Regional Guide to Authentic Thai Dining in Bangkok
Since the tourism scene in Thailand exploded in the late ‘80s, Thai food has taken its rightful place on the world food stage. Nowadays, foodies around the world agree that Thai food is every bit as delicious and diverse as Chinese, French, Indian and Italian.
Of course, some people visit the Land of Smiles and shy away from eating local food out of fear of the unknown. We think this is a crying shame! The worst thing you can do is visit Thailand and eat Western food (even if the city boasts some excellent Michelin-star restaurants).
As you can imagine within such a large and geographically diverse country, Thailand is home to many different regional cuisines. Currently, there are four distinct styles of authentic Thai dining in Bangkok available. Let’s now look at each one in more detail:
Southern Thai food is perhaps the most well-known of all outside the country. These are the dishes, like popular red and green curry, that rely heavily on coconut milk. Seafood also features heavily in southern dishes. You will also find local cashew nuts, from local plantations, used a lot of this delicious fair.
The food in this part of the country is generally milder than the rest of the nation. Sticky rice is a favourite, which locals’ squash into a bite-size balls with their fingers. Myanmar (formerly Burma) to the west has influenced the cuisine here a lot (and India to them in turn), and you will find liberal use of ginger, turmeric and tamarind in their dishes.
This region is home to cuisine that’s halfway between that of the north and south. The main difference is that locals prefer fragrant jasmine rice over sticky rice. The region’s big claim to fame is that it’s home to Thailand’s celebrated Royal Cuisine. This elaborate style of dining is more akin to art than food! Only certified eateries are allowed to cook it.
Heavily influenced by its closest neighbour, Laos, the food here is renowned for its complex flavours and spiciness. Sticky rice is also a big staple of this area. As meat was historically scarce in this area, the dishes up here rely heavily on shrimp and freshwater fish (particularly in fermented form to extend its shelf life).
We hope this brief guide has whet your appetite to try the incredible array of authentic Thai dining in Bangkok available in this cosmopolitan city. Bon appetit!