|Central Region's Diet
Much of what we now
know as Thai cuisine evolved from the central region. Rice, fish, and
vegetables, flavored with garlic, black pepper, and fish sauce, along
with an abundance of fresh fruits, comprises the basic diet of Sukhothai.
With the rise of
Ayutthaya, other elements were added to the increasingly complex Thai
blend. The fiery hot chili pepper, an essential ingredient now, was introduced
at this time, along with the equally popular coriander, lime, and tomato.
These may have been brought in from South America by the Portuguese, who
opened relations with Ayutthaya in 1511 and also left a lasting imprint
in the form of popular Thai sweets based on egg yolks and sugar.
came from India, Japan, Persia, and most important of all, China, though
in almost every case their contributions were subtly altered and transformed
to suit the Thai taste.
Unlike the north
and northeast, where glutinous rice is popular, Central Thais like the
fragrant plain variety. This is usually steamed but sometimes fried or
boiled. In addition to freshwater fish, there is seafood from the nearby
gulf, as well as a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruits such as the
like of mangoes, durians, custard apples, and guavas. Sino-Thai food is
popular in places like Bangkok, particularly in the form of numerous noodle
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