Whats the history behind Thai food?

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frutilady Frutilady


The geography, religion, and politico-social influences have strongly influenced the food culture of Thailand. Traditionally, Thai food reflects the close relationship of its people with the sea and aquatic animals, plant, and herbs have been their main stay ingredients. Apart from that being a Buddhist nation, large chunks of food have been abhorred for long. Meat and vegetables are usually sliced, chopped, or shredded before further cooking.

Like any other food culture, Thai food has been largely influenced by the neighboring cuisines and the cuisines of the countries trading and/or invading it. Thus, stewing and baking, which were the only traditional cooking methods,  were largely replaced by the  Chinese style of frying, stir-frying and deep-frying.

17th century onwards the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Japanese started invading the nations and brought in a series of culinary influences. Hot peppers were introduced to Thai cooking during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries.

These influences eventually led to the ghee being replaced by coconut oil, and coconut milk substituted for other dairy products. Hot spices were toned down and enhanced by fresh herbs such as lemon grass and galanga. Eventually, fewer and less spices were used in Thai curries, while the use of fresh herbs increased. 

Thus the present day Thai food evolved.