Thailand is unlike its Southeast Asian neighbors. The country was never colonized by a European nation, which leaves the culture untouched and very much its own. The food is the same, dating back to ancient times when herbs and spices were used as medicine.
Thai food combines bold flavors, beautiful and vibrant colors, different textures with flavors that are sweet and sour, spicy, salty and bitter. I love Thai food and where better to enjoy the amazing foods than eating locally and street food stalls?
Each region in Thailand has its own food culture. If you find yourself in the Northern region the food will be more red meat and vegetables. But when in the coastal regions and beaches you will find the freshest seafood.
Thai meals are typically served family style with Jasmine rice being a staple at every meal along with noodles.
Khao Tom is a type of porridge served with pork and garlic and is a very popular breakfast dish. Gaeng Massaman is a mild peanut and potato curry and a popular Thai dish. Curry in Thailand is usually coconut based. Do you love it hot? Tam Yam Kung is a spicy, fiery Thai soup.
Thai desserts are very sweet. The Thai people use rice, coconut milk and sugar as the base for most desserts. Mango with sticky rice covered in a sweet coconut milk is a popular dessert.
The food topic wouldn’t be complete without talking about drinks. Thai beer is very inexpensive and the alcohol content is high. Drinking tap water is not recommended, bottled water is very affordable and a much better choice.
If you love Thai food and want to learn how to cook Thai, there are so many options for cooking classes while in Thailand. You can take a one-day class or schedule an intensive week long series. I really recommend if you have the time, take a one day or half day class, you won’t regret the time. This really gives you an opportunity to learn more about the culture and interact with a Thai Chef.
In Chiang Mai there are classes where you join the chef for a shopping trip to local markets and farms. You will return to the kitchen after shopping to learn Thai cooking techniques, while making traditional dishes using the incredible spices found in this country.
While in Bangkok you can take week long classes at the Oriental Thai Cooking school. These classes are more intensive, but fun, teaching you more indepth techniques.
The Thai people use a fork and spoon to eat. Most food is bite-sized so a knife is really not needed. The fork is used to push food into the spoon. If you use your fingers to pick up the foods, always use your right hand and do not lick your fingers.
In the mornings, Buddhist monks will be seen walking through the streets carrying bowls to receive offers of food. It is considered an honor to give food to the monks. You need to thank them as you pass food to them. Monks are not allowed to touch or be touched by women. If you are a woman and are passing food to a monk, you need to place the food on a cloth and step away.
If you are thinking of traveling to Thailand, it is a very affordable vacation. A really good option is to hire a private car and driver, this is very affordable too.
U. S. visitors staying less than 30 days do not need a visa to enter Thailand. You will need a current passport with at least 6 month’s validity left upon your day of departure back to the U.S. You will also need to show a return airline ticket or forward airline ticket out of the country. If you are going and staying longer than 30 days, and not sure when you are leaving and traveling to other countries around Thailand, you will need a visa.
Tipping isn’t standard in Thailand, but may be appropriate at times. Taxi drivers don’t expect a tip, but certainly feel free to leave them the change. A $1 to $2 tip is acceptable for the bellman at your hotel.
Travel with an adapter, Thailand uses 220 volt.
I was long winded today and I still have a bit more to share. So I will finish up with Thailand on Friday. We will chat about some cultural awareness tips that will help you as you travel through the country.
Hope you all are having a great week and thinking about where you want to go this year.