Known for its perfect harmony of sweet, sour, and savory tastes along with a refined use of spices and herbs, the origins of Thai cuisine is as complex as its flavors. Sample the rich history of the regional dishes through the homemade recipes served at Thailand Cuisine, the best Thai restaurant in Kihei, HI, and learn more about the background behind the food.
Thai food was shaped early on by the cooking techniques of its Chinese settlers almost 1500 years ago. Stir frying and deep frying became common ways to prepare meals, enduring even to this day with dishes like pad Thai and fried rice. Later, Thai cuisine was influenced by its years under colonization by various nations. The Portuguese, for example, introduced the chilli—now a staple Thai ingredient—along with corn, cashews, pineapple, and other produce regularly used in Thai cuisine today. The Dutch influence can be seen in Thai dishes such as khanom khok, a battered rice pudding similar to the pancake-like poffertjes in The Netherlands. French and Japanese influences have also been noted.
Since Thailand is made up of hundreds of islands, there isn’t one single way to define Thai cuisine. A better way to get a sense of what Thai food is all about is to look at it from the perspective of its four main regions:
- Central Thailand: Central Thai food is known as the most moderately spiced and the birthplace of most of Thailand’s coconut curry dishes. Examples include green curry, Tom Kha soup, and Panang curry.
- Southern Thailand: Also rich in coconut-based dishes, southern Thailand is known for its strong use of spicy herbs and turmeric.
- Northeastern Thailand: Laotian flavors dominate in this region of Thailand, where salt, chili, herbs, and spices are used generously. Examples of dishes from this area include Lap or Larb, a salad-like meat dish, and the hot and spicy tom sab soup.
- Northern Thailand: Some of Thailand’s milder food comes from the north, where the use of salt and spices is considerably lower than the rest of the country. Papaya salad may be the most common internationally known dish from northern Thailand.
Thai cuisine is so much more than noodles and spring rolls. Check out just how varied and delicious it can be with the homemade recipes from Thailand Cuisine. Call the restaurant for a reservation at (808) 875-0839, and check out their menu online.