Spicy, tangy, mouth-watering, fiery, incredibly delicious – these are words I’ve heard from people who experience Thai cuisine. Many bloggers like Hyewon and Sarah, Snickie, and Pinky Mcbanon write about their addiction to the combination of sweet, sour, hot, salty and bitter, all found in one meal. Thai food offers a blend of texture, unique flavors, and colors that satisfies the palate and spirit and nourishes the body, which may be why people enjoy it so much.
Chefs such as Tommy Tang, Jet Tila, Chai Siriyarn, Naam Pruitt, Su-Mei Yu, Chair in San Antonio, Robert Danhi, and McDang, have introduced Americans to Thai cuisine and reminded us that Thai food is fun to prepare as well as to eat. Who are your favorite Thai chefs and how did you discover them? Please let me know! Send me a link to their site.
As I travel throughout the Western USA, I enjoy eating in Thai restaurants, such as Typhoon! Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, which made awesome Lab Tuna on my last visit. Chef Chaivat Siriyarn at Marnee Thai in San Francisco cooked us a heavenly banana blossom salad. I loved the pumpkin curry created by Chef Chai at Thai Chili in San Antonio, and we craved all kinds of noodles at Thai Spice in Houston, Texas.
Fans of Thai food know it’s highly versatile, exotically delicious, and contributes to a healthful, balanced diet. But you don’t need to cook a full Thai meal to enjoy these benefits. It’s easy to add Thai flavors to traditional American and other fare because so many Thai ingredients are available not only in Asian stores but in your favorite grocery store.
Recently Thailand has introduced red and brown rice, conventional and organic, to the American market. That’s in addition to the traditional aromatic Hom Mali jasmine rice I grew up with. Some of my other favorite ingredients are Thai fish sauce, roasted chili jam, Thai shrimp, fresh and canned tamarind, coconut juice (coconut water) coconut milk (especially yummy when made into “ice cream”), red curry paste, and Thai mangosteen.
Not only is the taste and aroma of every Thai dish important, but so is its visual appeal. Thai food presentation can require years of study and practice. True Thai food art – delicately carved fruits and vegetables – truly is amazing.
For many years, the art of food craft was taught only in the kitchen of Thailand’s Royal Palace Kitchen. As chefs retired and returned home, they transferred their knowledge and skill to the next generation. Slowly younger chefs began learning food craft in cooking schools, and today, a number of cooking schools in Thailand teach the art of food carving.
Thai food artisans also create delicious Thai desserts, in the shape of little fruits and vegetables, using mung beans, c coconut milk, palm sugar, and agar, a gelatin made from seaweed. They use natural colors such as turmeric for yellow, pandan leaf for green, and the butterfly pea for blue and purple.
One of the important materials in preparing and serving Thai food is the banana leaf. Since ancient times, banana leaves have been used for presentations. They’re also used in cooking Thai food in a myriad of ways, including wrapping fish for grilling, forming small bowls to stuff and steam for meal or dessert and serving as a plate, tray or dining table decoration.
The thousands of Thai restaurants in the USA are evidence of Thai cuisine’s popularity, but to try some of the best Thai food, look for the “Thai Select” seal. It’s the Royal Thai Government’s certification that a restaurant meets high preparation standards and proportionate use of Thai raw ingredients.
In April, Thai Trade Center Deputy Director Somkanae Yodpram and I went to Portland, Oregon, where we talked with local Thai restaurant and food store owners about Thai government programs to promote Thai food products, cuisine, and culture in the area and to encourage creation of restaurant business networks.
If you are a true Thai Food Lover and want to see more Thai ingredients and restaurants in your area, contact the Thai Trade Center to discuss how we can help.
Related PostsThai Ingredients Can Add Zest and Health to Everyday Fare, Lemongrass & Limes, U.S. Patent and Trademark office grants DEP a Certification Mark for its Thai Select Thai Cuisine marks
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