Thai cuisine is not easy to define. Numerous recipes use the technique of Chinese frying whereas curried dishes reflect the Indian influence. But Thai gastronomy is not an assembly of foreign culinary traditions. It is unique in the variety of flavours and by its sophisticated presentation.
Rice is indispensable to any Thai dish. It is a long special grain of exceptional quality, and once cooked, it remains shiny and transparent. Fruits and vegetables of the country are also magnificent and play an important role in the gastronomy. But, although we cannot find all the vegetables it can still be made by using a few particular vegetables.
The dominant flavour of Thai cooking is “nam pla”, called also " fish soya " or " fish sauce". It is the filtered liquid which results from the fermentation of the salty fish. As it’s very salty, we use it as well in cooking or as a condiment. This sauce can be found at all the oriental grocery shops. It can be replaced by “nuoc mam”. We also use a lot of coriander, leaves and roots, and not to forget the grains. We suggest you look for fresh coriander with its roots, and as for the grains it can be found in the spices section of any supermarket.
Thais enjoy spicy food, but prefer rather hot pepper than pepper. However do not hesitate to diminish the quantity of hot pepper according to your taste.
Garlic, ginger, French shallots and common shallots often appear in the recipes of this country, and can be obtained in any supermarket as well as basil, citronella or Laos powder. Citronella powder, or Sereh powder must be used in little amounts because of its strong lemon flavour. It can be bought in Indian stores or it can be replaced by a zest of lemon.
Thais use a lot of soya sauce and coconut milk which can easily be found at supermarkets.
Thais adopted the usage of spoon and fork. Knives are not necessary given that meat, poultry and fish are always cut in very small pieces.
The display of dishes has a big importance for the Thai people. Certain deserts are even presented in young green coconuts. We serve for example a cream prepared with coconut milk mixed with eggs and steamed. It is called sankhaya.