If you love authentic Thai cuisine, then you would already know that the food of this Southeast Asian destination is all about striking a balance between five flavours: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. But did you know that it is also split into four key regions?
Thai cooking instructor Professor Srisamon Kongpun sets out to demystify Thai cuisine, appearing on various television programs, teaching at the Palace School of Thai Cuisine, lending her expertise to a range of culinary committees, and consulting to Thai restaurants in Thailand and around the world.
Professor Srisamon has also penned more than 25 Thai recipe books. Here she reveals the regional variations of Thailand, including key Thai ingredients and Thai cooking styles.
“Thai cuisine has widely been known for its diversity, which is divided into four regional types of food: Central, North, North-East and South,” says Professor Srisamon. “ This diversification reflects Thailand’s abundancy of natural resources of each region, as well as its own culture.”
“The Central region is the most abundant with natural resources, and therefore there are many more recipes here than other regions,” says the Professor. “It has two different styles of cooking: palace cuisine, which is more delicate and decorative; and local cuisine which is more simple. The main characteristic is its balance of the five different tastes, and its use of various herbs and spices.”
“Northern food is quite mild in taste, but more greasy because of its cold climate in mountainous areas. However, it uses lots of herbs and spices, which reduces the fattiness of the food.”
“North-Eastern food represents the dry and hot climate of the highlands. The tastes are more salty and spicy to balance the body’s minerals, many of which are lost to the heat. It does not use much oil or coconut milk.”
“Southern food is quite abundant in seafood, owing to its long coastal areas, and lots of rain during six months of the year. Coconut trees are grown everywhere. The taste of southern cuisine is known as being very hot, however it uses lots of vegetables and herbs such as turmeric to dilute is spiciness.
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