|Outside of Japanese and Mexican, Thai food is the one type of food I would have the toughest time living without.
The reasons for this are many, including it's variety, unique and exotic nature, it's vibrant flavors, and the use of
fresh ingredients. Thai food also traditionally uses a good deal of seafood, which is always a way to get my
attention. Historically Thai food was heavily influenced by the waterborne/seafaring nature of the traditional Thai
lifestyle, and because of the Buddist influence, large chuncks of meat were usually eschewed. Typically meat is
chopped up or shredded and mixed with herbs and/or spices. The Thai people have been extremely adept at
combining influences from both East and West to form a uniquely Siamese cuisine. Some of the most vital
influences on contemporary Thai cuisine include those of the Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Portegese, and French.
Especially important is the introduction of frying, stir frying, and deep frying by the Chinese, and the introduction
of chilies by the Portugese who developed a fondness for them after Portugese missionaries encountered them
while serving in South America.
The eating of Thai food also has a unique nature which is designed to appeal to all senses and ultimately seeks to
balance spice, flavor, color, and texture. A Thai meal should include a soup (spicy or not), a curry dish(usually
spicy), fish and/or vegetables with a dip (typically not spicy), rice, and finishing with a sweet desert or freash fruit
such as mango, papaya, durian, grapes, or melon. Thai food is also eaten with a fork and spoon, and is prepared in
a way that obviates the need for a knife. In addition, Thai food is best eaten in a group were a number of various
dishes can be shared.
My personal favorite Thai dishes include Tom Yum or Tom Ka Gai soup, green curry with fish, Pad Thai noodles,
spring rolls, and sticky rice (used tradionally as part of a dessert, not with the main meal). As for drinks that
compliment Thai meals, you can't go wrong with a great Thai beer such as Singha, but there are many great
tradional drinks such as Thai tea (Cha Yen), Thai hibiscus drink (Nam Ga Jiup), soybean milk (Tee's favorite), or
fresh Guava juice.
Here in Salt Lake City we haven't had more than a couple of Thai restaurants until quite recently. While there are
now several spots to choose from, only a couple are really worth patronizing. Conversely, the number of good Thai
establishments Tee and I were able to enjoy while living in both Sydney and Honolulu has spoiled us. Below I've
noted some particularly good Thai restaurants in all three cities. If you know of others, tell me about them!
2028 Kuhio Ave,
1435 South State Street
28 Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW
Phone (02) 9326 9135
1726 S King St
1295 S Beretania St
182-184 Oxford Street
Phone (02) 9332 3133
243 Oxford St
Phone (02) 9361 4817
1968 E. Murray-Holladay Rd.