Thailand an Overview

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Thailand lies at the heart of South East Asia, a neighbour to Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos it is a country rich in culture, history, religion and, of course, food. Formerly known as Siam, some 95% of the Thai population are Buddhists and the country is home to some of the most spectacular temples in the entire region.
As a holiday destination, Thailand has much to offer. From the bustling streets and congested highways of Bangkok to the jungle tribes in the north and the sandy beaches in the south. But for many the biggest attraction is the food. Thai food has enjoyed a huge growth in popularity in recent years, best known for the ubiquitous green and red curries, fish cakes and pungent clear soups this, however, only scratches the surface of one of the worlds great cuisines.

The four main flavour notes of Thai food are hot, sour, salty and sweet. Heat is provided by the use of dried red chillies or the mind numbing tiny birds eye chillies, the sour from fresh kaffir limes, the salty from the shrimp pastes and fish sauce to the sweet and sticky palm sugar. Copious amounts of fresh herbs such as coriander root, mint, Thai and holy basil are used along with freshly roasted and ground spices all designed to give a balance of flavours, each with an integral part to play.
Spice pastes, which are the building blocks to many Thai dishes offer the best example of the importance of balance. With so many ingredients of such robust tastes it is vital that the cook understands the complexities of spice so that one does not overpower another.

Meat Dishes Beef, chicken and lamb
Seafood From the shores of the Andaman Sea
Soups Fiery broths, fish and chicken
Salads Meat and fish plus Asian dressings
Spice Pastes Green and Red Curry, Mussaman and more