• Vera Tornow

Feasting on the Flavors of Thailand

Most people in modern society are no stranger to Thai food. There are Thai restaurants popping up anywhere in most cities in the world. However, being in Thailand and actually savoring the authentic Thai flavors is an absolutely different gastronomic and cultural experience.

One thing that distinguishes Thai food from other cuisines is the exotic tastes and fragrances that make up every Thai dish. Whether you are in a fine dining restaurant or simply walking along Wang Lang Market looking at the street food, your visual and olfactory senses will be satiated by the beautiful and colourful arrangement and delicious aroma of the various Thai dishes that are being prepared in front of you. 

An authentic Thai dish typically features a harmonious combination of at least two of the four essential flavors: 

·  Salty - Thai food is not Thai food without the signature taste of seasonings such as fish sauce or shrimp paste. 

·  Spicy - It is a common misconception that all Thai food are spicy because they typically use a lot of chilli to make their dishes. What I learned from my taste travel in Thailand is that there are a lot types of chilies that do not make you sweat or burn your tongue. In addition, they are full of vitamin C, which is good for you. Just make sure to avoid the small chilies if you’re not a big fan of spicy food.

·  Sour –That tangy flavour mixed with the spicy chilli that you taste when you first sip your tom yum soup comes from local lime that creates a perfect balance of the authentic Thai flavors. In other dishes they may use tamarind or other sour fruits to balance the palate.

·  Sweet –Sweetness of Thai dishes come from their abundant choices of delicious local fruits or sometimes palm sugar. Thais are also known for their sweet and delicately crafted fruit-based desserts. 

There are also some dishes that would combine all four essential flavors, having one dominant taste while still being able to discern the faint taste of the other flavors. Just like in most things in life, the key to Thai cuisine is balance. And everyone in Thailand, from the street food vendors to restaurant chefs seem to have mastered this style, which gives travelers like me, pleasurable meal time experiences.

One of my favourite places to get good Thai food is the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. It features a long street filled with stalls that sells a plethora of Thai treats, including sumptuous pad Thai, traditional Thai pancakes with fruits, fresh seafood, spring rolls, lots of different cakes and various brightly coloured fruits. What’s even more amazing is how cheap they sell all these delicious food.

If you’re into making your own food, Thai cooking is something you might be interested in. Thai cuisine uses a lot of ingredients that are good for the body. Fisherman’s Village also have some stalls that sell authentic Thai spices that will give your dish that typical Thai taste and flavour. You can find ingredients that are good for you and promote healthier body and mind such as turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, coriander, chilli and coconut milk that you can use to make your own curry.

Aside from the multitude of other stuff and trinkets that you can buy in Fisherman’s Village, this place is an excellent place for a foodie traveller. You get immersed in the local tradition and experience the snacking culture of the Thais, as it is so easy to pick up some snacks while you are walking along the streets shopping. It is definitely quite an experience.

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