Food & Drink - Thailand Islands


Thailand Islands: Food & Drink

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Thai food is generally renowned for being one of the best cuisines in the world. Thai food and drink on the islands is particularly outstanding with fresh produce dominating the menu whether it is freshly caught fish or locally grown fruit and vegetables. Many of the islands also offer a variety of western and other cuisines at hotels, restaurants and bars.

Many Thai dishes are an aromatic blend of vegetables or meat such as chicken, pork, beef or fish together with rice or noodles, fresh coriander, lime juice, lemon grass, chillies and ginger. Other ingredients commonly used include coconut milk, black pepper and tamarind.

Thais do not eat with chopsticks but use a spoon and fork for most dishes. Some meals or curries can be very hot or spicy and those with a delicate palate should proceed with caution. For drinks, rice whisky is an inexpensive drink popular with Thais. Alcohol is growing more expensive with certain beer brands dominating most of the bars incuding Singha beer, Tiger beer and Heineken. Wine is also available but it can be harder to find a good range of wines to select from. As water is not safe to drink from the taps, bottled water is also consumed in large quantities on the islands.

A few years ago, Thailand's National Culture Commission carried out a survey to determine the top 10 most popular Thai dishes liked by foreigners. The top 10 Thai dishes favoured most by foreigners were:

1. Tom Yam Kung which is a spicy shrimp soup with hot and sour flavours. Tom Yam Kung is made from shrimp or prawns, garlic, lime leaves, dried galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass, mushrooms, chili peppers for those who prefer a spicy dish, lime juice, black chili paste and coriander leaves.

2. Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai which is the famous Thai green chicken curry from central Thailand. Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai can be made mild or spicy to suit each person's taste. The ingredients for the Thai green chicken curry include pieces of chicken, green curry paste, eggplant, coconut cream, sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves, sugar, fish sauce and cooking oil.

3. Phat Thai or Pad Thai which are Thai style fried noodles. Phat Thai is a delicious blend of Thai rice noodles, prawns or chicken, small pieces of tofu, Chinese chives, garlic, shallots, bean sprouts, radish, chili, fish sauce, tamarind juice and cooking oil. The dish is often served with a lime and some ground peanuts.

4. Phat Kaphrao which is a Thai dish consisting of fried meat (such as chicken or pork) or seafood with sweet basil. The other ingredients for this tasty Thai treat (in addition to the meat or seafood) include onions, garlic, chili, basil leaves, fish sauce, vegetable oil, lime, sugar and salt and pepper. The dish is normally served with rice.

5. Kaeng Phet Pet Yang which is a roast duck in red curry consisting of small pieces of deboned duck, vegetable oil, coconut milk, red curry paste, tomatoes, sweet basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, salt, fish sauce and sugar.

6. Tom Kha Kai is a delicious blend of chicken in coconut soup. The main ingredients of Tom Kha Kai inlcude slices of chicken breast, coconut milk, slices of young galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, sugar, fish sauce, black chili paste, coriander, wild mushrooms and Thai chilli peppers. Served with rice.

7. Yam Nua is a popular Thai spicy beef salad which is often served with sticky rice and dipping sauce. The ingredients for Yam Nua include small pieces of tender beef whereas the salad is a mixture of tomatoes, cucumber, Thai chili peppers and onions. The sauce for Yam Nua consists of fish sauce, lime juice, chili oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, coriander, shallots and sesame oil.

8. Mu or Kai sa-te is a versatile dish made up from roast pork or chicken coated with turmeric. Mu or Kai sa-te can be a starter, side dish or a snack when a full meal would be too much to eat. The ingredients for Mu or Kai sa-te are very similar to many other Thai dishes and include small pieces of chicken breast or pork, turmeric powder, coriander powder, curry powder, galangal slices, lemon grass, salt, coconut milk, garlic, vegetable oil and sugar. The cooked chicken or pork is served on a skewer with sa-te sauce and cucumber sauce.

9. Kai Phat Met Mamuang Himmaphan is a mild to spicy Thai dish consisting of stir fried chicken with cashew nuts. The main ingredients of Kai Phat Met Mamuang Himmaphan include finely sliced chicken pieces, cashew nuts, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, red chilies, spring onions, vegetable oil, sliced large chilies, sugar and salt.

10. Kaeng Phanaeng is the final dish in this list of the top 10 Thai dishes as voted for by foriegners. Kaeng Phanaeng is mild combination of either chicken or beef in a mild coconut cream. The main ingredients of Kaeng Phanaeng are finely chopped chicken breasts or beef morsels, coconut cream, peppercorns, dried chillies, roasted peanuts, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, lemon grass, shallots, coriander root, garlic, galanga root, fish sauce, kaffir lime rind, shrimp paste and sugar.