Regional Thai Cuisine

thailand-mapUntil more recent times, Thailand’s rich culinary heritage has been one of the country’s best kept secrets. As you explore Thailand’s cooking diversity, you might be surprised to find out how many different cooking styles and tastes abound from the various regions of the country.

There are four primary regions in Thailand, and each of these regions has a unique style of Thai cuisine. Some of the regional style reveals some of the foreign influence assimilated over the centuries, but always retaining the distinctive flavor of Thai cuisine.

Thailand’s Central Region is regarded as the traditional heartland of the country. The fertile plain along the winding Chao Phraya River, has beent he setting for the evolution of many of the best-known dishes.

Sharing borders with Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), and Myanmar, Northern Thailand was for many centuries an independent kingdom called Lanna Thai, “Land of a Million Rice Fields”. This area of Thailand is sealed off from the rest of the country by a range of high mountains until it came under the rule of Bangkok in the 19th century. Through the centuries, a culture markedly different from other areas of Thailand has flourished not only in languages and customs but also in cuisine.

The rolling plateau of the Northeast Region of Thailand stretches to the Mekong River and shares borders with Laos and Cambodia.  The Northeast is perhaps the least-known area of the country to the average visitor.  Yet I-San, as it is popularly called in Thailand, covers over a third of the country’s total area.  This area contains many sights of historical interest, and has a highly distinctive culture and cuisine of its own.

Southern Thailand is a long peninsula, stretching down to Malaysia and bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.  The Southern region, famous for scenic beaches and resorts, is also known for the wonderful cuisine that embraces the abundant fresh seafood from the surrounding waters.  Experience many varieties of seafood dishes that include the marine fish, lobsters, crabs, squid, scallops, clams and mussels.

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