What’s a four-letter word for a type of exotic cuisine that can satisfy your cravings for savory, spicy, and sweet in a single dish? Big hint: it’s in the title. If you didn’t need our hint don’t get cocky just yet, there’s a lot more to Thai food than meets the eye. There’s no single distinct dish that can sum up “Thai food” as a whole. While Pad Thai may be one of the most iconic dishes that come to mind (it does have the actual name of the country in the description), this dish is just the tip of the cultural iceberg that is Thailand’s culinary offerings. Here are three facts you didn’t know about Thai food that are certain to blow your mind.
Pad Thai Isn’t Actually from Thailand
Don’t drop your chopsticks, but Thailand’s most ubiquitous noodle dish is actually from China. The dish’s full name “kway teow pad” literally translates to ‘Thai-style friend noodles’ as stir-fried noodles are of Chinese origin. The dried chilies that give Thai food its renowned kick, are the only truly Thai ingredient of the whole meal.
So how did Pad Thai come to be associated as the primary culinary export of Thailand? In 1938, Thailand’s prime minister, Phibun, introduced the noodle dish in order to provide a cost-effective and nutritious meal for the economically-struggling country. Using government resources, Phibun popularized the dish; sharing the recipe throughout the country and encouraging street vendors to sell. Needless to say, Phibum’s efforts worked, and Pad Thai became completely ingrained within the cultural identity.
There are multiple “types” of Thai Food
Many who travel to Thailand are shocked to learn how starkly different regional Thai cuisine varies from one another, and some Thai food can only be found in their native area. Regional Thai cuisine is greatly influenced by it’s neighboring countries and can be divided into several categories:
- Northern: This mountainous region is predominately vegetarian, with a heavy emphasis on tomato dishes.
- Issan (Northeast): Famous for its incredible spiciness, Isaan dishes focus on grilled meat and fresh veggies with strong influences from neighboring country Laos
- Central: Popular dishes such as Pad Thai and famous Thai curries hail from this region, as do the majority of dishes of what is considered Thai cuisine in America.
- Malay (Southern): Heavily influenced by the largely Muslim population of the adjacent country, Malaysia, southern Thailand is known for their heavy use of Indian spices and hotpots.
They Don’t Do Breakfast
Have you been searching for a Thai brunch spot? You wouldn’t have much luck in Thailand where they typically don’t differentiate meals by the time of day. Most meals can be eaten at any time, which means that you could have noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if your heart so desired, and no one would even bat an eyelash. Occasionally, you might find a limited menu of khao chao which translates to “morning/rice food”, but these “breakfast” dishes very closely resemble everything else.
The Best Thai Food in Miami Beach
Well, this backfired. All of this talk of Thai food has our mouths watering for some stir-fried noodle goodness. Not only is Thai food delicious and oh-so-satisfying, but most Thai dishes are actually pretty healthy, so you can #treatyourself without regret.
If reading this article finds you craving Pad Thai, sushi, or some other type of delicious Asian-fusion dish, come on down to Sukhothai, Miami Beach’s favorite Asian restaurant. Order online or give us a call for convenient Miami Beach delivery today!