isan thailand laos
Did you know Som Tum from Thailand?
yes,it is a spicy papaya salad originating in Laos and the Isan region of northeastern Thailand. Mak houng (ส้ม) in Isan and Lao means “papaya,” and tam (ตำ) means “pounded.” The thai version of “Tum mak houng” is called “Som tum.” “Som” meaning sour and “Tam” meaning pound. In Laos, Tam Mak Houng is mainly eaten with a complete meal with sticky rice or as a delicious snack.
The main ingredient is grated, green papaya, seasoned and pounded to a softened state in a mortar. Chili, garlic, lime, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and padek are also usually added, while yardlong beans and tomatoes are optional. There are many variations of the dish, some made with carrot instead of papaya. The dish combines the four main tastes of Lao/Thai cuisine: sour lime, hot chilli, salty fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The papaya itself is green and fairly neutral tasting. It is served at room temperature, traditionally with sticky rice. It is also sometimes served with pork rinds, raw water spinach, raw winged beans or raw cabbage. Very often it is paired with Peenk Gai , grilled chicken..
In Laos and Isan the dish is normally more spicy and sour, while the Central Thai version is milder and frequently includes peanuts. Som tam Lao usually features salted/fermented mud fish (ปลาร้า in thai) or salt-preserved crab (ปูเค็ม in thai), while som tam Thai is prepared with dried shrimp and bean and is often sweeter.
Som tam can also be prepared with other unripe fruits, notably mango, in which case it is known as tam ma-muang (ตำมะม่วง in thai), cucumber, tam mak teng, or yard long beans, tam mak thua.
The Cambodian equivalent of som tam is bok l’hong.
isan thailand laos
The exotic cuisine of Thailand
Thai cuisines are regarded as one of the best as well as delicious in the world. Since situated between the political and cultural destinations of China and India, Thailand’s dishes have strong influence of cuisines of both these countries. A strong influence of Malaysian flavors is also prevalent in Thai cuisines.
In short, a Thai cuisine is an incredible blend of the Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian cuisines. Further, as many of the monarchs and royals were educated in European nations, they returned to their home place with western culture and western taste in cuisines. Perhaps for this reason Thai cuisines are sometimes influenced by western European flavors.
Above all, Thai cuisines reveal a great deal about the nation, from its political and trade history to its geography. Nowadays, the exotic cuisines of Thailand are much popular in such western countries as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
One of the unique features of Thai cuisines is that it is an assortment of four basic tastes: sour, salty, pungent, and sweet. Thai dishes are not only tasty but also healthy because of its low fat and high fiber as well as the nutritious elements of herbal ingredients. Typically, a Thai meal includes hot salad, a soup, a fried dish, a curry dish or a dip with fresh vegetables and fried fish.
However, rice dishes are the staple among the Thai cuisines. The highest quality, long grained Jasmine rice, otherwise known as fragrant rice, is mostly used for preparing traditional Thai rice dishes. Steamed rice dishes served with aromatic curries and mouth-watering stir fries would satisfy any palate.
Sometimes, curries, fries, and other ingredients are poured on to the rice to form a dish, namely, khao rad gang. Significant of the ingredients that can be found in most of the Thai dishes are nam pla, a kind of fish sauce; shrimp paste, which is a blend of shrimp and taste; Thai egg plants; Chinese ginger; coconut milk; chillies; and a variety of herbal leaves such as kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil.
The cuisines of Thailand are categorized according to the different tastes of the region, such as, central, southern, northern, and northeastern. In central Thai region, cuisines are mostly a blend of hot, salty, and greasy tastes. Among the specialties that are cooked in this area are steamed rice, fried items, soups, and side dishes including curries and shrimp paste dip with fresh vegetables.
Chinese dishes such as noodles and noodle soups are also much popular in this region. Thai cuisines in southern part are more or less influenced by Malay cuisines. One of the much favored dishes in the area is Khanom chin, which is mostly taken with hot spicy curries and vegetable items. Apart from rice dishes, sea food items are important in this region. Further, the dishes prepared here are a mix of sour and salty tastes.
When comes to north and northeastern regions, most popular cuisine here is steamed glutinous rice. Mostly, northern Thai cuisines are simple, and are especially known for its unique style of eating, namely, Khantok Dinner, which is an accompaniment of sticky rice, curries and nam phrik ong, prepared with ingredient like minced pork, tomatoes and chilies.
Each of these items is placed in a large wooden tray and guests sit around it to sit and eat with hand. Northeastern cuisines, or Isan, as it is fondly known, have stronger taste in contrast to that of other parts of the country. One of the main dishes that can be found with almost every meal is pla ra or fermented fish. Also, a prominent dish prepared here is Som Tam, or green papaya salad. Additionally, some of the dishes prepared here have the influence of Laos.
Some of the well-liked Thai dishes are Tom Yam Kung, which is a spicy soup with shrimp as the main ingredient; Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai, a sumptuous curry prepared with chicken; Phat Thai, a noodle items cooked in traditional Thai style; Phat Kaphrao, a meat dish cooked with sweet basils; Kaeng Phet Pet Yang, a curry made with roasted duck; and Phanaeng whose main ingredients are meat and coconut cream. Aside these, sea food specialties prepared with fresh supplies of crabs, oysters, lobsters, prawns, and other shellfishes are truly scrumptious.
Also, worth mentioning are delicious, multifarious Thai desserts, prepared with ingredients such as coconut cream, coconut flesh, rice flour, palm sugar and eggs. Thong Yip, Met Khanun, Mo Kaeng, Kluai Chueam, and Thapthim Krop are just few among the yummy Thai desserts. Above all, much famed are incredible Thai vegetable dishes.
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Bus from Cambodia to Laos?
Looking to do a small two-week tour of Cambodia-Laos-Thailand up to and during the Thai New Year. I’ve already visited Thailand, so the bulk of the focus is on Cambodia and Laos (we’ll be visiting Chiang Mai for the official Thai New Year).
We’re flying from KL to Siem Reap, then looking for an efficient way to get from Siem Reap to Vientiane (then to Vien Viang) before leaving to Chiang Mai.
Is there a decent bus or train from Siem Reap to Vientiane? Should we go up Laos or through Thailand? And can we bus from Vientiane or Vien Viang to Chiang Mai or only fly?
From Siem Reap to Viangchan or Vientiane, better take the airplane – it’s much more convenient.
But from Vientiane to Chiang Mai you can actually take the bus and pass through the Isan region of Thailand – which is renowned for its indigenous culture.
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