Thai food has the balance of fiveflavors. In each dish, there is acombination of spiciness, sour, sweet, salty and sometimes bitter. The four main regions of Thailand:Northern, Northeastern (or Isaan),Central and Southern regions, havetheir own unique tastes and food style that represent their way oflife and culture.For example, Isaan stir-fry food is juicy and tends to be sweeter compared to the central region style. Most of the time there must be a plate full of soft boiled or fresh vegetables, some from their own garden and others from the market. Nam Prik Bla rah (chilies sauce with fermented fish) is never missing from the table. It is made from chilies, garlic, red onion, lemon juice and fermented fish. Each region has their style of Nam Prik, some add dried fish and dried shrimp. We always have Thai jasmine rice for all meals with all kinds of food. Isaan people prefer sticky rice as we believe it has a thick texture that can keep us full until the next meal, while we have to work hard all day in the rice field. We eat sticky rice with our five fingers, our parents tell us to rub our fingers with our hair then the rice won’t stick to them! We keep sticky rice in a bamboo container. It stays hot and ok all day outside the refrigerator. If it gets hard from staying outside too long, we warm it again and keep it for one more day
Lunch time at school, college, or at work, we have rice with curries, stir- fries or deep fried food poured on top. It’s called khao rad gang. You can have 1 or 2 things on top and it costs not more than 25 Baht (about 60 cents usd). Noodles are popular as well. We have gwit diao (noodles in clear soup) and gwit jap (Vietnamese style noodles).
Thai families nowadays don’t cook much at home. We usually buy food at the night market. It is already cooked and put into a clear small bag for 20 Baht each. That way we really save a lot of time. Thai food is generally eaten with a fork and a spoon. The spoon is mainly used with the fork which helps the food onto the spoon. However, for sticky rice and Isaan recipes, like Lahp Moo (spicy pork salad) and som tam (papaya salad), we use our five fingers. We eat our meals with our right hands. If you are in Isaan, don’t be shy to use to grab your food with your fingers. Remember, the left hand is considered a dirty hand because we use it to clean the dirty part of our body after using the restroom. Sometimes I wonder about those Thai people that are left-handed?