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Originally, Thai cooking reflected the characteristics of a waterborne lifestyle. Aquatic animals, plant and herbs were major ingredients. Large chunks of meat were eschewed. Subsequent influences introduced the use of sizeable chunks to Thai cooking. With their Buddhist background, Thais shunned the use of large animals in big chunks. Big cuts of meat were shredded and laced with herbs and spices. Traditional Thai cooking methods were stewing and baking, or grilling. Chinese influences saw the introduction of frying, stir-frying and deep-frying. Culinary influences from the 17th century onwards included Portuguese, Dutch, French and Japanese. Chillies were introduced to Thai cooking during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries who had acquired a taste for them while serving in South America. Thais were very adapt at "Siameseising" foreign cooking methods, and substituting ingredients. The ghee used in Indian cooking was replaced by coconut oil, and coconut milk substituted for other dairy products.

Overpowering pure spices were toned down and enhanced by fresh herbs such as lemon grass and galanga. Eventually, fewer and less spices were used in Thai curries, while the use of fresh herbs increased. It is generally acknowledged that Thai curries burn intensely, but briefly, whereas other curries, with strong spices, burn for longer periods. Instead of serving dishes in courses, a Thai meal is served all at once, permitting diners to enjoy complementory combinations of different tastes.

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.

No wonder why Thai food has become very popular today. Its great delicious taste and low in fat has fulfilled the rising of health concern . Moreover, the herbs and spices used in most dishes such as garlic, galanga, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, etc., have medicinal properties. Some of them are good for digestion, clear your throat, drive away your fever , even prevent you from cancers.

"It is certainly agreeable that eating Thai style will enhance the body with appropriate nutrients, energy, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber for preventing coronary heart disease, dyslipidaemia, strokes, obesity, diabetes and some cancers." : Dr. Luecha Wanaratna

"A recent joint study by Thailand's Kasetsart University and Japan's Kyoto and Kinki Universities has found that the ingredients in Tom Yum Gung soup are 100 times more effective in inhibiting cancerous tumor growth than other foods." : CNN

"Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects." :

"Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic." :

"Like aspirin, garlic has certain qualities that thin the blood. By preventing platelets from banding together, garlic may keep the circulatory system healthy. Garlic can do this without any of the discomfort or other problems associated with aspirin." : CNN

"So the next time you're at your favorite neighborhood Thai restaurant enjoying your Pad Tai, remember that the recipe is probably over 800 years old and influenced by a plethora of cultures. And don't be afraid to experiment with fare from the different regions of Thailand's unique and diverse landscape." : Kareem Marashi

"The ginger-like root, galangal, which is used to flavour Thai curries, has potential anti-cancer properties according to researchers working at King's College London." : King's College


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