What is special about Thai food? Is Thai food healthy for you?

Thai food is internationally famous. Whether chilli-hot or comparatively bland, harmony is the guiding principle behind each dish. Characteristics of Thai food depend on who cooks it, for whom it is cooked, for what occasion, and where it is cooked. Dishes can be refined and adjusted to suit all palates.

A proper Thai meal should consist of a soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and vegetables. A spiced salad may replace the curry dish. The soup can also be spicy, but the curry should be replaced by a non-spiced item. There must be harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal.

Vegetables and rice are among the staples in Thai food which due to the fact that such foods are quite readily available in Thailand. While such stuff may sound unappealing and absurd to some but in reality the manner in which these basic foods are used and dressed up in the Thai culture is absolutely mind blowing and mouthwatering.

Adding further, the galangal root is a major ingredient for many Thai curries and soups and due to its intense flavor it comes out quite well into spicy dishes. Also dried herbs are mostly utilized to render a ‘spice’ element to Thai cooking. Ground white pepper was conventionally used as the significant provider of heat way before the ‘Fresh Chili’ was transported to Thailand, but it still continues to be utilized in a large range of dishes.

Historically Thai food can trace its roots back to China as well as India. Other influences include its neighbors, including what is now known as Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Other influences were as a result of the spice trade via the Spice Road and various sea spice routes. It is the unique combination of sweet, sour, bitter salty and spicy tastes into unique dishes that separate Thai food from the food found in any other country. Lets hope it stays that way!

Nowadays, Thailand as a tourist destination and a regional economic power has had a major impact on the cuisine, and the growth of fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut and other restaurants has boomed, especially in the large cities and tourist areas. Not only are the tourists and expats eating it, but Thai people are as well. Whilst generally Thai people are not fans of what they consider to be “farang food” viewing it as bland, the acceptance of fast food, suggests there could be further changes to come in the future with Thai cuisines.

Is Thai food healthy for you?

That’s quite a complicated question, mainly because there are so many different Thai dishes available in Thailand, ranging from processed, greasy, and sweet, all the way to fresh, spice filled, and vegetables galore. As a long term Thai food eater, and overall Thai food addict, I’ve been able to explore and taste quite a few Thai dishes.

Traditional Thai food is known to be quite healthy, making use of natural and fresh ingredients, paired with lots of spices, herbs, and vegetables. But the problem is, some Thai dishes taste amazing, but then surprise you with how much sugar, oil, or MSG is used. Knowing what to order, and how to order it, can give you the upper hand when it comes to eating healthy Thai food.