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Regional Thai Food | South

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  • Regional Thai Food | South

    Introduction to the Regional Thai Cuisine
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    In the South of Thailand there is an abundance of coconut trees and seafood. Food in the South is renowned for being strong in taste - very hot, salty and sour. Spicy curries are eaten every day, especially coconut curry and sour curry. Generally Southerners eat more seafood than meat, because they reside close to the sea. The most common dipping sauce or paste is nam phrik kapee (also called nam chuke), eaten with raw vegetables and crispy fried fish. This dipping sauce is prepared with the best quality shrimp paste (kapee or kuey), fresh chilies (prik kee noo), a bit of palm sugar and fresh lime juice. Southern Thai food is renowned in Thailand for being the spiciest of all regional cuisines.

    Typical Southern Dishes:
    • Flaky, folded roti, fried on a griddle, comes alongside Southern curries at breakfast time and roti filled with grilled bananas and drizzled with condensed milk, is a night-market snack favorite in the rest of Thailand
    • Gaeng Sohm - a sour orange-colored fish and sour pineapple curry
    • Gaeng Masumam - a rich and sweet Indian-influenced coconut-milk curry based in dried curry powder and fresh herbs
    • Thai-style grilled meat Satay is slivers of chicken or beef threaded on sticks, dipped into spicy peanut sauce, served with a relish of pickled cucumber and chilies. (ajad)
    • Broad, twisty Sator beans (twisted cluster beans) often fried with fresh shrimp, chilies and plenty of shrimp paste - perhaps to kill their distinct smell!
    • Khao Yam - a crunchy breakfast “rice salad” of naturally-colored steamed jasmine rice, roasted shredded coconut, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, pulverized dried shrimp, lots of local vegetables and lime juice in a special spicy and sweet sauce called nahm boo-doo.
    • Chinese-style filter coffee and snacks like steamed salabao buns
    • Gaeng Tai Pla - fermented fish stomach curry, is one of the regions most famous dishes
    • Goong Gatee Naw My Sot, shrimp and fresh bamboo shoots in coconut milk
    Southern Thailand usually refers to the area south of Bangkok and continuing down into the finger-like Isthmus of Kra, a narrow strip of land bordered on the west by Burma, and widening out down to the border with Malaysia. The Isthmus is climatically and geographically dramatic, getting the longest monsoon in the country and with striking rock formations and cliffs lining its coasts. Rice is not the major crop here, and agriculture instead revolves around huge banana and coconut plantations, and freshly-caught fish from the sea.

    The Isthmus was the first point of contact for seagoing people from India, the Middle-East, and the West and it still supports a large Muslim population. One-third of the population of the southern provinces is Muslim, and their culture and food is very different from that of their Thai Buddhist neighbors. Thai Muslims tend to live in fishing communities on the coast, while the Buddhists live on inland farms or in cities. Though the majority of the Muslims in the South speak Thai and consider themselves to be Thai, in the Deep South, bordering Malaysia, they might also be Malay-speaking (Yawei Dialect) and have less connection to the rest of Thailand.

    Southern food is the hottest in Thailand, often seasoned with fresh tiny bird's eye chilies (prik kee noo) and its usual tastes are spicy, salty and sour. The curries are colored red, yellow and orange employing both dried and fresh turmeric which is often rubbed into seafood to kill its “fishy” flavor. Southern curries make generous use of coconut milk and coconut oil, often boiled with sour pineapple and tamarind to balance the richness of the coconut milk.

    When Central Region curries, like green and red curry, are prepared in the South, they are usually hotter and use much more shrimp paste (kapi) to intensify their flavor. The thick curries made by Thai Muslims often use ghee or yogurt in place of coconut and add fragrant dried spices like cumin and cardamon to the curry paste, in addition to the usual fresh herbs and spices used in the rest of the region.

    Because the South has a huge coastline, fish and seafood are a major part of everyday diet and are often grilled flavored with chilies and lime, roasted in a pot filled with sea salt, boiled in curries, stirred into salads or simply deep-fried. Outdoor vendors operated by Muslim Thais sell deep-fried fish and chicken, with packets of sticky rice and sweet chili sauce or a ladle full of fish sauce laced with fresh chilies. Numerous seasonal vegetables are available year-round along with tropical fruits like mango and papaya which are served both ripe or unripe.
    Last edited by Ratatouille; 08-15-2021, 01:53 PM.

  • #2
    The Southern Thai Food Specialities

    Southern Thai food is usually much spicier than Northern Thai food. The cuisine is heavily influenced by spices used in Malaysia and Indonesia, so expect it to be rich, bold, aromatic, and intense in flavour. Using lots of curry paste and spices, the food is mostly spicy and sour, not so much sweet. But don’t worry, those who can’t handle spice won’t be left out since there are a few delicious dishes that aren’t spicy. Here are some popular Southern Thai dishes that you absolutely have to try!

    Khao Mok Gai
    Although Khao Mok Gai is available in many places across Thailand, it’s a staple in the southern part of the country. The brightly-coloured dish consists of yellow rice and chicken. The rice and chicken are flavoured with various dried spices and turmeric, then cooked together in the same pot. Turmeric is one of the main ingredients. It gives the dish its golden-yellow colour and aromatic spiced flavour. Sprinkled with fried shallots and served sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet-sour chilli dipping sauce, Khao Mok Gai is a must-try dish when visiting southern Thailand.

    Gaeng Som Pla
    Gaeng Som Pla or sour fish curry is the ultimate comfort food in southern Thailand. Also known as Gaeng Leung in Bangkok, the base of the soup is made of turmeric, salt, shallots, dried chillies, shrimp paste, and salt. These ingredients are pounded into a smooth paste and then boiled with water in a pot. Fish, prawns, pork, bamboo shoots, pineapple, and papaya are commonly used in the cutty. You can enjoy this soupy-style curry with fragrant jasmine rice any time of day, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

    Khua Kling
    Khua Kling is possibly the finest dish for any curry lover out there. Unlike many other Thai curries, Khua Kling lacks liquid coconut curry. It’s made of chilli, lemongrass, pepper, turmeric, garlic, salt, shrimp paste, and galangal. The ingredients are combined to create an extremely spicy but tasteful paste. Beef, chicken, and pork are the most common meat used for the dish. The meat is roasted with curry paste and thinly sliced kaffir leaves, absorbing a high concentration of spice. Each bite comes with a spicy kick that’ll keep you wanting for more.

    Khao Yam
    Khao Yam is an aromatic rice salad that’s popular in Southern Thailand but hard to find elsewhere. The dish consists of rice, a wide range of herbs, vegetables, dry shredded shrimp, and ground roasted coconut. Among the fragrant herbs that complete this dish are lemongrass, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, pennywort, and bird’s eye chillies. All of the ingredients are mixed together, and the salad is dressed with a fermented fish sauce known as nam budu.

    Moo Hong
    The next delicious Southern Thai food you need to try is Moo Hong. This stewed pork dish consists of pork belly and a paste made from black peppercorns, coconut sugar, garlic, and coriander root. The pork belly is braised in the sweet paste, then slowly stewed in a gravy seasoned with star anise, oyster sauce, and dark soy. The result is a sweet and delicious dish perfect for lunch or dinner.

    Gaeng Tai Pla
    Gaeng Tai Pla is another must-try Southern Thai curry. This thick fish soup consists of typical Southern Thai ingredients, such as galangal, dried chillies, kaffir leaves, and turmeric. Additionally, a combination of fermented shrimp paste, fish viscera, bamboo shoots, grilled fish, pumpkin, eggplant, and string beans are also used. Certain variants may also use coconut milk instead of water to make the curry extra creamy. When you buy it in a local market, the vendor usually serves it with fresh vegetables and steamed rice on a separate plate. Intensely salty and spicy, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

    Goong Pad Makham
    Goong Pad Makham is essentially a stir-fried shrimp with tamarind sauce. Since the dish consists of ingredients that can be found in most households, such as tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar, it’s pretty easy to find it in Southern Thailand. It boasts an incredible combination of salty, sweet, and sour flavours, as well as perfectly crunchy textures. One bite in, and you’ll instantly fall in love with the dish.

    Gaeng Sataw
    Many foreigners shy away from this dish because of the main ingredients used: Sataw (stink beans). Stink beans have a funky smell due to their high concentration of amino acids. Some people even claim that it smells like methane gas. Also, it makes your urine smell pretty bad. However, if you can get past the smell, you might find that the beans are actually delicious. In Gaeng Sataw, the stink beans are stir-fried with fresh prawns, shrimp paste, and curry paste. The beans shouldn’t smell too bad when it’s cooked in the right way, using the right ingredients. You might even forget about the smell once you taste how delicious Gaeng Sataw is!


    • #3
      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.​