Regional Thai Cuisine
You might have associated Thai cuisine with different things: a single dish that you have already tasted in Thailand, food combining multiple spices and vegetables, or tangy flavors much different than the ones you are used to.
It is very natural that the Thai cuisine does not evoke a single dish or one simple definition in your mind. Because when we say "Thai cuisine", it does not actually define the entire country's cuisine. "Thai cuisine” is rather an umbrella term of cuisines with different characteristics in different parts of Thailand.
The Thai cuisine is divided into 4 different regions. The reason for this are geographical and historical differences of course. Different crops grow in different regions of Thailand and the interaction of these regions with the neighboring countries are pretty different. These facts have divided Thailand's cuisine into subcategories and thus enriched it.
The cuisine of the Central Thailand or Bangkok Region is perhaps the most tasted one, as Bangkok is usually the first stop for people who visit Thailand. Many rivers intersect in this region, and it is very convenient for growing rice and many other vegetables.
Because of its central location, Central Thailand also offers dishes from other regions. Central Thailand hosts the capital city Bangkok, which is the first city that comes to mind when it comes to Thailand. The dishes of this region are prepared according to the most characteristic feature of the Thai cuisine; they combine bitter, salty, sweet and sour tastes in one dish. But compared to other regions, the tastes of this region are not really tangy.
In this region where the royal palace is located, more complex cooking techniques were adopted to prepare elaborate dishes for the royal palace. Jasmine rice is the prominent rice variety of this region which covers Bangkok and its surroundings.
Dishes peculiar to Northern Thailand, the region which borders Burma and Laos, are mainly bitter and sour. In this mountainous and jungly region, greenery is often used as ingredient. Those who were first introduced to Central Thai cuisine may not find the same types of dishes in the Northern Region. But the unique tastes of this region are also worth trying. In this region the “sticky rice” variety is common. Sticky rice, which can be consumed hot or cold, is often made rolled into small balls. Noodles, another food peculiar to Northern Thailand, is also commonly consumed as egg noodles and as fried noodles. Although it is a mountainous region, coconut milk is also a common ingredient used in dishes.
The most important difference of the flavors in Northeast Thailand, also called the Isaan Region, is that the flavors here are very spicy. But while people who live here love the powerful spicy flavors, they don't prefer too salty or too bitter ones. In this relatively lesser-known region of Thailand, dishes are usually prepared by boiling and grilling and are thus quite healthy. Dishes containing meat are prepared with more usual meat types such as chicken, fish, and shrimp. But people who visit the Isaan region should be prepared to see that frogs or insects are also used while cooking.
Known for its unique beaches such as the beaches of Phuket Island, the Southern Thai Region is a region that deserves to be known with its cuisine. Dishes unique to this region are spicy curries, soups and salads. This region of Thailand, exports the most seafood in the whole country and uses plenty of fish sauce and seafood in its own cuisine. The most spicy and saltiest flavors come from Southern Thailand. Coconut oil and coconut milk are widely used thanks to the abundance of the coconut trees here. Curries and soups prepared with coconut milk are thicker that in the other regions. Pineapple is also widely grown in this region and is often used to give dishes a unique taste.
Papaya Salad and Chicken/Steak/Seabass cooked Isaan style - a dish special to Northeastern Thailand, Red Curry or Green Curry and Jasmine Rice peculiar to Central Thailand are ready for you to try them!