My name is Jeremiah and this semester I am participating in the Marshall International Exchange Program at Thammasat University. This blog post serves to provide insight on what food in Thailand is like for anyone who loves to eat, and/or is considering whether or not to go to Thailand for their study abroad program.
If you think you've had your fair share of spicy food, come to Thailand and you'll find out how much you've truly been missing. Before coming to Thailand, I only heard rumors and watched Youtube videos about its hot and spicy reputation. However, it only took me two days into my program to realize that Thailand's 'hot and spicy' reputation falls nowhere near short of this title. Especially when it became a necessity for me to specify at every restaurant, NOT to make my food spicy.
After many discussions and eating out three to four times a day, I came to the conclusion that many of the herbs and spices incorporated in Thai dishes are used not only for their taste, but also for their medicinal purposes and health benefits.
Some great examples would be garlic, and chillies, both of which, I would argue seemed just as essential to the Thai cuisine as rice or noodles. If chilies were not in the meals themselves, they were already at your table before you ordered, or placed as a side dip on your plate.
I only heard that garlic was good for your skin, but actually, consuming garlic on a daily basis helps to, **lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and blood sugar levels**, says NDTV Food. In hindsight, I thought chilies were only helpful for fighting off the flu, and colds because of its decongestant properties (e.g. always making my nose run like a water faucet). After doing research into the health benefits of red chilies, I have come to find that there is a plateful of health benefits that come from eating these spicy little vegetables. To name a few, red chilies , **improve digestive health and metabolism, alleviate migraines, reduce risks of cancer, fight fungal infections, and support cardiovascular health. One of the main ingredients in these chilies are capsaicin and it is used in creams to treat muscle aches. This is the substance that gives chilies their heat**, says Judi Zienchuk. After doing further research, Zienchuk 's points gained legitimacy once multiple sources alluded to the same conclusion. Which means…... the chili has MORE health benefits the spicier it is. Although this may be the case, I personally could not handle it whatsoever. If you think you can, there is only way to find out..... Go to THAILAND!
Pro-tip: the chilies increase in spiciness as they decrease in size- so if you are like me, stay away from the mini chilies!!!!
When in doubt, or if you're not feeling as adventurous, you can never go wrong with choosing to eat one of these traditional Thai dishes listed below:
Tom Yum Soup
Stir-Fried Noodles (Pad Thai)
Green Chicken Curry
Fried Rice with Chicken/Crab (Khao Phat or Khao Pad )
Noodle Soup-with your choice of noodle an meat
Chicken in Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai )
Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
Mango Sticky Rice
They all have an array of smells and flavors that mix beautifully.
Although the Asian spices and chilies tend to dominate most Thai dishes, what Thai cuisine does the best, is it combines all four of the essential tastes: salty, sour, sweet and spicy.
I will leave it up to your imagination and the internet to get an idea of what the dishes above taste like, since some of them I did not describe below or photograph. Look to the photo gallery below for some of my personal favorites and pictures of food that I took during my study abroad program. Also, refer to the collapsible items below for recognition of the sources I used in this blog and the link to their articles.
I hope you all enjoyed this blog about Thai Cuisine, if you are planning to study abroad in Thailand you can look forward to eating some of these delicious dishes at most restaurants, or street vendors near you. I hope I didn't make you all toooooo hungry while reading this blog because it sure did make me.