Southern Thailand is a rainy, tropical region covered in thick forests and surrounded on the left and right by the sea. The region has long been an important location for maritime trade and transportation. Influences from ancient maritime superpowers such as China, India, and the spice Kingdoms of Maritime Southeast Asia can still be felt in Southern food to this day. Phuket, in particular, is a province famous for its cuisine which blends together Thai, Malay, and Chinese culinary traditions.
Southern dishes express the bounties of the sea and are characterized by intense aroma and spiciness. The taste of spiciness is derived from a hearty amount of bird eye chilies. A typical Southern is often accompanied with a heap of vegetables, which are plenty in the region. Like the Central, the staple of the South is non-sticky rice, with sticky rice traditionally consumed as desserts.
Famous dishes from the South include: khua kling (คั่วกลิ้ง) – dry curry, gaeng tai pla (แกงไตปลา) – fish gut soup, and gai tod Hat Yai (ไก่ทอดหาดใหญ่) – Hat Yai style fried chicken.
From top right: 1. khua kling 2. gaeng tai pla 3. khao mok gai 4. gai tod Hat Yai (ไก่ทอดหาดใหญ่) – Hat Yai style fried chicken.
- “Thai Food: Thai Culture Heritage”, Department of Cultural Promotion, Ministry of Culture http://book.culture.go.th/thaifood/mobile/index.html#p=1
Written by: Tayud Mongkolrat