Thai food is widely known for being hot and spicy since almost all of it is cooked with basic ingredients such as garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander with added fish or shrimp sauces and pastes.
Rice is the staple: it is eaten at every meal with soups, curries, and fried vegetables. Usually nam phrik is also added, a hot sauce prepared in a variety of ways. Nam Phrik Pla Pon is a ground dried fish and chilli sauce, nam phrik pla is a fermeted fish and chilli sauce, nam phirk kap is a shrimp paste and chilli sauce, nam phrik oon is a minced pork, tomato and chilli sauce.
Other common seasonings include black pepper, ground peanut, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk. As a result it can take hours to prepare a proper Thai meal as it involves so much peeling, chopping and pounding.
In fact, food in Thailand various from region to region. Glutinous or sticky rice is more popular than steamed rice in the North and North east, for example. Moreover, in some rural areas, certain insects are also eaten (like crickets, silk worm larvae, red ant larvae). At the same time, Thai deserts are often made from sticky rice or coconut milk with flour, egg and coconut sugar. A variety of fruits are available all year round.
Meanwhile the basic characteristic taste of food in Thailand 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, i.e.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 ‘aem’ which consists of fermented minced pork. It has a sour flavour and is sold wrapped in cellophane or banana leaf.
Food in the North east is hot, salty and sour. Favourite foods include papaya salad, sour chopped meat salad, sour minced meat salad. People use a lot of condiments but not many spices. Meals generally consist of sticky rice and nam prhak pla raa accompanied by a lot of vegetables.
On the other hand, food in the south is renowned for being very hot, salty and sour. Curries are popular and made with a lot of spices and condiments. Khao yam, a mixture of vegetables and fermented fish sauce is common. Generally southern people eat little meat and other varieties of nam phrik are not so popular.