local Thai restaurant is rad Na. This dish is a dish that is made with wide rice noodles, straw mushrooms, garlic and fish, poultry or sea food. This dish is covered in gravy of stock, tapioca starch or corn starch and seasoned with soy sauce.