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All About Thai Curry

All About Thai Curry
There are many kinds of Thai curry dishes, from non-spicy to very spicy. This article groups many of the more well-known curry dishes, while giving examples of dishes as well as introductory lists of ingredients and cooking methods.
When people hear the words “Thai Curry”, the first thing that comes to their mind is some spicy coconut milk with curry paste. This is not totally true. Thais say “Kaeng” which means “Curry”. However, Kaeng in Thailand does not only mean curry, but it means the cooking process of mixing various kinds of vegetables with liquid like water or coconut milk. It can be spicy or non-spicy or a vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish like soup, stew, curry or even dessert. I will use the word “Kaeng” throughout this article. In Thailand, there are 2 types of Kaeng: Kaeng Jued and Kaeng Ped. Ped literally means spicy and Jued means tasteless. Kaeng Jued usually refers to non-spicy soup dishes.Kaeng JuedKaeng Jued dishes are usually comprise of broth, vegetables and meat. Homemade broth is preferred over bouillon cubes. Broth is made from boiling pork ribs or chicken bones in water for a long period of time. You will often hear Thais say “nam soup” which means broth. To make broth, the bones should have a little bit of meat and fat left on them. On low heat, boil meat in water. Once the boil begins, reduce heat to its lowest point so that the broth just barely simmers. The longer the simmering, the more flavor you will get. One and a half to two hours usually is enough to extract flavors from meats. Before using broth, straining is a must. In Thai cooking, some recipes would add Chinese cellery or white radish during the simmering to add more sweetness to the broth.The clear broth then will be used in a different kind of Kaeng Jued. A common way to make Kaeng Jued is to 1) bring broth to boil 2) add meat, 3) add vegetables and 4) add flavor. Example Kaeng Jued dishes are:

  • Kaeng Jued Fak: chicken/pork broth with winter melon
  • Kaeng Jued Mara: chicken/pork broth with bitter melon
  • Kaeng Jued Mara Yat Sai: chicken/pork broth with stuffed bitter melon
  • Kaeng Jued Pla Muek Yat Sai: chicken/pork broth with stuffed squid
  • Kaeng Jued Taeng Gwa: chicken/pork broth with cucumber
  • Kaeng Jued Taeng Gwa Yat Sai: chicken/pork broth with stuffed cucumber
  • Kaeng Jued Tao Hu: chicken/pork broth with bean curd
  • Kaeng Jued Wun Sen: chicken/pork broth with clear noodles

Kaeng PedMost Kaeng Ped dishes differ in degree of spiciness. Some are very spicy and some are mild. Some have coconut milk and some do not. Kaeng Ped can be categorized into 6 different types: Kaeng Ped, Kaeng Khua, Kaeng Liang, Kaeng Som, Tom Yum and Pad Ped.1) Kaeng PedIt can be confusing that Kaeng Ped is a subcategory of Kaeng Ped. There are 2 distinct types of Kaeng Ped: Kaeng Ped with coconut milk and Keang Ped without coconut milk. The key to a delicious Kaeng Ped is curry paste. Either homemade or commercial curry paste must be finely ground. Fish sauce and sugar are the two main ingredients to flavor Kaeng Ped dishes.Examples of water-based curry dishes are:

  • Kaeng Hang Le: Northern style curry with meat, curry powder, lemongrass, ginger, shallots, shrimp paste, chilies and peanuts
  • Kaeng Pa: jungle curry, Northen curry. This curry is hot and full of flavor from fingerroot, kaffir lime zest, lemon grass, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and chilies
  • Kaeng Leung: hot yellow curry, most common meat used is fish. Other ingredients are winter melon, chilies, garlic, turmeric, lemon grass, shallots and shrimp paste.

Examples of coconut-based curry dishes are:

  • Kaeng Daeng: red curry with meat, bamboo shoots, Thai sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk
  • Kaeng Kari: Indian style curry with meat, potatoes and coconut milk
  • Kaeng Kiaw Waan: a slightly sweet green curry with meat, Thai eggplants, pea eggplants, winter melon, Thai sweet basil (Bai Horapa), kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk
  • Kaeng Matsaman: curry with meat, potatoes, peanuts and coconut milk (a mild curry from the Muslim Southern part of Thailand)
  • Kaeng Phed: spicy curry with meat and chilies

2) Kaeng KhuaKaeng Khua curry paste makes this curry dish distinct and different from Kaeng Ped dishes. Kaeng Khua curry paste has either deep-fried fish, grilled fish or dried small shrimp as part of its ingredients. Most Kaeng Khua will not have added spices because of its strong aroma. The typical flavors of this curry are sweet, sour and salty. The most common meat is fish, shrimp or clam. Main added ingredients typically used in this curry can be pineapple, mushrooms or winter melon. Other ingredients are galangal, kaffir lime zest, dried chilies, lemon grass and shrimp paste.Some people might confuse Kaeng Khua and Kaeng Pa because they look similar and both are coconut-based curry. However, both use different curry paste and Kaeng Pa mostly has only a salty taste.3) Kaeng LiangMany say Kaeng Liang is Thai vegetarian curry. The main ingredients of this curry are vegetables, usually there is no meat. Some recipes may add chicken or shrimp. However, if we look at Kaeng Liang curry paste, this dish is not vegetarian. Part of Kaeng Liang curry paste is dried shrimp paste (ka pi), dried shrimp and deep-fried fish or grilled fish. This curry is a water-based curry that is quite thick. The most common vegetables are sponge gourd (buab liam), gourd leaves (bai tam leung), “hairy” basil (bai Maeng Luk) and baby corn.4) Kaeng Som Kaeng Som is a water-based curry that in flavor combines sour, saltiness and a little sweetness. The common meat used in this curry is fish or shrimp. Some recipes use clams. Common vegetables are morning glory (phak bueng), bottle gourd (phak nam tao), water mimosa (phak kra ched), Vegetable Humming Bird (dok kae), cabbage (kra lum plee) and juice-based tamarind. Other ingredients are shrimp paste, dried shrimp and shallots. The famous Kaeng Som is Kaeng Som Pla Chon Phak Kra Ched which has striped snakehead (pla chon) and water mimosa (phak kra ched) as main ingredients.5) Tom YumTom Yum is a hot and sour soup. Tom Yum soup dishes have lots of herbs and meat as the main ingredients. Few vegetables are used in Tom Yum soup, although usually included are oyster mushrooms or straw mushrooms. Common herbs used in Tom Yum soup are kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, chilies and coriander roots. The common meats used in Tom Yum soup are chicken, shrimp and fish. The ingredients used in flavoring Tom Yum are lemon juice, tamarind juice, sugar and fish sauce.Tom Yum soup can also be categorized into 2 different types: coconut-based Tom Yum soup and water/broth-based Tom Yum soup. Examples of Tom Yum soup dishes are:

  • Tom Kha Gai: coconut-based hot and sour soup with chicken
  • Tom Kha Pla Duk: coconut-based hot and sour soup with catfish
  • Tom Kha Ta Le: coconut-based hot and sour soup with seafood
  • Tom Yum Gai: water/broth-based hot and sour soup with chicken
  • Tom Yum Goong: water/broth-based hot and sour soup with prawn
  • Tom Yum Hua Pla: water/broth-based hot and sour soup with fish head
  • Tom Yam Moo Pa: water/broth-based hot and sour soup with boar

6) Pad PedPad Ped is similar to Kaeng Ped; however, Pad Ped dishes use less coconut milk or water than Kaeng Ped. Thus Pad Ped is more like a stir-fried dried curry paste dish with meat and vegetables. Example vegetables are Thai eggplants, yard long beans, bamboo shoots and pea eggplants. Two main ingredients used in flavoring Pad Ped dishes are fish sauce and sugar. Example dishes are:

  • Pad Ped Moo Tao Fak Yao: stir-fried red curry paste with pork and yard long beans
  • Pad Ped Pla Duk: stir-fried catfish with chili paste
  • Phanaeng Gai: stir-fried phanaeng curry paste with chicken and kaffir lime leaves
  • Phanaeng Moo: stir-fried phanaeng curry paste with pork and kaffir lime leaves
  • Phanaeng Nuea: stir-fried phanaeng curry paste with beef and kaffir lime leaves

The example dishes listed above are famous dishes in Thailand. Of course, there are more dishes than I can name here. “Kaeng” has more than just the one meaning of spicy curry like many believe about Thai curry. Thais even use the word “Kaeng” in desserts like Kaeng Buat. Kaeng Buat is a dessert that has pumpkin, taro and/or potatoes in coconut milk. Most Thai restaurants in the U.S offer coconut-based Kaeng Ped, Pad Ped and Tom Yum soup. If you have a chance to visit Thailand, I hope you will have a chance to enjoy all different kinds of Kaeng.

Best Leisure Destinations in Thailand

Best Leisure Destinations in Thailand

Thailand, most commonly known as the Land of Smiles, is a jewel of Southeast Asia developed to endow with most comforts. It is wild enough to offer off-the-beaten path adventure. The beautiful country has given new dimensions to tourism by offering the best of nightlife, in which go-go bars, ladyboy shows, bars, spas, clubs, restaurants and young girls keep one busy in a more during attractive Thailand holidays. It is a country where you will get once-in-a-lifetime travel experience and will love to explore the country again and again. Not to mention world-class beaches in the south, mountain villages in the north and vibrant cities of Pattaya, Bangkok and different other destinations. Planning for booking one of the best Thailand tour packages is an ideal decision to hunt the nature and take break from your routine life that sometimes seems boring.

Why Visit Thailand – Some Good Reasons Are Here?
Fabulous luxury hotels, delicious street food, world’s prettiest lake, Gibbons on the Khao Sok National Park, Beach Football, Many Buddhas, The Wampo Viaduct, wonderful beach bars, island hopping, afternoon tea at the treetops, etc are some good reasons to persuade you for memorable holidays and book affordable Thailand packages according to your choice.

Spend Time in Leisure at Some of the Finest Destinations
Definition of tourism is different for tourists in Thailand. For young generation and those who are along on their tour in a group of same age group, Pattaya is the dream destination to fulfill their desire. Here, they will get everything they have wished from nightlife to massage and company of beautiful girls to delicious food, adventure tours, and beach holiday pleasure to a lot more.

Phuket is another wonderful destination where day begins as soon as sun set. Streets go full of tourists and locals; while gorgeous girls attract you towards go-go bars. Bangkok is for all who are dreaming of having fun in entirely different way. The capital city is famous for some amazing hotels and to offer you the best of luxury during your holidays in Thailand.

Explore Secret Holiday Destinations – They will be the Best Leisure Destinations in Thailand
If you ask local after reaching Thailand, you will get the answer that will be surprisingly different. According to the residents of this Asian Kingdom, Hua Hin is the ideal place to escape the capital for a fe quiet days at the beach. This three hour drive from Bangkok is famous for its 5 km of sand defining this destination favorite with vacationing Thais. Here, you will see a palace and holiday estate built by the royal family in the year of 1920.

Don’t miss the chance of exploring Pa-La-U Waterfall – in jungle 60 km from town of Kaeng Krachan National Park that is Thailand’s largest reserve – stretching of the Burmese border. Sam Roi Yot National Park has a landscape of limestone peaks and Khao Takiab at the end of Hua Hin Beach is sprinkled with Buddhist Shrines and worth climbing for the panoramic view.

Find a trusted online travel agency to book the right Thailand tour packages according to your choice to have fun and celebration unlimited as the hidden jewel of Southeast Asia.

The Taste and Tradition of Thai Cuisine

The Taste and Tradition of Thai Cuisine
A tropical country with mountains and long seacoasts, Thailand’s rich history of stability, modern capital and vibrant rural areas contribute to a wide diversity of cuisine.
Thai cuisine is characterized by hot, spicy flavors and has been influenced by China and India, sometimes through the filter of the surrounding countries of Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. As a result, there are interesting regional differences, as well as variety due to geography and social group. As with Chinese and Japanese cuisines, balancing flavors, textures, colors and cooking methods to complement one another is important. The Thai staple is rice, with shorter-grain varieties preferred in the north and longer-grain in the south. There is a wide diversity of cuisine in this tropical country, which boasts mountains and long seacoasts; a long, rich history of stability; a large, modern capital; and vibrant rural areas.
Known for assorted curries, Thai cooking includes a broad range of seasonings: many citrus flavorings, such as turmeric (orange-flavored spice), lemongrass or fresh fruits; coriander; galangal (very pungent type of ginger); dill; mint; anise-scented basil; scallions; chile peppers; garlic; and fish sauce (nuoc mam).
Typical accompaniments are rice, rice noodles, wheat noodles and mung bean noodles (threads), also called cellophane noodles. Garnishes include straw mushrooms, ground peanuts, curries and different kinds of bananas. Thickened cornstarch sauces are not used; rather, dry foods, with the cooking liquid as the accompaniment, are passed with rice. Thai cooking utilizes all cooking techniques.
There are four staples of Thai cuisine, which can be discussed in four distinct categories: rice and noodles; fish and seafood; vegetables and fruit; and meat and poultry.
  • Rice and Noodles
The Thai people have cultivated rice since the earliest days of their history, and, although Thailand contains many jewels, no gem can rival the pearly white rice that is produced in abundance through much of the country. It has even staved off famine throughout Thai history. It is the staff of life, the yardstick by which all well-being is measured. A Thai will not ask, “Have you had lunch?” But, he or she will ask, “Have you eaten rice?”
In May, led by the king’s symbolic example, Thai farmers go to the fields to weed and clean in preparation for plowing. As soon as the first rains fall, usually in May, the rice is sown in smaller nursery fields and carefully tended. The shoots grow quickly in the monsoon season, and young plants are removed from the nursery to be replanted in the fields. Harvesting is in January. The government has now set up an efficient irrigation network, which gives a second harvest in some areas.
Among the many varieties of rice, Thailand boasts a particularly fine, long-grain type, called Jasmine rice, which is often destined for export. Rice is cooked in water without salt, to balance the spiciness of the accompanying dishes. The secret of perfect rice lies in the quantity of water used; the level of water in the pan should be at one knuckle above the rice. All the water should be absorbed during cooking, leaving the rice firm and fluffy.
Shorter-grain, glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, is a favorite of the hill people and of the Issan group that lives in the northeast. Elsewhere, it is generally used in desserts. The Thai usually cook more rice than is necessary for one meal. The remainder is used in a wide variety of khao phad (fried rice) dishes, mixed with chicken, ham, prawns (shrimp), eggs, etc., and flavored with garlic, onion and basil. The ingredients can be chopped, sliced, ground or crushed, before being mixed with khao phad.
The best utensil for frying rice is a wok (a deep, conical pan), which can easily be obtained in Asian shops. Strong heat is needed, and the rice must be tossed vigorously with the seasoning ingredients. This can lead to splashes and penetrating smells. In Thailand, the kitchen is sensibly located in a small, open-sided wooden outhouse, and the breeze carries away strong smells. In the West, an efficient extractor fan in the kitchen would be a suitable alternative. Khao phad makes a meal on its own, while plain rice is served with a selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Thailand, like other Asian countries similarly influenced by the Chinese, has many noodle dishes using a wide variety of types of noodles. Mung bean noodles, rice noodles and wheat flour noodles, with or without egg, all find their way into delicious recipes–cooked in various ways and combined with different ingredients.
  • Fish and Seafood
The love the Thai have for fish and seafood is born from nature’s bounty. The coastline along the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand is long; large rivers full of fish traverse the country from north to south; and a maze of canals crisscross the plains. Fishermen can be seen everywhere, as they cast, haul in and lift their nets for cash and subsistence. Farmers view their klongs (irrigation and transport canals) as important sources of protein to augment the rice they grow. Thai fishermen put out to sea all along the coast and through the maze of small islands that dot much of the coast. Shrimp farming is big business in southern Thailand.
In Thailand, people eat far more fish than meat. In fact, the produce of the sea and rivers is second only to rice in importance. An old Thai saying, “There is rice in the fields and fish in the water,” sums up how the Thai measure happiness and illustrates how they appreciate natural good fortune. Inland, freshwater fish is available throughout the country. Sea fish is often preserved by smoking, salting or drying. In the markets, highly aromatic dried fish and cuttlefish are displayed in bamboo boxes or hung from wires. Both fish and seafood are made into delicious curries and wonderful soups. In addition, they are the main ingredients of those two basic Thai condiments, nam pla (fish sauce) and kapi (shrimp paste).
Any discussion of Thai food would be lacking, if fish sauce were not discussed in greater detail. It is a fundamental flavor component found in every Thai kitchen, right next to the sugar. For this reason, nam pla should be on any shopping list for Thai ingredients. Not only is it an essential ingredient in finished dishes, it appears as a condiment on the dining table at nearly every meal, by itself or mixed with chiles or lime juice. A prime source of salt and rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals, this clear, brown liquid is to Thai cooking what soy sauce is to Chinese and Japanese cooking. It is a brew made by fermenting anchovies in sea salt and water.
Nam pla’s odor can be overwhelming. When used in cooking, its fishiness lessens dramatically, as it dissipates and blends in deliciously with aromatic flavor ingredients. If its odor does not diminish satisfactorily, consider switching brands, because some are more mild and likable to the uninitiated. Most Thai prefer a sauce with a mid-range of fishiness, but keep a few varieties on hand for various purposes. An uncooked dipping sauce for the table fares better with a milder blend, whereas rich curries, spicy soups and seafood dishes are enhanced by a stronger sauce.
It is advisable to stick with one brand to ensure consistent results. A recommended brand is Tra Chang (scale brand), identified by a red label depicting a weighing scale with a fish on one end balanced by “100%” on the other. Another very flavorful brand, Golden Boy, pictures a chubby baby holding a bottle of fish sauce, rather than a milk bottle. These two premium brands are not yet widely distributed in the U.S., so look for them in Thai and Southeast Asian markets. More readily available is Tiparos, a brand that has been around in Western markets for a long time. Aside from these three, there is a wide range of other brands. Though some show pictures of shrimp, silver pomfret fish or squid on the label, these are only identifying logos; all nam pla is made from anchovies. Gourmet specialty markets have started to carry fish sauce along with other convenience Thai food items, specially bottled in Thailand with English names and labels, for the affluent Western cook. Usually in much smaller bottles, these brands carry a hefty price tag–about six times the price of those offered in Asian markets. Fish sauce does not need to be refrigerated after opening, but it does evaporate and darken over time, getting stronger.
  • Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables play an important part in Thai nutrition. The Thai do not all practice the vegetarianism preached by Buddhism, and they eat meat in small quantities, as long as non-Buddhists sacrifice the animals.
Nature produces many vegetables, in a temptingly wide variety of colors and shapes, including tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, crispy lettuce, pure white cauliflower, green beans, peppers, zucchini and pumpkin. New species are regularly introduced to satisfy the Thai’s enjoyment of variety. They grow in the irrigated market gardens around Bangkok, as well as on the hill slopes of the north. The Thai also consume many tropical and regional vegetables unknown in the West. These include aquatic plants, such as phak bung (water cabbage); creeping plants, like tam lung; and rhizomes, such as white turmeric, bamboo shoots and lotus stems.
Fruit is often used in salads. Particular favorites are papaya and grapefruit, and a great number of salad and vegetable dishes include fish, seafood or meat. Salads are refreshing in the hot, humid climate of Thailand and appear at most meal-times in one form or another, from a simple dish of raw beans or assorted vegetables with a spicy dip, to a complicated restaurant showpiece.
Vegetables are not served at any particular moment during the meal. They come with all the other dishes, and people nibble at them while eating curries or other hot courses. Sometimes, they can be meals in themselves. Oil and vinegar are rarely used to prepare dressings for salads. The most common dressing recipes include lemon juice, chiles, fish sauce and shallots. Papaya salad is served with a dressing of pounded peanuts, fish sauce, garlic and chopped chiles with dried prawns. Another popular salad dressing is made with hard-boiled egg yolks, mashed in tepid water with sugar and lemon juice. As with other sauces, the Thai create a wide range of salad dressings from different combinations of all the available ingredients.
  • Meat and Poultry
For the most part, Thai dishes contain fairly small quantities of meat. Killing animals does not lie easily on Buddhists’ consciences, and the sight of a Thai butcher is rare. This job is left to the Chinese, who specialize in pork, and to the Muslims, who deal with beef, mutton and chicken. These days, poultry is often sold in pieces. Meat is set out on stalls in the open air. Most Thai people distrust frozen meat, which is not widely available anyway, and will often go to market twice a day.
Chicken is the most popular sort of poultry, as it is relatively cheap. Its bland flavor goes well with a variety of spices and sauces, and it is useful in making a stock base for soups. Rich and poor alike eat chicken. Thailand has a modern poultry industry alongside family farm production; country roads are full of scratching chickens. Chicken can be skewered and grilled over charcoal, or sautéed with spices and vegetables. Duck breeding is an increasingly common sight along rivers and canals. The Chinese are particularly keen on this bird, and Peking duck is a gastronomic delicacy. The whole bird is eaten, from the delicately roasted skin cut into strips, to the stock made from the carcass.
The choice of meat varies according to religious beliefs and habits. Muslims refuse to touch pork, which the Chinese like so much; Indians cannot bear the idea of eating beef; and the Thai generally hate the smell of mutton. Buffalo is popular in country areas and can be tenderized by suitable cooking. Veal is rarely found in Thailand. Meat is usually well-done and, except when dried, is accompanied by vegetables and spices. Certain restaurants specialize in game, such as venison and wild boar. In memory of harder times, it is not unusual to find protein in the form of insects, rodents and reptiles, particularly in restaurants specializing in northern Thai cuisine.
SIDEBAR
In the mountainous north, where borders are shared with Burma and Laos, the cuisine is as distinctive as the handicrafts for which the region is noted. Here, the earliest people of Thailand settled on their migration southward from China, forming first a group of small city-states, and then a loose federation known as Lanna, with Chiang Mai as the principal city. The impact of Burma is apparent in dishes that use aromatic spices, like cinnamon and cardamom, also found in northern Indian dishes. These include the popular khao soi, a curry broth with egg noodles and chicken, pork or beef, as well as gaeng hang lay, a pork curry seasoned with ginger, tamarind and turmeric. Of Laotian origin are nam prik noom, a complex dipping sauce with a strong chile-lime flavor, and ook gai, a red chicken curry with lemongrass. The northeast region is characterized by highly seasoned dishes making use of unusual wild plant and animal foods, which reflect the historical poverty and uncertain harvest of the region.
Nicholas Gervaise, a Jesuit missionary, noted that kapi, the popular, fermented shrimp paste, has such a pungent smell, it nauseates anyone not accustomed to it. He also wrote perhaps the first general recipe for a typical Thai condiment based on kapi: salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, white onions, nutmeg and several strongly flavored herbs mixed in considerable quantities of shrimp paste.
The presence of cloves and nutmeg is evidence of trade with the East Indies. Other influences may come from Chinese, Japanese, Malays and Indians who once lived in the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya. None of the early writers mention chiles, but they were probably already in use–either brought directly by the Portuguese, who opened relations in 1511, or having come via Malacca or India. The indigenous black pepper is called Thai pepper, while later arrivals, capsicum chile peppers, have more colloquial local names. The Portuguese also introduced a number of popular Thai sweets based on sugar and egg yolks, and possibly corn and the tomato, which are also of New World origin.
A more refined type of cuisine prevailed in royal and aristocratic houses. Sometimes referred to as “palace cooking,” these elaborate dishes called for great skill at blending numerous deluxe ingredients to achieve the most subtle nuances of taste. The dishes were then presented with carved fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of decorative forms. The women’s quarters of the Grand Palace were the center of such skills, and many daughters of aristocratic families were sent there to prepare them for future life. The current Queen of Thailand has been instrumental in reviving many of these traditional culinary and craft art forms, so they may be enjoyed by future generations.

How and what do Thais eat?

How and what do Thais eat?
Thai cuisine’s inviting array of meals, desserts, drinks and snacks combine with an enjoyment of eating as socializing. Thinking about Thai ways of eating together helps fill in a reflection on Thai food.
The majority of Thais do not use many of the formal eating manners of Westerners; Thais have their own set of manners based largely on practices of communal eating. Thais put a lot of emphasis on eating as a social activity. For Thais, eating should be a simple pleasure and does not involve complex rituals of etiquette. Today, a fork and spoon are widely used, and the general practice is to use the fork to push food onto the spoon. The spoon is generally held in the right hand and serves as the only utensil from which to take bites. Eating straight from the fork is considered crude. The use of the fork and spoon is attributed to King Rama V in the latter part of the 19th century. He found no use for knives since Thai food is already chopped up. Chopsticks are sometimes used, particularly for eating some noodle dishes influened by the Chinese. While a fork and spoon are commonly used, for some parts of Thailand, such as in the east or north east, eating by hand is still common. There is also an exception for sticky rice as most Thais would eat sticky rice with their hands.When dining out, senior women in a group usually order for all (although others do the ordering sometimes). All dishes can be shared, over several courses. Steamed rice is a mainstay of communal meals and is always served first for each individual. Then, only in small amounts (1-2 tablespoons), food is dished up and put on top of the rice. Thais do not like to pile different food on top of their rice because the tastes might get mixed together. Thais generally eat dishes one at a time and then come back to eat the next dish. Piling up food or overloading your plate with food is considered rude and uncouth as there is no hurry and more food can be ordered as needed.Thais love to eat, six to seven times per day is not very uncommon. Thais also love to dine out in a group of friends and family. Eating alone is not very common. There are restaurants and food stands (food vendors) almost everywhere in Thailand. Thais’ generally don’t think in terms of dieting. Most Thais eat often but small amounts each time. Thais eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; however, many Thai people snack a lot, almost any time of the day or night. Snacks can include a wide range of choices, such as a bowl of noodle soup, fruits, fried food or desserts.Thai food is famous for its spicy quality, but there are many mild or non-spicy dishes. Rice is a staple food. Typical breakfast dishes for Thais are:

  • Jok: ground rice soup with minced pork and ginger, with green onions sprinkled on top, and egg can be added;
  • Khao Tom: rice soup with a selection of meat and vegetable side dishes;
  • Kao Loa Lead Moo: soup which consists of various pig organs such as kidney, liver, heart and stomach as well as ground pork and prepared blood;
  • Khao Man Kai: rice cooked in chicken broth with slices of boiled chicken on top.

Lunch usually includes quick dishes like noodle soups, fried noodles, rice dishes and curries. Dinner is generally served communally in a series of large plates or bowls. There is always steamed rice and 4-5 side dishes, and at least one soup. The 4-5 side dishes consist of a wide variety of food, at least one vegetable dish, one seafood dish, one meat dish, and one spicy dish. Examples of dinner dishes are: curry dishes, dry curry dishes such as Phanaeng, steamed crab (Pu Neung), deep fried fish (Pla Thod), roasted sliced squid (Pla Meuk Yang), fried rice (Khao Pad), Tom Yum soups, etc. After the meal, Thais like desserts. There are so many kinds of dessert in Thailand. Depending on the type of dessert and preference of the eater, sometimes the dishes are shared. The famous desserts are Mangoes with Sticky Rice (Khao Niaw Ma Muang), Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluay Buat Chi), and combinations of fruit with ground up ice (Nam Kang Sai).Almost every street corner has a selection of food vendors selling a wide variety of snacks, from fried insects (such as grasshoppers) to Spring rolls. Examples of snacks are: Coconut pudding (Khanom Krok), Sticky rice in banana leaves (Khao Tom Mud), Spring rolls (Po Pia Tod), Charcoal-roasted eggs (Kai Ping), Steamed tapioca with minced pork filling (Sa Koo Sai Moo), Fried fish balls (Luk Chin Tod), Fried fish cakes (Tod Mun) and Charcoal-grilled chicken (Kai Yang). As for drinks, there are many kinds, such as fresh juice, tea, Thai iced tea, soda, water and beer. Fresh juice can be pineapple, coconut, cantalope, mango, and orange.The many enticing combinations of foods, as well as the cultural styles of eating, help enhance life and represent many opportunities for creativity and enjoyment.

Phuket attractions you must visit n your next trip

Phuket attractions you must visit n your next trip

The island of Phuket over the years has attracted tourist from all across the world. The island is known for its beaches and exciting culture which guarantees a memorable holiday experience. We list some of the many interesting attractions you must add to your Phuket package:

Phang Nga Bay

The distinctive picture of this bay is the limestone karst formations that jut out vertically from the water. You can spend a leisurely day cruising through the bay. It also gives you the opportunity to land on a quiet beach to spend some time enjoying the sunlight and the emerald waters. When boating through this bay, you get the opportunity to explore the islands of James Bond and Koh Panyee.

Old Phuket town

The old Phuket town is believed to have a unique personality of its own. There are a number of shriens and Buddhist and Chinese temples and a number of quaint cafes where you can snack at. The old town was built on the riches of the tin boom of the last century. There are also a number of old printing shops along with a number of private and public museums dotting the town. The best time to explore the town is early in the morning so you beat the heat.

Big Buddha

This statue is visible from almost anywhere in south Phuket the Bi Buddha is one of the most important and revered statues. The site is not only impressive but offers almost a perfect 360 degree view of the island. There is also a smaller statue closer by golden in colour which is actually made of brass. This impressive structure is a must visit and should be added to your Phuket package.

Simon Cabaret Show

This is the biggest transvestite cabaret show which can be found locally. The show features a variety of classical dances and songs and draws thousands of tourists every year. The extravagant and dramatic costumes and make up will take you across a number of lands from Egypt to China and then back to Thailand. It is some of the most flamboyant performances you will every experience and should not miss a spot on your Phuket package.

Thai Boxing

Muay Thai is another exciting spectacle which showcases tradition and courtesy along with the dangerous sport. There are a number of matches which occur in stadiums as well as on Patong beach. This sport is extremely popular in Thailand should certainly be on your Phuket package itinerary.

Money-Saving Tips When Staying At An Island Resort

Money-Saving Tips When Staying At An Island Resort

Nothing can be more perfect than living a beach lifestyle in an island paradise. You get to enjoy the warm sun, cool and refreshing natural breeze, and take a dip at the beautiful, invigorating beach any time you want to. And aside from just one beach or more, a paradise also offers a lot of other natural, stunning sceneries and attractions that are worth seeing and visiting.

To have the best vacation on an island though, consider staying at a resort. They offer great services, amenities, and they allow you easy access to the beautiful beach or seaside – areas that you will always want to visit or spend time in while you’re on the island.

Staying at a resort, and an island vacation, as a whole, can cost you a fortune though. These expenses can even go higher when you have your holiday in an exotic, foreign island.

But if you can’t ignore the call of a beach paradise and want to have a much-needed vacation here, below are some money-saving tips you can follow when staying at a resort for your island getaway:

Take advantage of current accommodation promos or specials offered by resorts.

Although you want to save money on your accommodation, booking a room at a resort that offers the cheapest rates is not the best decision to make. You may end up regretting choosing this resort because the facilities and rooms are poorly maintained and dirty. You can still stay at a nice resort without spending a ton of cash by looking for one that offers some special promos, deals on rooms, or packages. By following this tip, you can have a more relaxing and enjoyable vacation and at the same time, still save some money.

Set a budget for your trip.

Although a vacation is the ideal time to spend a lot of your hard-earned cash, without a budget, you might just end up blowing a lot of your money on unnecessary thing such as shopping for souvenirs, daily trip to the spa, etc. Before going on your holiday, set a budget that you will work with daily while you’re on vacation and make sure you stick to it.

Be flexible with your meals.

The restaurants and cafes at the resort are there to make dining more convenient and comfortable for you. However, the meals, snacks, and beverages here tend to be more expensive compared to the dining and drinking establishments found in other areas of the islands. Consider eating or having your coffee or drinks at restaurants and other establishments outside the resort. Don’t count out buying your own bread, cold cuts, cereals, milk, snack bars, fruits, and other food and beverages from a local grocery that you can eat and drink when you’re hungry or thirsty to save money as well.

Famous Thai beaches and why one should visit them

Famous Thai beaches and why one should visit them

Thailand is a country which is internationally famous for its beautiful beaches. Thousands of tourist’s flock every year to the Thai beaches to party enjoy the sun and basically have a good time. Here is a list of popular Thai beaches and what each beach is famous for:

 

Koh Phangan- Beach bar

The Flip Flop Pharmacy on this beach is one of the most popular beach bars. The bar brings out the hidden beauty of the island and has a relaxing vibe; the bar holds a number of full moon parties which is mainly why so many tourists visit the destination. With a drinks menu to rival most bars, the Flip Flop Pharmacy offers mellow music, comfortable pillows, low tables with everything lit by lanterns under the stars. One can spend the perfect evening relaxing under the stars sipping a cool beverage.

Koh Tao – the Beautiful beach

Koh Tao is a picture perfect beach where one needs to arrive either early in the morning or just at sunset to get the perfect picture. Nangyuan beach near Koh Tao connects the three small islands by a sliver of sand bar and linked back clear water which is only thigh deep. The beach is beautiful and allows you perfect access to the three islands.

 

Similan Island – Ideal snorkeling destination

If you are one who loves to explore the underwater marine life, then you should grab your snorkeling mask and immediately head to the Similan Islands. There is a national park located west of Khao Lak on the islands which offers some of the best diving sites in the world which cannot be missed out on. There are also several shoals of colourfully bright coral reef you can swim to as well as soft beaches which are perfect for a picnic with your friends.

 

Phuket – the Rooftop bar views

When planning your Phuket package, one must visit Baba Nest which offers an incredible experience if being suspended over Phuket’s Cape Panwa Peninsul. The rooftop bar of Baba Poolclub at Sri Panwa guarantees you a view that will take your breath away of the Andaman Sea. After swimming in the infinity pool, you can relax enjoying the view on the sunken seats provided.

 

Koh Samui and Phuket – Wild beach clubs

Though many like opting for a relaxing evening sampling delicious Thai dishes, there are several tourists who prefer a more luxurious touch to their evenings. When planning your Phuket package you should seriously consider how you wish to spend your evenings. On Koh Samui’s Nikki beach one can get the opportunity to eat sushi, champagne along with music from international DJs while on Phuket’s Catch beach club on Surin beach is known to throw rave parties all night.

 

Be it a holiday travelling the length of Thailand or a simple Phuket package, the country has a lot to offer in terms of interesting beach experiences. So when you decide to visit Thailand, make sure you research the different types of beaches and what they are famous for to ensure that they get the beach experience of their choice.

Fun, frivolity and firecrackers: the top Thailand festivals

Fun, frivolity and firecrackers: the top Thailand festivals
Thailand knows how to party in style. Whether it’s celebrating the start of the rainy season, a new year or just the size of the moon, there’s a festival for nearly every occasion. And the festivals themselves are some of the wildest, weirdest and sometimes wettest on the planet, involving everything from home-made rockets to buffalo races.

Songkran

Marking the start of the lunar new year, Songkran involves the entire country throwing water at each other. Thais and tourists alike grab buckets and water pistols and spend the day drenching anyone in sight – a welcome relief from the searing April temperatures. As well as hurling water, locals love to plant coloured paint on visitors’ faces and wish them a happy new year.Of course the light-hearted mayhem has a more serious side – the water represents cleanliness and a chance to forgive and forget any problems in the previous year. Khao San Road in Bangkok is where most foreigners head for, but every town will have its own water-throwing fun.

Bun Bang Fai

Farmers take a swig of local moonshine, light a fuse and step back. Seconds later their 6m (20ft) homemade rockets are blasting skywards. Welcome to Bun Bang Fai, which takes place in the northeastern town of Yasothon every May. The festival’s official aim is to awaken the spirits in the sky and make sure they send plenty of rain for the crops, but unofficially it is an excuse for the entire town to party in the street. The fun lasts several days, starting with a raucous parade and ending, in a remote field, with the release of the giant rockets.

Phi Ta Khon

A surreal mix of Halloween and carnival, the Phi Ta Khon festival sees locals don brightly coloured ghost masks and take to the streets of Dan Sai, a village in the northeastern province of Loei. The three-day event begins by invoking the spirits with incantations and the tying of ‘protective’ white string around everyone’s wrists. Villagers then hit the streets wearing their famous masks, singing and dancing and inevitably sweeping visitors up in the action. As well as spirits of an ethereal nature, rice wine also makes an appearance, but things sober up on the third day, when Thais listen to Buddhist sermons.Phi Ta Khon is normally held in June, though the exact date is determined by local soothsayers. It re-enacts a tale of Buddha’s return to his home town before he attained enlightenment. His arrival was said to have caused such joyous celebrations that they woke the dead, who then joined in the festivities.

Buffalo Racing

It’s not quite Ascot, but every October in the eastern province of Chonburi buffalo races are the big draw in town. Riders cling bareback to the beasts as they thunder down a muddy track, cheered on by thousands of spectators. The festival also features muay thai (Thai boxing) and traditional Thai games, for example, climbing up a slippery pole to grab money pinned to the top. There is even a Miss Buffalo content for the prettiest-looking animal.

Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival is Phuket’s most famous festival and sees the islanders perform gruesome acts of self-mortification. Cheeks, ears and even tongues are pierced with skewers and swords as participants display their religious zeal. Other highlights include fire-walking, climbing ladders that have razor-sharp knives for rungs and letting off firecrackers. As the name suggests, participants abstain from eating meat, and do so in the belief that it will help them live a happier life. The festival is Chinese in origin, and is held annually from late September to early October.

Loi Krathong

Loi Krathong takes place in November and is one of the most serene and peaceful festivals on the Thai calendar. Krathong are small floating vessels made from banana leaves and adorned with candles, incense sticks and flowers. During the festival, Thais take their krathong down to the water’s edge and release them, making a small prayer and letting go of any past grudges. Look skywards and you’ll see dozens of kom loi (mini hot-air balloons), which cast a golden glow over the night sky. Loi Krathong is held throughout the country but the best places to experience it are in Bangkok, Ayuthaya or Sukhothai.

Full-moon party

Welcome to party central! The legendary full-moon parties of Thailand are held on the island of Ko Pha-Ngan in the country’s south. What started as a simple affair with a few dreadlocked backpackers now attracts thousands of visitors keen to sip buckets of booze on the beach and listen to the booming sound systems and DJs. There’s no religious or profound purpose behind the event – it’s simply a hedonistic beach gathering full of fireworks, cocktails and dancing.

Surin Elephant Round-up

Elephants are the kingdom’s national animal (they were even on the flag once), and they get their very own festival each November in the northeastern province of Surin. The festival showcases the strength and skills of the creatures, and includes elephant football, tug-of-war and mock battles, in which around 300 elephants take part. Some pachyderms can even turn their trunks to painting and produce remarkably good pieces.

River Kwai Bridge Week

Held from late November to early December, this festival remembers the fierce fighting that took place on the River Kwai during WWII. The famous Death Railway Bridge in the western province of Kanchanaburi acts as a backdrop to a nightly sound and light show, which tells the story of the Thai-Burma railway and the infamous Hellfire Pass, where Allied prisoners of war were forced to work in brutal conditions. Rooms fill up quickly during this spectacular festival, so be sure to book ahead.

Eating & Ordering Thai Food (as Thais do)

Eating & Ordering Thai Food (as Thais do)

Thai food is eaten with  a fork and spoon. Even single dish meals such as fried rice with pork, or  steamed rice topped with roasted duck, are served in bite-sized slices or chunks obviating the need for a knife.  The spoon is used to convey food to the mouth.

Ideally, eating Thai food is a communal affair involving two or more  people, principally because the greater the number of diners the greater the number of dishes ordered. Generally speaking, two diners order three dishes in addition to their  own individual plates of steamed rice, three diners four dishes, and so on. Diners choose whatever they require from shared dishes and generally add it to their own rice. Soups are enjoyed concurrently with rice. Soups are enjoyed concurrently with other  dishes, not independently. Spicy dishes, not independently. Spicy dishes are “balanced” by bland dishes to avoid discomfort. 

The ideal Thai meal is a harmonious blend of the spicy, the subtle, the sweet and sour, and is meant to be equally satisfying to eye, nose and palate. A typical meal might include a clear soup (perhaps bitter melons stuffed with minced pork), a steamed dish (mussels in curry sauce), a fried dish (fish with ginger), a hot salad (beef slices on a bed of lettuce, onions, chillies, mint and lemon juice) and a variety of sauces into which food is  dipped. This would be followed by sweet desserts and/or fresh fruits such as mangoes, durian, jackfruit, papaya, grapes or melon.

Thai Street Food

Thai Street Food


One of the joys of Thailand is all the wonderful food sold by street vendors. A top 10 list of dishes that are even better to buy from street vendors than from restaurants is offered. There is a great variety of food, it is easy to find, and many vendors ensure the food is clean and of high quality at a low price.

Thailand is well-known as “the land of smiles.” Thais are friendly and well-known as “food lovers.” Many say “Thais love to eat. Thais eat several meals per day.” In response to these comments, I have to say, yes, Thais love to eat but we eat 3 meals per day just like the rest of the world. The difference is that Thais love to snack. Our snacks range from fresh fruits to deep-fried food. In Thailand, it is so easy to find food. Street vendors are everywhere. If there are people, there are food. One of the greatest joys of living or traveling in Thailand is the abundance and variety of food.Street vendors, street food, roadside stands, food stands, food stalls or whatever you would like to call it, simply involves something mobile that allows an owner (or a cook in most cases) to push them around, from home and back. Many people may think that street food is not clean, but in fact with many vendors it is clean. And many of the owners are unpretentious. The owners push a cart from home to their selling location and then back home and clean the cart every night. Street food offers an incredibly cheap price and some offer incredibly good taste. Sometimes it is even better than a famous restaurant.Some street vendors offer such good food that you will have to wait for a table along the street. Particularly in these cases, street food is not only for poor or middle class people – you will often find a businessman or wealthy people ordering the street food. Do not expect a menu from a street vendor because there are not any. Most street vendors only offer one dish, just their specialty. Street food offers a wide variety of choices – curry, fried rice, noodle dishes, stir-fried, salad, fresh fruits, desserts, etc. Basically you name it. You might be able to even find grilled lobsters in China town at a reasonable price. Of course, I cannot forget to mention all the bizzare food like deep-fried frogs, deep-fried birds, deep-fried grasshoppers, etc.The following are the top 10 street food dishes that I think are better than what restaurants have to offer. In other words, you should buy the following food from a street vendor rather than from a restaurant.

  • Som Tum – Spicy shredded green papaya salad with peanuts and tomatoes
  • Larb – Spicy minced meat with chopped shallots, onions, chilies and coriander
  • Khao Mun Gai – Steamed chicken with rice cooked in chicken stock and garlic
  • Jok – Rice porridge with ground pork, fresh ginger and green onion (some may add egg)
  • Lad Nah – Stir-fried thin or wide rice noodles with light gravy bean sauce and Chinese kale
  • Hoi Tod – Fried oysters in batter with egg on a bed of beansprouts
  • Pad Thai – Stir-fried medium rice noodles with egg, dried shrimp and fried bean curd sprinkled with peanuts (served with beansprouts)
  • Satay – Slivers of chicken or pork grilled on a stick, served with sauce and cucumber
  • Khao Moo Daeng – Chinese-style red pork with rice, boiled eggs and cucumber
  • Khao Tom – Rice soup with a selection of meat and vegetable side dishes

There is so much more street food than I can list here. The above 10 dishes are those I particularly think are better to buy from a street vendor. One of the greatest joys of living in Thailand is the opportunity to try out food from different places at a reasonable price. I grew up in Bangkok and I have to say that Bangkok has bad traffic. I mean very bad traffic. You can literally sit in a car or a bus for hours and hours. Even though people in Bangkok live with bad traffic, most people will travel a long way through heavy traffic just to eat street food. I have to say I was among them.Another type of food vendors that I want to mention are not on land, but instead on canals (called Klong in Thailand). Along Klongs, you may find sellers paddling their boats selling fresh fruit and vegetables, noodle dishes, curries, etc. just like street vendors. The quality can be just as good as the street vendors.Street food can be as good as restaurant food. It is fresh, cheap and good. Part of the fun of living in Thailand is the chance to find street food that is even better than food in restaurants. Some street food may not be as clean, but in many cases, vendors do a good job of making sure the food is clean. There is certainly food for working class people, and food can be found in a wide variety of locations. Next time when you smell some mouth-watering food, stop by and give it a chance. You will not only experience good food, but friendly people as well.