Elements of several Southeast Asian traditions blend into the well known Thai cuisine. The dishes are lightly prepared, have strong aromas and a perfect balance of the fundamental tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Thai food might look simple but in fact it is highly complex and varies across the four main regions of the country. Separately from the regional cuisine there is the refined Thai Royal Cuisine of the Ayutthaya kingdom.
In the 1960s American troops arrived in Thailand along with many tourists that fancied the Thai restaurant specialties. In London, the number of restaurants grew in less than 25 years from four (in 1970) to almost three hundred. With so many places and specialties, many people don’t know where to begin. Here are the best 5 Thai dishes that any gourmet food aficionado will love:
Tom Yam Kung (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
Tom Yam Kung is the most common dish ordered in a Thai restaurant. Its unique flavor of sour and spicy hot makes it number one in top ten dishes loved by foreigners. Thai people also love it because besides the delicious taste, it also has medicinal properties. Herbs like lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chili pepper, shallot and galangal give the soup a powerful aroma. There are two types of Tom Yam Kung, a clear spicy version and a ticker soup cooked with coconut milk. You just have to try both and see which one you like best!
Panaeng (Meat in Spicy Coconut Cream)
Pork, chicken or beef meat are cooked in a rich coconut milk sauce to create this incredible spicy sweet dish. The Panaeng is usually served with steamed rice. Some people consider it too meaty but if you are one of those meat lovers you will find it delightful!
Pad Thai (Fried Noodle)
Phai Thai is a national dish cooked only with fresh ingredients and served with a wide variety of seasonings. There are two different styles it has evolved into, the classic one and the variation. Classic Pad Thai contains eggs, tamarind juice, fish sauce, shrimp, tofu, chili peppers and bean sprouts. The other style is not so rich and flavored.
Som Tam (Spicy Papaya Salad)
Som Tam is on the menu of every Thai restaurant because it is very popular among the natives. The spicy salad is made from fresh vegetables like papaya, tomatoes and is served with sticky rice and grilled chicken. Rich in vitamins , this authentic dish is healthy and delicious.
Moo Sa-Te (Grilled Pork Sticks with Turmeric)
Grilled pork combines with turmeric juicy sauce and curry to make an exquisite meal. The pork sticks are served with two saucy dips, a spicy one with ground peanuts, curry and coconut milk and a sweet and sour one with chopped shallot and peppers.