No announcement yet.

Regional Thai Food | Northeast

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Regional Thai Food | Northeast

    Introduction to the Regional Thai Cuisine
    Click image for larger version

Name:	Som-Tam-Green-Papaya-Salad.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	168.1 KB
ID:	5548

    Thai food varies regional due to geography and history. In the West, most Thai restaurants serve Bangkok-style cuisine, so traveling in Thailand is a culinary adventure of discovery. TheIsan Food (Northeast)is famous for being very spicy and pungent, seasoned with fresh herbs and fermented fish (plah rah), featuring some of Thailand's spiciest salads. The cuisine has more in common with that of Laos then the rest of Thailand, as Isan people historically have been influenced by their neighboring county's culture and speak a dialect that is closely related to Laos.

    Typical Northeast (Isan) Dishes:
    • Somtam, the green unripe papaya salad made in Thai or Lao-style is this regions most famous dish
    • Khao Niao or sticky rice is widely preferred over jasmine rice. Served in small, covered, bamboo baskets called gktratip, diners roll a small portion into a ball and eat with grilled chicken or naem a slightly fermented sausage with a mildly sour taste
    • Gai Yang chicken marinated in soy or fish sauce and spices, flattened and grilled
    • Pork or beef prepared naam dtok style is charred, then dressed with fresh herbs and fiery dried chilies
    • Naam jaew, a paste-like dip for meat made of dried chilis, tamarind, fresh shallots and shrimp paste
    • Laap bpet, pungent duck salad cooked with or without duck's blood
    • Pla ra, pla som, and pla daek, types of fermented fish are considered the signature elements of Isan food. Pla ra is the Isan equivalent of fish sauce and is often used to season curries.
    • Chili pastes known as jaew are a combination of spicy chilies, garlic, salt, pla ra and lime juice
    • Isan people have a reputation for eating practically anything for protein including frogs, birds, snakes, and even insects
    The Northeast or Isaan region of Thailand is a wide plateau with the Mekong River forming the border with Laos to the north and Cambodia to the south. The climate is extreme, swinging between a hot, dry season and an extremely wet season, causing yearly droughts and floods. Rice does not grow consistently here, nor do most other crops, making it Thailand's poorest region economically, both historically and today.

    Most of the rivers that cross the Isaan plateau flow into the Mekong rather than towards Central Thailand. As this complicates water travel into Central Thailand, the Isan region shares a lot culturally, linguistically and culinary with its neighboring countries, with many Lao and Khmer-speaking people residing in Isan today.

    TheIsan food is very hot and flavored with pungent herbs and seasonings, with some of Thailand's spiciest salads. The intense flavors of Isaan food is one way of managing an insecure food supply – very hot, flavorful dishes encourage diners to diffuse the flavors with a lot of sticky rice.

    Fresh herbs like dill, basil, and mint make a bracing balance to the heat, usually from dried chilies. Mineral salts and a thicker, rustic fish sauce called pla ra - give a distinctive salty flavor. Fruits like sour hog plums or tamarind add sourness. Isan food is relatively simple, employing a smaller range of spices and seasonings then the other regions in Thailand.

    Few large trees grow in Isan, so residents have had less access to wood for cooking. For this reason, Isan cuisine includes a large range of pickled and cured foods and when food can be eaten raw, it often is. Raw vegetables are served alongside spicy dips and fresh, spicy salads like somtam, with two main types - Thai-style somtam adds dried shrimp, peanuts, tomatoes and fish sauce while Lao-style somtamis pounded with fermented crab and pla ra.Isan-style laap is like those of Laos, are often made of minced raw meat, “cooked” ceviche-style in an acidic sauce.

    Soups and curries are simple concoctions of boiled preserved fish and forest vegetables, with grilled shallots, chillies and coconut milk often added to the curries. In the southern part of the Isaan region, the food more closely resembles the Thai food of the Central area with coconuts and long-grain jasmine rice being more prevalent then sticky rice. Grilled or roasted chicken, pork, and beef are often served alongside sauces or mixed with roasted ground rice in laap.

    Perhaps the most unusual feature of Isan food is their taste for water buffalo (less appreciated elsewhere in Thailand) and jungle creatures like rice-field beetles, geckos, lizards, frogs and sour red-ant eggs.
    Last edited by Ratatouille; 08-15-2021, 12:46 PM.

  • #2
    Delicious Northern Thailand - Isan Food

    Isan, the northeastern region of Thailand, is possibly the most underrated region in the country in terms of tourism. However, its delicious cuisine dominates the Thai culinary scene. You can find most of the region’s dishes across the country, whether in restaurants or street food stalls. Bordering with Laos, Isan food has strong Laotian influences. The dishes consist of many herbs and spices, so they tend to be hot and flavourful. Below, we’ve compiled 10 delicious Isan food you have to try while you’re in Thailand.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	thai-food-som-tum-papaya-salad.jpg Views:	0 Size:	112.0 KB ID:	5549

    Som Tum (Papaya Salad)
    Som tum, or papaya salad, is perhaps the first food that comes to mind when people think of Isan food. There are many versions of this papaya salad, but the dish generally includes fresh green papaya slices, lime, fish sauce, peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, and chilli. The dish has a perfect mixture of sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy. You can usually choose the level of spiciness to match your taste, from not spicy to extra spicy. Thai people eat som tum any time of day, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a snack. It’s usually enjoyed with sticky rice or rice noodles.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	green-papaya-salad-gd0b51e22a_1280.jpg Views:	0 Size:	122.0 KB ID:	5550

    Gai Yang (Grilled Chicken)
    Grilled chicken might be a simple and standard dish, but it’s a staple Isan food you need to try. What makes this dish unique is the marination process and cooking style. The meat is usually marinated in a simple sauce that consists of lemon juice, sugar, garlic, coriander root, black peppercorn, fish sauce, and sauce. Then, the chicken is cooked slowly over a charcoal grill. Thanks to the marinade, gai yang is bursting with flavour. In addition, the charcoal grill infuses an appetizing smoky taste. The dish is often eaten with sweet and sour tamarind sauce, making it even more delicious and will have you coming back for more. It’s easy to find this grilled chicken in Northeast Thailand since almost every Isan street vendor and store offers the dish on their menu.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Chicken.jpg Views:	0 Size:	130.5 KB ID:	5552

    Laab (Minced Meat Salad)
    Although Thai people consider laab (or larb) a salad, it’s actually closer to spiced meat than a salad. The meat (pork, beef, chicken, or duck) is minced then cooked in its own juices. Vegans and vegetarians can use mushrooms to substitute minced meat. Then, the minced meat is mixed with lime juice, fish sauce, toasted rice powder, chilli flakes, and mint leaves. The result is a salty and smoky flavour perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are also uncooked versions of laab, but it’s not for the faint of heart!
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Laab.jpg Views:	0 Size:	96.5 KB ID:	5553

    Nam Tok (Grilled Meat Salad)
    Nam Tok is very similar to Laab. However, instead of minced meat, it uses grilled meat as its main ingredient. There are two variations of nam tok: Nam to moo (grilled pork salad) and nam tok neua (grilled beef salad). Like larb, the sauce of Nam tok is made of lime juice, fish sauce, mint leaves, fresh green onions, and ground dried chillies. Fun fact, nam tok means waterfall in Thai. Legend has it that it’s named Nam tok from the sound of the meat juices hitting the hot coals, which resembles a waterfall’s crashing water.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Nam-tok.jpg Views:	0 Size:	133.5 KB ID:	5554

    Tom Saap (Hot and Sour Soup)
    Tom saap is the northeastern version of the world-famous Tom Yum soup. The broth-based soup is quite simple. It consists of pork bones (usually the ribs), galangal, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and plenty of fresh chillies. Wild mushrooms can be used instead of pork bones to make the vegetarian version of this hearty dish. Tom saap has every component of Thai taste – sour, spicy, salty, and flavourful. In addition, it’s light, savoury, and satisfying.


    • #3
      Sai Krok Isan (Isan Sausage)
      Sai Krok Isan is possibly one of the most common street foods you’ll find in Thailand. This scrumptious fermented sausage is made of pork meat and rice. It’s prepared in small balls, seasoned with garlic and salt, and cooked on a grill. The fermentation and cooking process of the sausage causes it to taste smoky and tangy. Street food vendors usually serve sai krok Isan with fresh chilli, sliced ginger, and raw cabbage on the side. One of the most delicious ways to enjoy the sausages is to roll them in a cabbage leaf together with fresh chillies and sliced ginger.​
      Click image for larger version  Name:	Isan-Saussages.jpg Views:	0 Size:	52.7 KB ID:	5556

      Jim Jum (Thai Hot Pot)
      Jim Jum is the Thai version of the Chinese hot pot. It consists of Thai infused broth, herbs, local vegetables, your meat of choice, and glass noodles. In addition, a few cups of different sauces are served on the side. The aromatic and tasteful broth is served in a little clay pot, where you can dip and cook the other ingredients. Slowly cook your own food while enjoying a few beers with friends – it’s fantastic!
      Click image for larger version  Name:	Jim-Jum.jpg Views:	0 Size:	90.8 KB ID:	5557

      Kor Moo Yang (Grilled Pork Neck)
      If you like pork, kor moo yang or grilled pork neck is definitely a must try. The main ingredient of this delicious dish is pork neck marinated in fish sauce, palm sugar, and oyster sauce. The slices of pork neck are then barbecued to perfection over hot charcoal. The result is the softest slices of pork neck that melt away in your mouth. Enjoy the delicious grilled pork neck with sticky rice and dipping sauce for a tasty and incredibly filling meal.
      Click image for larger version

Name:	Koor-Moo-Yang.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	236.9 KB
ID:	5558

      Gaeng Om (Isan Curry)
      Gaeng om, or simply called om, is a type of Isan curry. Although it’s considered a curry, don’t expect to get a thick and creamy soup because the soup is usually made of freshly-pounced paste without coconut cream. The base paste consists of lemongrass, shallots, chilli, lemon basils, and cilantro. There are several meat options to choose from, including pork, chicken, catfish, frog, and pond snail. The selection of vegetables used usually differ for each meat used.
      Click image for larger version

Name:	Gaeng-Om.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	128.8 KB
ID:	5559

      Gaeng Naw Mai (Bamboo Shoot Curry)
      Gaeng naw mai is actually a Laotian curry, but it’s made its way into Isan and steals everyone’s heart with its funky taste. The main ingredient of this dish is bamboo shoots, which is boiled beforehand to reduce the bitter taste. In some cases, mushrooms and orange pumpkins are added to the dish. Like gaeng om, the curry part of gaeng naw mai is thin and soupy since it doesn’t contain any coconut cream. The curry has a distinct greenish-brown colour because it consists of yanang juice, a medicinal green leaf pounded in water that doesn’t really add any flavour to the dish. Besides bamboo shoots and yanang juice, gaeng naw may also contain fermented fish sauce and fresh Thai chillies. As a result, it tastes a bit sour, earthy, and pungent.


      • #4
        Tom Saap (Hot and Sour Soup)
        Tom saap is the northeastern version of the world-famous Tom Yum soup. The broth-based soup is quite simple. It consists of pork bones (usually the ribs), galangal, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and plenty of fresh chillies. Wild mushrooms can be used instead of pork bones to make the vegetarian version of this hearty dish. Tom saap has every component of Thai taste – sour, spicy, salty, and flavourful. In addition, it’s light, savoury, and satisfying.
        Click image for larger version

Name:	Tom-Saap.jpg
Views:	12
Size:	117.0 KB
ID:	5560


        • #5
          Spice up your life with Thai food: background, evolution, and influence

          Thai food is a cuisine that is beloved by people all over the world for its complex and diverse flavors. From the sour tang of Tom Yum soup to the spicy kick of Green Curry, Thai food offers a unique culinary experience that satisfies the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression. But Thai cuisine is more than just a delicious meal. It’s a reflection of the country’s rich history and cultural influences. The story of Thai food is one that spans centuries. It has roots in various countries and cultures that have come together to create a unique and vibrant culinary tradition. In this article, we will explore the history and cultural significance of Thai food, from its background and earliest roots to its modern-day popularity.

          The Evolution of Thai Cuisine
          Thai food has undergone significant changes and evolution over the centuries in its background. As a result, we get to enjoy the diverse and complex dishes we know and love today. The development of Thai cuisine can be traced back to ancient times. During those times, it was influenced by neighboring countries such as India and even Persia. These early influences laid the foundation for Thai cuisine and shaped its use of spices, herbs, and flavor combinations. During the Sukhothai era (1238-1438), Thai cuisine began to incorporate more indigenous ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. These ingredients became staples in many Thai dishes and helped to create the unique and distinct flavors of Thai cuisine. Later, during the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767), Thai cuisine was further influenced by the Chinese. This period saw many Chinese immigrants moving to Thailand, bringing with them their own culinary traditions and ingredients. Many Thai dishes were adapted to include Chinese flavors and ingredients. This results in dishes such as Khao Man Gai (Hainanese-style chicken rice) and Pad See Ew (stir-fried noodles with soy sauce and vegetables).

          The Importance of Herbs and Spices in Thai Cuisine
          One of the most distinctive features of Thai cuisine is its use of herbs and spices. These ingredients are not only used for flavor but also for their medicinal and health benefits. For example, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, while galangal is believed to improve digestion. Thai cuisine makes use of a wide range of herbs and spices, including coriander, basil, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. These ingredients are often used in combination with one another. That’s why Thai food has complex and layered flavors that are both satisfying and delicious.

          The Balance of Flavors in Thai Cuisine
          Another key element of Thai cuisine is the balance of flavors. Thai food is known for its combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors, creating a complex and satisfying taste. The balance of flavors is achieved through the use of ingredients. Some of the most common are tamarind, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili peppers.

          Freshness and Local Ingredients in Thai Cuisine
          Thai cuisine also places a strong emphasis on the use of fresh ingredients and local produce. Many Thai dishes are made with fresh herbs and vegetables that are grown locally. Thus, you can find that the dishes are not only delicious but also healthy and nutritious.

          Popular Thai Dishes
          There are many popular Thai dishes that have gained recognition and become famous worldwide. Some of the most well-known dishes include Pad Thai, a stir-fried rice noodle dish with eggs, peanuts, and bean sprouts. Another popular one is Tom Yum, a spicy and sour soup made with shrimp or chicken and flavored with lemongrass, galangal, and lime. In addition, Green Curry is also popular. It’s a curry dish made with coconut milk, green chilies, and meat or seafood. In conclusion, Thai cuisine is a reflection of the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. From its early influences by neighboring countries to the adaptation of Chinese flavors and ingredients, Thai food has undergone significant evolution over the centuries in its background. Its use of herbs and spices, balance of flavors, and emphasis on fresh and local ingredients have made it a unique and delicious cuisine that is enjoyed by people all around the world.​