is all about ...
the flavours in Thai food..!
....plus other things about our meals...
Many cultures have long sought to makes their foods spicy and delicious, but perhaps in Thailand, this desire has evolved with a
passion, making Thai dishes so unique and special.
Just as these other cultures have long recognised the major taste differences, only the Thai's have chosen to also included the "bitter"
taste to create what is now called "the Thai Five Tastes" -
namely: sweet, sour, salty, bitter
Any dish can contain one or more of these tastes and some, all.
The skilful melding of these taste ingredients defines the artisan from the cook and a typical Thai meal will consist of more than
one dish and always offer more than just one of the 5 Tastes.
A typical Thai menu blends all of these tastes together serving some dishes that
are a marriage of all the tastes and others that are more simple. Our menu typifies this approach and we identify many dishes both in
their form - either curry, stir fry, noodle or rice-based, and by dominant flavour/s.
The 5 Tastes are achieved by combining various sauces, pastes, herbs and spices that
include, but are not limited to:
Sweet - cane or coconut palm sugar, sweet pineapple
Sour - lemon, lime, tamarind, paw paw/papaya, raw mango, sour pineapple or
other sour fruits
Salty - sea salt, soy sauce, fish sauce or sardine and other fish pastes
Bitter - bitter melon or raw leaves from various plants and trees (either wild
Hot - different chili peppers, fresh and dried, and peppercorns,
fresh, pickled or dried, and ground peppers too
A comprehensive selection of fresh herbs also contribute to the unique dishes that brand themselves as Thai, including:
Coriander, garlic, turmeric, galangal, lemon grass, cardamon, basil, kaffir lime and pandanus leaves are popular fragrant spices.
These sames herbs and spices are also the foundation of most Thai curries, setting them apart from the more traditional Indian and other nations curries that include Mussamun.
Another factor that influences the Thai cooking style is the region in which the food is cooked and consumed.
The four regions are -
Northern - or Lampang. This region holds 9 provinces including the popular Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai areas. This region is the home of such dishes as pad prik khing, tom yum soup, and naem, a sour pork sausage served with sticky rice.
North-Eastern - locally known as Issan and holding 19 provinces, some of
which are Udon Thani, Khon Kaen and Sakon Nakhon. This region is famous for som tum, or green papaya salad (very hot), and larb (sour
pork mince, again consumed with sticky rice.
with 26 provinces including, Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Kanchanaburi and Chonburi, and offers Thai salads of beef or seafood, panang-style curry and khai yud sai omelettes as well as many other egg-based dishes.
Southern - having 14 provinces that include Phuket, Krabi and Surat Thani and is
the source of mussamun curry, other popular coconut-based curries, tom kha soup and prominent seafood dishes.
Whereas "sticky rice", or glutinous rice, is popularly enjoyed in the north-east, it is hardly eaten in the south, whereas central and
southern regions favour the wet, coconut-based curries. Other dishes which are common across the country, still produce regional variations as to sweetness and hot-ness, with the two northern regions seeming to favour hot and sour more than sweet in the same dish.
The central region is the home of Pad Thai and Pad Kra Praew, that offer sweeter and milder taste choices.
Your host and chef at A-Thai-5 comes from
the Issan region of Thailand and therefore can produce a truly "hot" dish if you would like it so. She has routinely made the hair on monk's heads stand up on end..!
All our meals however, in standard form, are delivered as "Medium" which satisfied 95% of our patrons. We can raise the hot-ness of
our meals to "Hot", "Thai Hot" and for the really adventuress "Issan HOT"! We really discourage patrons from seeking a "Mild" dish however, since to do so means reducing the flavours that go to
make the meal what it is, so we really urge you try it as served and trust that you will enjoy it.
Curries already vary in hot-ness and flavour and are traditional ranked in the order of :
Hottest - Jungle - wild and challenging as is it name...no coconut cream but really not as ddevastating as it sounds!
Hotter - Chu Chee - simply perfect with seafood and has a slghtly thicker consistency!
Hot (But not that much) - Red - the foundation of almost all other curries, with a full-bodied flavour!
Mid-range - Green (made using fresh Thai chillies) - actually hotter than red but slightly sweeter and so deceptively milder!
Mild - Yellow - gentle yet full of flavour - arguably the most popular of all the curries in the west!
Sweet - Panang (the tastes of kaffir lime and coconut are the dominant flavours here!) and this is also a favourite of many, especially when served with chicken or salmon steaks!
Spicy - Mussamun - identified by its peanuts and star anise - the most popular meat companion is beef!
It is important however, to note that the difference in curries is not just their colour or hot-ness but the structure of the curry too...what it contains, so therefore the flavours are different too.
While there are many other curry variations, A-Thai-5 concentrates on the more expansive range in stir-fried dishes, and has
therefore limited our range of curries to just the more popular seven, as offering a good representation of the multitude of varieties generally available.
We also offer a constantly growing and expanding range of guaranteed "Gluten-Free" and "Vegan"" dishes and we hope that these will progressively become the standard offering wherever possible. For now though, to order Gluten-Free or Vegan,from those menu choices indicated, please ask for this when placing your order. In a few rare instances there is a price surcharge attached to cover the significantly higher ingredients cost to deliver Gluten-Free, however mostly, threre is no additional cost.
Similarly, if you have any specific dietary requirements, please just let us know and we can always assist. We can cater for those with nut and
shell-fish allergies, and others including too - just talk with your wait staff to discuss your special needs.
We do not add MSG to any of our meals, althought acknowledge that some do, however, contain naturally occuring amounts of the substance.
Should you have any questions regarding our meals, please do not hesitate to ask...while we are happy to share
such information, we must, of course, keep some things "secret", just to ensure you keep coming back for them.
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