The Rise of Thai Food
Thai food has gotten popular over the last few decades, and for that we should be extremely thankful. It’s somewhat shocking to think of a time before most cities had a restaurant offering pad thai or tom yam kung, but that time existed. People didn’t even know what they were missing.
Offering a delicate balance of flavors, Thai food is often known for being a lighter yet still flavorful cuisine. Spicy is a word that is often used as a description, so those who don’t deal well with spicy had better approach with caution. Part of the appeal of Thai food is the way it blends cuisines from many Asian regions. Sharing borders with Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia has lead to diverse and interesting flavor.
A few common ingredients that give Thai food a distinctive taste are fish sauce (nam pla), chili paste (nam phrik) and lime leaves (bai makrut). Rice and noodles are often used as a base for a dish, cooked with meats and spices.
In 1960s when Vietnam became more of a tourist destination and then soldiers started to arrive, Western citizens started to experience Thai cooking in larger numbers than ever before. After that, in the next 25 years the number of Thai restaurants began to skyrocket. In fact, a survey held by the Kellogg School of Management and Sasin Institute found that when people were asked to name an ethnic cuisine, Thai was the fourth named after Italian, French and Chinese.
It’s not surprising that Thai food has become so popular, but we can all count ourselves fortunate that we have access to such delicious meals. So why not try making a Thai dish yourself, like Pork Pad Thai!