Most Americans who enjoy eating Thai food may not be aware that not all Thai dishes at their favorite restaurant here in the states is available throughout Thailand. Thai cuisine is actually specific to different regions of the country: Southern, Central, Northeastern (or Isan) and Northern. While the cuisine from each region will share some similarities, they are also distinctly different and include influences from the countries these regions neighbor.
Cuisine From Southern Thailand
Food from Southern Thailand is filled with strong, spicy flavors and delicious herbs like turmeric. They also usually contain creamy coconut milk. Some of the more popular dishes are, Kaeng Tai-pla, Kaeng Leang, and Kua Kling.
Cuisine From Central Thailand
Panang Curry (Dry red curry), Kaeng Kaew Wan (Green Curry), Tom Kha (Coconut milk soup), and Tom Yam (Spicy & sour soup) are all cuisine typical of the Central Thailand region. The food here usually is more moderate in flavor, and is comprised of various curries and incorporates coconut milk and sugar as well.
Cuisine From North Eastern (or Isan)
Cuisine from Northeastern Thailand is influenced heavily by the neighboring country of Laos. Tom Sabb and Lap both have a taste that is very strong and spicy due to the types of chilies, spices, herbs, and salt used in the traditional dishes in this region.
Cuisine From Northern Thailand
Northern Thailand dishes, however, are usually fairly light in spice, and flavor since the use of salt and sugar is not commonly used. You will find the more common dishes enjoyed here are Sai-ua, Cap Moo (also known as a papaya salad or Som Tam), Kaeng Kare, and Nam-Prig Ong.
No matter what region you are in, however, you will find that all Thai food incorporates a wide variety of vegetables as their main ingredient in curry dishes, soups, salads, and stir fry. This makes Thai food not only flavorful and delicious but also very healthy as it is lower in fat than that of the average American diet, making it a popular choice for those looking to drop a few pounds but do not want to give up on flavor.
If you find yourself traveling to Thailand to find relaxation on the beautiful beaches, to enjoy the abundant and breathtaking nature, or to sample a little of each region’s fair, you will not be disappointed wherever you are. If you can’t make it to Thailand but you are looking for excellent Thai food in the Arlington, VA area, stop by Thaiphoon @ Pentagon Row and enjoy a meal with us or call us at 703-413-8200 to place an order to go.