Thai Food History

Thai food history

There are values ​​in food consumption. Lifestyle of eating fast food, imitating Western eating which has a high risk of causing diseases such as atheroma, gout, obesity, etc.

Currently, Thai food can be classified into two types:

  • Royal food. With the royal court tradition, the inner side is often considered a model of tradition. Good living of Thai people Food in the royal court is therefore popular for consumption from the past to the present.
  • Local food is regional food that differs according to plants characteristic, and of course and terrain.

Rice is the staple food of Thai people. In the Ayutthaya period Thai people prefer to eat plain rice rather than. It was planted so much that it could be sold as an important export product until the Rattanakosin period. The best quality native rice at present is jasmine rice, which has white grains like jasmine flowers. Fragrant like pandan leaves, so it is called ” fragrant white rice like jasmine ” later called ” jasmine rice ” which is popular in the world market as one of the most delicious fragrant rice in the world.

Thai rice is an oriza sative species of Asian rice. Archaeological studies in Thailand have found grains grown by humans for food. Since prehistoric times, about 5,000 years ago, from the study of rice grain characteristics from archaeological sites in Thailand It was found that people in the prehistoric period to the early history era planted large grain type of glutinous rice (javanica) and type of pom pom (japonica) as food. Yari (indica) from the Bay of Bengal region. imported by Indian traders Archaeologists believe that the ruler of the city inherited this eating culture before it became popular among the masses. Therefore, the name of this new type of rice is called “Khao Chao” or the boss’s rice.

The wisdom of Thai people that may be classified as follows.

  • The wisdom of success in understanding the natural cycle creating Thai food with components that are related to the terrain, natural resources and have a fluid appearance or can switch vegetables. Meat can be cooked according to the season and local flora, which is worth to remember, it can be used to cook all parts of the leaves, flowers, roots, tubers, fruits.
  • The wisdom of success in learning the value of plants and meat, thus creating Thai food, to have values ​​in accordance with the needs of Thai people’s bodies. It is useful in nourishing and preventing disease.
  • The wisdom of success in food processing for preserving to be kept for long-term consumption, causing many types of food.

Thai food is a blend of cultures. On the basis of receiving, to experiment, when it was good, it adapted to the traditional food form. The smell of foreign food, including Mon, Laos, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Western nations. So immersed in Thai food that still maintains its own style.


Thai people consume rice as a staple food. The two most popular are sticky rice and non-glutinous rice. Thai people in the Northeast and North Most of them eat sticky rice. As for Thai people in the central and southern regions, they prefer to eat Chao Mee as the main food. Thailand, which is mainly connected to the river Making the food of Thai kitchen mainly consists of fish, including grilled fish, grilled fish, dipping sauces, eating with fresh vegetables that can be found in swamps and forests, salted fish, fermented fish, etc.

Spicy food from chili peppers. 

Thailand has been brought as a seasoning from Portuguese priest in the reign of King Narai the fried food received from Chinese immigrants to Thailand during the Rattanakosin period.

Thai food has its origins with the establishment of Thai people, and has been continuously developed since the Sukhothai period to the present from the study of Lecturer Kobkaew Najpinit, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University. The history of Thai food in different eras can be summarized as follows.


Thai food in the Sukhothai period is based on evidence from stone inscriptions and important literature is Traiphum Phra Ruang of Phaya Lithai who has mentioned about Thai food in this era that with rice as a staple food by eating with meat that is mostly derived from fish. Are there any other meats? Cooking has appeared the word “kaeng” in Trai Phum Phra Ruang, which is the origin of the word. Curry Rice Vegetables mentioned in the stone inscription are melons and gourds, while sweet dishes use local ingredients such as rice crackers and juice, and some people prefer to eat fruit instead of sweet food.


This was considered the golden era of Thailand that had more contacts with foreigners, both Western and Eastern from the documents of foreigners found that Thai people eat simple food. Fish is still the mainstay, boiled and curry, and it is thought to have been used for cooking, but rather coconut and coconut milk. Fats or oils from animals came into Ayutthaya food, such as coconut milk worms. The way to do this is to cut the coconut tree. Then bring the worms in the tree to eat coconut milk and then fry it, it becomes a royal food. Thai people nowadays have food preservation, such as drying or made into salted fish with dipping sauces such as chili paste, it is popular for consumption of aquatic animals than land animals especially big animals, that are bot popular to kill for use as food. There are mentions of fish curry using spices, such as curry with onions, garlic and sweet herbs. Strong spices are expected to be used in cooking to deodorize the fishy smell of fish. Evidence from the records of foreign priests shows that the food of different nations began to come more in King Narai, for example Japanese, Portuguese, wines from Spain, Persia and France, as for the influence of Chinese cuisine, and is expected to be stronger during the late Ayutthaya period. Thailand cut ties with Western nations. Therefore, it can be said that Thai food in the Ayutthaya period got culture from foreign food through having diplomatic and commercial relations with various countries. And from historical evidence that most foreign food is widespread in the royal court later distributed to the people and blend into Thai food in the end.


From the evidence shown in the book Mae Krua Hua Pak, which is the second Thai cookbook by Lady Phaeng, Passakornwong found the continuation of Thai food culture from Sukhothai to the Ayutthaya period and the Thonburi period. It is also believed that the Thai food route would connect from Krung Thon Buri to the Rattanakosin period through government duties and kinship society. And Thai food in the Thonburi era is probably similar to the Ayutthaya era. But what’s more special is that there are Chinese national dishes.


The study of Thai food in the Rattanakosin period is classified according to the period that historians have defined, namely the first period, from the reign of King Rama V. 1 until the reign of King Rama 3 and the second period, from the reign of King Rama 4 to the present reign as follows:


Thai food in this era was the same style as the Thonburi era. But there was one more kind of Thai food, namely, in addition to savory and sweet dishes, there were more snacks. During this period, Thai food was more influenced by the food culture of China and eventually converted to Thai food from a memory letter from Krom Luang Narintorn Thewi mentioning the monks’ sweet and savory dishes at the Phra Phutthamanee Rattana Maha Patimakorn ceremony (Emerald Buddha) has shown, that in addition to Thai food items such as vegetables, chili paste, dried fish, fried bamboo shoots. There are also dishes prepared with Islamic spices. And there is Chinese food by observing the use of pork as an ingredient. Because pork is a food that Thai people don’t like, but Chinese people like it.

The royal script of Kap Hae Boat can show us the sweet savory dishes of His Majesty King Buddhalertla Naphalai. His Highness mentioned many kinds of savory and sweet foods, which reflects the image of Thai food in the royal court most clearly which shows the characteristics of Thai food in the royal court with flavoring and taste exquisite and pay special attention to the taste of food. And it is considered the era where the culinary arts are quite complete, including tastes, smells, colors and beautiful decorations, including the development of international food to be Thai food.

From the royal script, details came about the classification of food. Fishy or a side dish and snacks, savory dishes, such as various types of curries, dips, and various salads. For snacks, most of them are savory snacks, such as pork nam lang, bird’s nest, and sweet dishes, which are mostly made with flour and eggs. There are snacks that are crispy, such as Khanom Ping, Khanom Lam Chiak, and desserts with sweetened juice and coconut milk, such as Sarim Bualoy.

In addition, Thai literature, Khun Chang Khun Phaen, which is considered a literature that reflects the way of life of the people of that era very much, including the food of the villagers. Found that Kanom Jeen Ya is popular and eaten as a staple food. Together with various types of rice such as curry, tom, yam, and roast, the food has more variety in both savory and sweet dishes.


Since the reign of King Rama IV, Thailand has developed greatly. and set up the first printing house in Thailand, so Thai food recipes began to be recorded more, especially during the reign of King Rama 5, such as in the royal writings on Klai Ban Archives, His Highness visited the beginning, etc., and there were also various records through kinship inheritance and other official records which reflect the nature of Thai food with a variety of One-dish meals, snacks, desserts and international dishes, even though it was a method of concocting the royal court and the methods of concocting the villagers that have been passed down to the present. But it is worth noting that some Thai food nowadays has a method of cooking or portioning. The composition of the food is different from the original. Therefore, the taste of the food is not the original recipe. And lack of refinement that should be considered an important identity of Thai food, Thai food in various regions.

Northern traditional food

The northern region comprises 17 provinces, comprised of diverse landscapes with different ethnicities, settled in lowlands, uplands and high mountains for their livelihood. The settlements of low-lying Thais, which are mostly ethnic groups, are concentrated in the lowland areas of major rivers such as Ping, Wang, Yom, Nan of the Upper Chao Phraya River Basin and Ing Lao of the Mekong River Basin. The way of life is tied to the culture of rice planting by Thai people in the upper northern plains in 9 provinces (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Uttaradit, Phrae Nan) have a culture of production and consumption of sticky rice as the main dish. The food of the northern people is beautiful. With the habits of northern people, there are even verbs that are sweet.

Northeastern food

The people in the Northeast have different lifestyles tied to natural resources, both in the plains of the Korat and Sakon Nakhon Basin rely on important rivers such as Chee Mun, Songkhram, Mekong, etc., and communities living in the mountains. Especially the Phu Phan Mountains and the Phetchabun Mountains, which differ in natural resources. This makes the food system and food management style of the community different as well. Originally during the period when natural resources were still abundant Natural food is very diverse and plentiful. Villagers only find food from natural food sources as needed for their daily consumption, such as fishing from rivers. There is no need to catch fish and imprison it. And if one day you catch a lot of fish, is it processed into fermented fish? Dried fish can be consumed for a long time. As a result, villagers rely very little on food from the market. Eat everything you grow.” The backyard plays an important role as a household food source. The villagers have important ideas about food production, produce enough for consumption have leftovers to share with relatives neighbors and make merit Northeastern food focuses on sweet flavors such as Pad Mee Korat, Papaya Salad.

Central food

Characteristics of local food in the central region have different origins. Influenced by foreign countries such as curry, coconut milk, will come from the Hindus. Stir-frying using a pan and oil from China. Khanom Bueng Thai adapted from Khanom Bueng Yuan, a type of sweet dessert, Thong Yib Thong Yod, influenced by Western countries, etc., especially the food from the palace where there are creative and exquisite dishes such as Chomuang Ja Mongkut Rum dessert. Luk Chub Basket Sida Thongyib, or food such as Khao Chae, Vegetables, Carved Fruits, those dishes that usually have a side dish such as chili paste on the boat to be simmered with sweet pork in coconut milk curry. Nam with salted fish Neem with sweet fish sauce must be paired with steamed shrimp or grilled catfish. Fried gourami is to be eaten with mango chili paste or salted egg, usually eaten with chili paste on the boat. Fresh Tamarind Paste or Mango Chili Paste. There are also many kinds of Nham products such as pickled vegetables, pickled ginger, pickled shallots, etc. It is a region with snacks, and many desserts such as Pak Mo crackers, golden krathongs, and taro bats.

Southern food

The southern region has marine terrain. Southerners like to use shrimp paste in cooking. Home cooked food is just like any Thai food, but the taste is more intense. Southern food is not only spicy from chili, but also uses pepper to add spiciness as well. In the southern border provinces, there are different foods. Examples of well-known southern dishes include:

  • Kaeng Tai Pla (Kaeng Tai Pla, made from fish offal through the Department of fermentation). To make Kaeng Tai Pla, you will add kidney pla and chili paste. Add herbs, dried fish meat, fresh bamboo shoots, some recipes include pumpkin, betel nuts, cassava root, etc.
  • Kua Kling is a spicy stir-fried dish that uses curry paste and herbs, spicy taste, usually putting minced pork or minced chicken.
  • Curry Prik, a red curry that uses curry paste as an ingredient. The meat used to cook is pork, pork bone, or chicken.
  • Kaeng Pa, a red curry that resembles chili curry but the water is clearer. The meat used for cooking is fish or chicken.
  • Kaeng som or yellow curry. The taste is more intense than the curry of the central region. And most importantly, it must be put in shrimp paste as well.
  • Stir Fried Pork with Salted Sato Khew salty is fermented shrimp, not shrimp paste.
  • Pla Tom Som is not a red curry, but a yellow curry made from turmeric. The soup has a sour taste from buffalo orange and tamarind.

We sinserely hope that our Western friends will have even greater opportunities now to help people ordering the sweeter lunch boxes to people’s offices to call it Genuine Thai Food.

(to be continued..)

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