Imagine a plate of freshly-steamed Jasmine rice, served with luscious spicy shrimp soup and creamy chicken green curry. You’re torn between the colorful and spicy papaya salad garnished with crisp vegetables on your right and a delectable dish of ‘Pad Thai’ on your left.
A typical Thai meal consists of a soup and/or curry dish, a salad, a fried dish and desserts. Normally there would be a mix of spicy and mild dishes for ‘balance’ and to neutralize tastes. Also, a Thai meal is served all at once, as opposed to serving dishes in courses.
Thai people love sharing food. If you go out for lunch or dinner with Thai friends, you are most likely to be asked whether you’d like a single dish or dishes to share.
It’s also noteworthy that Thais don’t particularly mind having spicy food in the morning. Due to their busy lifestyles, most city dwellers prefer something quick and easy like ‘kao niew moo ping’ (grilled pork with sticky rice), the equivalent to sandwiches in the West.
Generally, Thai people eat three main meals a day just like the rest of the world, but they have a habit of ‘gin len’ (‘snacking’) between meals. The whole spectrum of hawker food from savory ‘look chin ping’ (grilled meat balls), sweet roti pancake wrapped around sweetened condensed milk with a choice of banana or egg and fried bugs, to freshly-squeezed orange juice, fresh fruits, and frittered bananas are available, at incredibly low prices, virtually everywhere in the city.