While Thai food has a reputation for being spicy, Thai food is actually based on a balance between different flavours including spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter. Thai cuisine is essentially a marriage of centuries-old Eastern and Western influences harmoniously combined into something uniquely Thai. A largely benign climate allows year-round cultivation of crops and harvests, agriculture has long been the mainstay of the Thai economy, with abundant natural resources, and the majority of the Thai population engage in agricultural practices. Rice is the staple food for Thais, eaten with most meals, from breakfast to dessert. In fact, in Thai language, if you say you are hungry or you want to eat you literally say “kin khao”, which means “eat rice”. Fish were equally plentiful, not only in the myriad waterways but also in the seas. Fruits were undoubtedly plentiful as well, along with mushrooms that grew wild in the forests and a variety of vegetables. Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) ingredients.
Thai food has an enchanting history of how their cuisine has evolved over time with various foreign influences. Traditionally, Thais prepared their meals by stewing, baking, and grilling. Black pepper was the essential ingredient used to heat up their dishes. As Thai people were influenced by the Chinese and Indian cultures, their approach to the Thai cuisine began to transform. The Chinese influence introduced Thais to frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying. Noodles were also a Chinese influence. The Indian food cuisine opened up the doors for Thai people to use spices in curries. Portuguese missionaries brought chilies and tomatoes to the area as well. Thai food became spicier and the use of fresh herbs increased. Other culinary influences, also including what is now known as Malaysia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Dutch, French and Japanese. Although it contains flavours and techniques from foreigners, Thai has been so skilfully combined and refined that the resulting dishes have a new and exciting character.
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