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Thai food combines the best of several Eastern cuisines : the oriental bite of Szechuan Chinese, the tropical flavor of Malaysian, the creamy coconut sauces of southern Indian and the aromatic spices of Arabian food.

Because Thai food is delicious, nutritional and easy to cook, it is becoming more and more popular internationally and winning a well deserved place in global culinary culture due to its uniquely - combined spicy - salty - sweet - sour taste of this very special Asian cuisine. And today, in cities throughout the world, more and more new Thai restaurants skillfully combine and refine the available ingredients giving the resulting dishes a new exciting character.

The Thai prefer to eat polished rice, tend to consider untreated rice as inferior. While the polishing and washing removes most of the vitamins, particularly the vitamin B family, the side dishes and sauces that are served with the rice are extremely rich in vitamins and more than replace the loss. Long grain rice is cooked (usually steamed) to a light and fluffy texture with out the use of additives such as salt, the seasonings and spicy sauces served separately and added according to individual taste.

A large container of rice is always the centerpiece. Surrounding the large central bowl of rice there will be several dishes offering a balanced selection of flavors and textures. In addition to the rice, a typical meal might include a soup (Tohm Yaam), a curry (Gaeng), fresh vegetables (Yaam), a fried dish (Phad), a spicy hot dipping sauce (Naam Prig) and a steamed one. The soup is served together with the other dishes whereas western custom is to serve the soup as the first course.

A full composition of a typical Thai meal would be rice , curry , soup , fried dishes , salad , dipping sauce with fresh vegetables, steamed or grilled dish , solid dessert , liquid dessert , and mixed fruits . These delicious Thai dishes would be enough to serve at least five people.

To show a set menu of popular Thai foods, the above recommended dishes would definitely serve three persons. Beside the dessert and mixed fruits, one dish can be reduced in case of only two persons dining.

The delightful spicy shrimp soup flavored with lemon grass, lime and chilli Tohm Yaam Goong , is a classic selected for entertaining guests at most Thai homes. Also, on the menu is a popular Thai salad, Yaam Nua sliced grilled tenderloin of beef in spicy salad sauce along with onion, cucumber, and lettuce. A dish of Paad Paak Naam Mun Hoy , fried thin slices of Broccoli and sauteed mushrooms with oyster sauce would be a perfect companion to the other dishes or selections of this meal.

The rich sauce of this main dish, Pla Chon Saam Rote deep fried serpent-head fish with sweet and sour chilli sauce will go well with steamed rice. It is not too hot but mild, all Thais and foreign visitors love it. Other river fish can be substituted whatever your preference. Chopped shallots, garlic, chillies, and coriander root are stir fried in a small amount of vegetable oil. Tamarind juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar are later added. Without this sauce of three different tastes sour, salty and sweet; the main dish will loose its identity.

A sweet ending for this meal is made of typical bananas combined with rich sweet coconut cream, Gluay Buad Shee. If a visitor feels this small bowl of banana is rather heavy after having other dishes, another selection could be Tub Tim Grob water chestnuts wrapped in rice flour ball in sweetened coconut milk and ice cubes.

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