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What Should Gastronauts Order at a Thai Restaurant?

Updated on April 28, 2010

Thailand stretches about 1000 miles long and borders with several countries. This unique feature has allowed their cuisine to be very varied and gives freedom to choose from their dozens of different dishes. In Thailand recipes are made light and spicy; your diet most probably will not be ruined by eating out in a Thai restaurant.

You’ll probably be more concerned about spiciness of their courses as chili is widely and often used in Thai cuisine. A common mistake is to be brave when ordering Thai food as they are more used to hot flavors. Hot on a menu in a Thai restaurant will probably mean that you won’t be able to breathe, mild to medium hot is probably a safer bet.

A common misconception though is that Thai recipes are all about curry and chili. Nothing could be further from truth as usually sweet, sour, salty and spicy are usually used in the same meal or course of meals. It is more of a balancing act than anything else. If you’re a vegetarian categorically specify no meat when ordering because almost every meal contains either some meat or fish of some sort. They put it into dishes where you would least expect it!

Thai Fishcakes
Thai Fishcakes

 Thai foods are usually served with some kind of a sauce. One of the most common variations is phrik nam pla which consists of fish sauce, lime juice, chili and garlic. Recipes differ from family to family and restaurant to restaurant but nam pla, a strong tasting and aromatic fish sauce is used in lots of dishes. It’s used as a spice of some description.

Thai-Muslims usually eat with only their right hand but otherwise spoon and fork is commonly accepted at the table. Fork is used in the left hand to push food on the spoon held in the right. Chopsticks are used sporadically to eat the great variety of Thai noodles.

Thai noodles are made of rice wheat and egg, and eaten as single dish with stir fried meats and vegetables, but commonly found in forms of noodle soup. Many Chinese dishes are adapted to Thai-taste which usually means more spicy and hot flavors.

 Some insects are eaten in Thailand, mostly the Northern regions. They’re usually deep fried and taste like bland seafood, but with a few spices added they can be great snacks.

If you’re grossed by the thought of eating insects or afraid of too hot food, or otherwise want to interfere with normal recipes, ask your server what courses they can make without these ingredients. Hospitality is a good value of Thai people and families, so if you find something uncomfortable in a Thai restaurant, always speak up and ask if it can be fixed, and as a final thought, don’t drink water to soothe chili, it will spread the burning. Milk and sugar on the other hand is great against too much spice.


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