A taste of Thailand

By Stephanie Sakellarides

Kick off your shoes and bow to the Thailand groove. Thailand has created a culture that is very unique and diverse, not to mention full of flavor. Thai cuisine has become one of the most talked about foods here in New York City. It has a tangy taste and is a non-guilty pleasure for those health fanatics. It can even be cooked in your kitchen at home!

Thai cuisine is unlike any other. With a mix of herbs and spices, your taste buds are in for a delicious, not to mention, healthy treat. Even though Thai food odors may give off an unusual scent, their diverse ingredients add flavor to these appetizing dishes. Some of the main ingredients used are fish sauce, shrimp paste and coconut milk.

With dinner as the main spicy meal in Thailand, the other two courses could be sweet or sour, even salty. A typical day in Thailand would consist of noodle or rice soup for breakfast; stir-fried vegetables with chicken or pork for lunch, followed by a large meal for dinner. Dishes for dinner are a wide variety and eaten slowly in order to spend time with family.

Thai desserts are usually incorporated with the sweet taste of coconut. Most desserts are naturally produced from fruits and vegetables, like bananas, mangoes and pumpkins.

Every part of Thailand has a different kind of taste. For example, southern Thailand has spicier food than that of the north. The north regions of Thailand prefer sticky rice, where as the central areas, eat white rice. Spicy Salad, known as Yum, is being featured in most Thai restaurants. Yum consists of many types of dishes that combine meat and seafood with lemon juice, fish sauce, chilies and vegetables. Yum is usually served as an appetizer and most people eat it while sipping on a cocktail.

Stir-frying has become a popular kind of food inspired by Thai culture and is easy to make at home. With a little oil, or some garlic, simply put your favorite meat in a pan and add some vegetables, and you’re good to go! Curry has also become an American favorite, with its various versions of green curry, red, yellow and sour red. Not only is it low in cholesterol, but you can also add just about any spice or vegetable product to give it that extra zest.

With simple recipes and the right ingredients anyone and everyone could cook a delicious Thai meal. Here in New York most Thai restaurants let you choose how sweet or spicy you would like your dish. The best places to experience Thai Cuisine are Hell’s Kitchen, on the west side of NYC, Rice Avenue, in Jackson Heights and Sabay Thai and Seafood Restaurant in Elmhurst. Thai restaurants tend to Americanize the menu, by having a choice of sushi or soup as an appetizer, and adding seasonings like thin soy sauce, oyster sauce and fermented soybean. We’re happy to share with you in this special summer issue some of the best authentic Thai restaurants we’we found in New York City.