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Thai Cuisine’s Multitude of Flavours

Thai dishes are considered unique for their perfect blending of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavours. Famous for its health properties, Thai food contains turmeric, galangal, coriander and lemongrass that provide its distinctive flavours. This is how these tastes are harnessed in Thai dishes:


Related: How Lemongrass Enhances Value of Thai Food

When Thai dishes hold a fine blend of flavours the result is instantly delicious. The structure of  Thai cuisine  offers insight on the interplay of various flavours. Unlike western food,  Thai food has no single main course but a variety of different dishes.

Thai main courses have diverse types of cooking methods:

Yum: Mixing herbs and spices; vegetables and  meat with various sauces. Thai sauces come in a wide range of sour, spicy and sweet flavours.

Gang Jeude:  Soup with vegetables or meat

Gang Ped:  Spicy broth with or without coconut milk

Pud: Stir fried vegetables or meat

Tod: Pan fried or deep fried

Yang: Grilled


The primary source of salt in Thai food is fish sauce. Other sources are table salt, soy, oyster sauces,  shrimp paste and fermented fish paste.


Palm sugar in Thai food creates sweetness. Made from palm sap, this golden sugar has a fruity flavour that is impossible to replicate.

Palm Sugar Thai Cuisine


Sourness or acidity provides freshness to Thai dishes by making other flavours pop up. Lime juice is a favorite in Thai dishes and is best when freshly squeezed. Kaffir lime leaves gives a distinctly Thai lime flavor to the dishes.

kaffir lime leaves


Spiciness can be pleasant and harsh also. While Thai people crave for spiciness, non-Thais may not enjoy it as much. Average spices can stimulate a release of endorphins when generated using chili peppers.



Fans of Thai food also love a bit of bitter taste. It is a specialty that can be claimed only by Thai food and no other national cuisines will allow a free play of bitter tastes in their meals.

Blending Flavours

Tom Yum is important as a soup where spiciness and sweet are blended superbly. If you want, you can play up the sweet or spiciness depending on your taste buds as any authentic Thai kitchen will fuse them brilliantly. There are a lot of natural spices and peppers that give authentic Thai dishes a spicy touch and heat.


Mostly sour tasting meals are meat based with that taste coming from the sauces. Often the sourness gets mixed with sweetness as a result of the sauce used for sweet and sour chicken dishes.


Even in desserts there is an effort to achieve flavours by adding different types of flours and fruits. The dessert is the outcome of a combination of flour, sugar and coconut milk.

coconut milk in thai food

To sum up; a Thai food lover is advised to focus on the desired flavor and attain it by calibrating the ingredients of Thai Food appropriately. In Thai cooking, ingredients are never added in a measured manner. Recipes are used as a guide only.