Thai food

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Thai food is widely known for being hot and spicy since
almost all Thai food is cooked with basic ingredients such as garlic, chillies,
lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander leaf and fermented fish sauce
(nampla) or shrimp paste (kapi) to make it salty.

Since rice is the staple food in Thailand, it is usually
eaten at every meal with soups, curries, fried vegetables and nam phrik. Nam
phrik is a hot sauce prepared in a variety of ways and differs from region to
region : nam phrik pla pon is a ground dried fish and chilli sauce, nam phrik
pla raa is fermented fish and chilli sauce, nam phrik kapi is a shrimp paste and
chilli sauce, nam phrik oong is a minced pork, tomato and chilli sauce. In
general, the basic ingredients of nam phrik include shrimp paste, garlic,
chilli, fermented fish sauce and lemon juice.

Common seasoning in Thai food include galingale (kha),
black pepper, ground peanut, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk. As a
result, it takes hours to prepare a proper Thai meal in the traditional way as
it involves so much peeling and chopping and pounding so it it needs time to
prepare in advance.

In fact, Thai food varies from region to region, for example,
glutinous or sticky rice is more popular in the North and Northeast than steamed
rice. Moreover, in some rural areas, certain insects are also eaten e.g.
crickets, silk worm larvae, red ant larvae.At the same time, Thai desserts are
often made from sticky rice or coconut milk, flour, egg and coconut sugar while
a variety of fruit is available all the year round.

Meanwhile, the basic characteristic taste of Thai food in
different parts of the country can be described in different ways : in the
central region, food is hot, salty, sweet and sour. Rice is served with
different types of nam phrik and soups e.g. tom yam kung (prawn soup with lemon
grass). Dishes usually contain a lot of condiments and spices.
In the North,
food is mild or hot, salty and sour, but never sweet. Sticky rice is served with
boiled vegetables, nam phrik oong and soups or curries. The North is also
well-known for its sausage called "naem" which consists of fermented minced
pork. It has a sour flavour and is sold wrapped in cellophane and banana leaf.

Food in the Northeast is hot, salty and sour. Their favourite foods include
papaya salad (som tam), sour chopped meat salad "koi" , sour minced meat salad
(larp). People use a lot of condiments but no many spices. Their meals generally
consists of sticky rice and nam phrik pla raa accompanied by a lot of vegetables
including those found growing wild.

On the other hand, food in the South is renowned for being
very hot, salty and sour-tasting. Curries are popular and made with a lot of
spices and condiments. Khao yam (a mixture of rice) raw vegetables and fermented
fish sauce or boo doo is also a common dish. Generally southern people eat
little meat and other varieties of nam phrik are not so popular, the most common
one is nam phrik kapi.

Though the major portion of Thai food is described as being
spiced and chilli hot, it currently enjoys worldwide popularity especially the
exotic Tom Yam Kung, a uniquely piquant prawn soup that is renowed for its
simplicity, creativity, artistic flair and dilicious taste.
Above all, the
tastes of Thai cuisines can be amended to suit individual desire, for example,
by reducing the amounts of lime juice to increase sourness. Visitors who have
tried the exotic Thai food will never forget to order them again whenever their
favourite dishes are available.