From Tokyo to Cape Town to Paris to Costa Rica, every corner of the world comes with a unique cuisine that is true to its culture.
And for those who love to travel, the restrictions and limitations of exploring new places we’ve seen over the last several months can be frustrating. Those international trips to explore a new country or just a trip to another state may have been rescheduled or altered despite our liking. And especially for foodies, that lack of travel also means the need to develop new, creative ways to explore different types of cuisines without actually stepping foot in the country.
While we’re not saying you can completely recreate a traditional dish of a type of cuisine you have yet to experience, there are ways you can bring international cuisines right into your own kitchen.
One type of cuisine that can be very exciting to try is Thai. If you’re not familiar with Thai-inspired food, it is a cuisine from the country of Thailand, rich with Asian influences. Flavors can be complex or basic, suitable for a variety of pallets and heat tolerances. Perhaps you’ve dined at or ordered takeout from a local, authentic Thai restaurant where you’ve seen some of these key components.
Ready to give it a try? Grab your imaginary passport because you can get a taste of Thailand right in your own kitchen. Here we share some interesting things to know about this flavor-packed and vibrant type of cuisine as well as some delightful recipes you’ll want to try out on your international adventure.
Like most other types of cuisines, Thai is centered around a few main components and flavor profiles that are characteristic of its dishes. Typical Thai dishes include five main key flavors. These include spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. A quality and well-seasoned dish will bring out all five of these components.
Often in a Thai-inspired spread, you’ll find a meat or fish dish as well as several vegetable sides. Sometimes there’ll also be a noodle dish and a soup. Due to its proximity to India, many Indian spices and flavors are integrated into Thai cuisine. Other influences include those from other close countries like Malaysia or Vietnam.
In Thailand, food can serve as a central focus in a get-together or other occasion, so food is always a reason to celebrate. Food is often shared, which promotes a feeling of unity and community among your fellow diners. It’s also important to remember that in Thailand, different regions of the country may have their own spin on their cuisines, mainly due to the various influences of surrounding regions.
One of the most foundational elements to Thai cuisine is rice. It’s served with just about every meal and is so versatile both in it how it’s prepared and how it’s used. Additionally, noodles may also be part of the meal, although it’s not as commonly found as rice. Soups are often served with rice, sometimes noodles to be even more filling.
Thai can also be known for turning up the heat with chilies in stir-fries and curries. While there certainly are some dishes that you’ll need to prepare your tastebuds for, not all Thai food is spicy. A main meat or fish dish is accompanied by fresh vegetables and vibrant herbs to add complexity and intrigue to the flavor profile of the meal.
The region of Thailand you’re interested in exploring may also include different ingredients and herbs that are characteristic of the area. However, regardless of the region, there remains a strong connection to Chinese cuisine in Thai food.
Walking the streets of Thailand, visiting markets and dining at authentic eateries is something really only experienced in-person. While we may not be able to completely recreate every authentic Thai dish, even if we are familiar with Thai culture, the versatility and brightness of Thai cuisine is something worth a try. If you’ve always wanted to go to Thailand, or are just curious about what makes their cuisine so delightful, here are some recipes to help give you a little taste of this delicious cuisine.
One of the most well-loved dishes in Thai cuisine, this noodle dish is easily customizable. Include the veggies that you love most and choose whatever meat you’ve got in the house. You can also amp up the heat in your pad thai dish by adding in some hot sauce or other spicy vinegar. This basic recipe includes a wide range of veggies and spices like paprika, chive and garlic. You can also incorporate a protein like shrimp like in this sesame pad thai recipe. With a splash of Ginger & Honey balsamic, it brings a bright and engaging flavor you’re sure to love.
This noodle dish is sweetened with a coconut milk-based stew. Yet there’s a pop of spiciness that comes in with a chili paste. This recipe brings a spicy paste and a creamy soup together for a delightful culinary experience.
Bring the sweet and spicy together with this vibrant rice recipe. This recipe uses coconut milk and pineapple to offset the spicy curry powder. Serve with meat or just by itself.
Bring a punch of peanut with your boring ramen noodles in this Thai-inspired recipe. These noodles bring in strong flavors like sesame, sriracha, Ginger & Honey balsamic and a Spicy Korean balsamic. The crushed nuts on top give it a pleasing texture with the creamy peanut noodles.
These wrapped up veggie and meat packets are found throughout Asian cuisine. These spring rolls with peanut sauce include things like spinach, mint, rice, pork shrimp and flavored with lemon and gremolata.
Turn up the heat on your tofu with this Thai-inspired blend of flavors including sriracha and sesame. The sugar and peanut butter added in the recipe helps to cut down on the spice while elevating the flavor of both the bok choy and tofu.
Sure, going to Thailand and cooking up a Thai-inspired recipe isn’t exactly the same. Yet with the opportunities of Thai cuisine to learn more about culture and discover some really great food, it’s worth a try. Test out these recipes for yourself, make them your own and take a mini trip to Thailand without ever leaving your kitchen.
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