Thai Food and Thailand Travel
For years, ThaiTable has been one of the leading Thai food and travel websites.
Here you can learn everything it takes to cook real and authentic Thai food, just like your Thai mom used to make.
And then read about visiting Thailand.
U.S. -> U.S. Volume Conversions
1 teaspoon 1/3 tablespoon 1 ounce 2 tablespoons 4 tablespoons ¼ cup 5 1/3 tablespoons 1/3 cup 8 tablespoons ½ cup ¼ cup 4 tablespoons 1 cup ½ pint
2 cups 1 pint 1 pint 16 ounces 1 quart 2 pints
1 gallon 4 quarts
While Thai food is exotic, it does not have to be tough to learn. Even though Thai flavors come together in a system that is very different from American or western flavor systems, that system can be easily learned.
We are here to help you learn how to cook Thai food. We also want you to understand and know Thai food and Thai ingredients beyond the famous Pad Thai and curry dishes. There is a rich array of dishes and flavors that will amaze you.
We want to teach you what we have learned and not just show how to make a few dishes, but how to make them taste great and how to understand why they do (or don't) succeed. Beyond just cooking, we want you to understand the significance of the dishes and how they are served and enjoyed.
Learn a few words in Thai. Click on the Thai word to hear it spoken.
Occasionally, women and men use different words to be polite. Add 'kha' at the end of sentence for Women. For men, add 'krub' at the end of your sentence. It's a little word that goes a long ways.
English Thai Tips Let's Eat! Gin Kow. literally means eat rice - a phrase used in many Asian languages. Hello Swad-dee kha for women and
swad-dee krub for men
Good-bye Swad-dee kha for women and
swad-dee krub for men
where is it? (for objects) you te nai Unlike with English, you put the object first:
Where is the chicken? Gai you te nai?
I Pom For men I Chan or Di- chan For women want ow Depending on how you use it, it can be very crude. But probably OK for non-Thais. Do not want Mai ow Don't want chicken: Mai ow gai. Foreigner Fa-rang It is not derogatory term. It just means any Caucasian. Hungry. hue Full. im Spicy hot ped Hot (temperature) ron Sweet wahn Water nam Many liquids are referred to with the word 'nam' something ie. Mae-nam means river, nam-jim is a generic term for sauce. Chicken gai egg kai Pork moo beef nua Shrimp goong Pla fish Vegetables pug Dessert kong wahn Restaurant rahn-ah-haan Delicious. Aroy-dee. Thank you. Kop-khun. Kop-khun-kha for women and kop-khun-krub for men Thank you very much. Kop-khun-maag. Let's go. Pai. Bathroom hong-nam Literally means water room.
Ground white pepper used to come in a tin container with little holes for sprinkling. Now, they come in little glass jars just like in the US. Last time when I was in Thailand, I found the tin container. I got one and will keep refilling!
The ground white pepper is what Thai people used at the table and in the kitchen. Otherwise, white peppercorns are used. Black peppers are not as common as in the West.
At various supermarkets, in the ethnic food section, you can find American made or even Thai made peanut sauce. It is everywhere and seems to get more popular by the day. People pour it on salad, eat it with rice or noodles and cook meat in it.
I find this kind of funny because my friends and family in Thailand don't know what 'peanut sauce' is. We don't have the 'peanut sauce' in Thai cuisine as the Thais in Thailand know it. We put ground peanuts, as just another ingredient, in a variety of dishes. The three dishes that are well known to Americans that havea sauce with peanuts are satay sauce, cubed tofu sauce and tod mun sauce. When you find both these dishes in Thailand, the peanuts are coarsely ground so that they're like thick grains of sand, and not mud or peanut butter.
In Thai cuisine, you have 3 choices for peanut sauce:
Thai people love food. You can always find freshly made food 24 hours a day from a variety of eateries on every block. Here is an overview of the variety of food sources that you will find in Thailand.
In Thailand, food carts, like restaurants, have loyal customers. Because these street-side-cooks make the same 1-4 dishes every day, they are experts at that meal, sometimes jealously guard their technique and can make incredible food. Some of these carts stay permanently in one place, some move around from street to street. Many carts are pushed around the residential areas with the owner yelling or banging a distinct bell, horn or bamboo clapper to announce the food.
When I was growing up, the noodle cart on our street would come by with this sound of the bamboo sticks tapping. I knew, if I wanted noodles, I had better be ready at the door and yell when he came by. Where my sister lives now, there's an icecream cart that comes by and plays a song on their radio that causes the all the dogs in the neighborhood to howl.
Clear noodles are also known as cellophane noodles, bean thread noodles, transparent noodles and glass noodles. There are a variety of sizes from vermicelli to linguine size but the most common one for Thai cooking is the vermicelli size. The noodles are whitsh in color (not off white like rice vermicelli). They come dried in small and large bundles. The one that I buy comes in a bag with 8 small bundles inside (2oz. each). Each bundle is good for a dish.
Clear noodles are made from mung beans. Many Thai people who are on a diet, substitute clear noodles for rice noodles.
Soak in hot, warm or cold water (depending on what you are making) before cooking. The hotter the water, the more water the noodles soak up and the softer they become and the stickier the outside surface. This leads to some rules of thumb about what kind of dish takes what kind of soaking. For casserole type dishes (where the water in the noodles can get baked out) soak in hot water. For re-cooked dishes, like Thai spring rolls, use warm water. For stir fried noodles, soak in cold water otherwise the noodles will be overly sticky. The noodles are done soaking when they become opaque and are soft (like cooked spaghetti). After the noodles are cooked they will become clear. High quality noodles should not keep on expanding if soaked in water or soup for a long time.
For starters, normal pots and pans will do. But as you learn more and cook more adventurously, you'll appreciate a few key additions to your tool set. The right tool for the right job, right? Please note that these are not all Thai cooking utensils and tools, but the ones that I have found work the best for me when I cook Thai food away from Thailand.Wok and SpatulaOne of the most important tools is the wok and a spatula. Finding the right wok here in the U.S. can be a challenging job. I have gone through so many woks.
Stainless Steel Wok
Carbon steel woks are great if you have a restaurant. They are light, with great heat transfer and rigidity. With nearly daily use, they last a long time. I have found though, in most households, even our own, woks are not used frequently enough to counteract their natural oxidization and rusting.
Teflon woks have never lived up to their promises for me. I have had ones with bumpy bottoms, smooth bottoms, even ones with a life time warranty. Sooner or later they all stick at one spot or another. I've even had Teflon coating peel, and I ended up eating it unknowingly. Yuk!
Pressed tofu comes in different forms and many names. The pressed tofu has the least water content of all the fresh tofu (not dried). They can be baked or marinated. Look for names like pressed bean curd, baked tofu, super firm tofu, baked bean curd and bean cakes. They come in small plastic bag in refrigerator section. The colors range from off white to dark brown. In Thailand, they are bright yellow!
I was watching a lady from northeastern part of Thailand standing by the fence at the crowded Chatujak weekend market offering different fried creatures: water bugs, worms, grasshoppers and birds from a push cart.
I understand why many people shriek when it comes to eating bugs, even though I have no problem with water bugs. In Thai cuisine, water bugs are commonly part of certain chili sauces, and are not looked upon as a pest or bug. Besides, they are ground up and unrecognizable; just part of a dish I have eaten them all my life.
The worms and grasshoppers are different! I have seen people eat them on TV, but my mother never cooked them for us. Here was a chance to see if they taste like chicken. I realized that if I could eat water bugs, other insects are not too far from it. How arbitrary is it to discriminate against other types of insects!