History of Thai Cuisine

Thai cooking is rich in terms of the ingredients that are used for the preparation of a complete meal. Essentially, a Thai meal comprises of three to four components including a soup (which is generally spicy), a curry which is served with a number of condiments (the curry is not usually spicy, in order to maintain a balance of taste), a fish/meat dish served with a special dip and various vegetable or herbs and lastly, a salad made using a variety of vegetables and spices.

It can be easily noted that in many ways, Thai cooking bears considerable resemblance to Chinese cooking methods and techniques. The reason behind this is the fact that originally, the ‘Tai’ people migrated to the land that is now called Thailand, from different areas of the Southwestern mountainous regions of China. Once settled, these people combined their Chinese cooking influences with newer techniques, ingredients and preparation methods to create what the world knows today, as Thai cuisine. Trade also played a vital role, and had a significant influence on Thai cuisine. This is because trade was actively carried out between Thailand and Buddhist, Portuguese and Indian traders and thus their cooking methods and techniques were combined with the traditional Thai cooking of that time.

Thailand has a Buddhist background, and in accordance with the Buddhist teachings, initially the use of the meat from large animals was discouraged in cooking. This is why one can find smaller portions of shredded or diced meat which may be stewed with a combination of herbs, or laced with exotic spices, stir-fried with vegetables, or simply deep fried in typical Thai cooking.

It is also a fact that initially, strong and overpowering spices represented Thai cooking, but with the influence of foreign traders and the amalgamation of cooking techniques from various regions and settlements, the Thai people incorporated the use of different herbs and vegetables in their food, thus toning down the use of spices. This is evident in modern Thai cuisine all over the world today.

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