Thai food has become increasingly popular throughout the country, with Thai restaurants appearing in many cities. With their growing presence, however, comes some growing misconceptions about exactly what Thai food is and what the expectations are. Before you check out that trendy new restaurant in town for your first-ever Thai meal, you should know the truth behind some of these common misconceptions.
Myth: Thai food is vegetarian.
Although most Thai food has a lot of vegetables, that doesn't make the cuisine vegetarian. In fact, most Thai cuisine includes meat and animal products in various forms. The difference is that Thai food includes meat as an ingredient, not as the main focus of the dish. Pork is the most common animal ingredient found in Thai dishes, though you'll also find that fish sauce and meat stocks are popular, too.
Myth: Thai food is intensely spicy.
Although Thai foods often contain chili pepper in various forms, that doesn't mean that every Thai dish is fire-alarm spicy. And, when you order a dish that's traditionally very spicy, most chefs will ask you how spicy you like it. If you don't ask for it to be extra-spicy, it's not going to be overwhelming. Instead, the spice will be a subtle hint that just adds depth to the dish.
Myth: Thai food is elaborate and fancy.
In many Western restaurants, Thai food is served with a focus on plating and delicate presentations. Native Thai food services, vendors and restaurants actually focus on simple, affordable and flavorful food. True Thai cuisine focuses on the food over the decor and presentation. In these cases, the belief is that the food should speak for itself.
Myth: Thai food is served with chopsticks.
The only Thai dishes served with chopsticks are those with noodles. Otherwise, you'll find that your dishes are served with a spoon and fork. It's important to understand, though, how each of those utensils are to be used.
The spoon is the utensil that you eat off of, so it should be held in your dominant hand. The fork should be placed in the non-dominant hand. You'll want to use the fork to push food on to your spoon. Don't ever pierce anything with the fork or put the fork in your mouth—both are poor etiquette.
As you can see, many myths surround Thai cuisine, which can make for some confusing choices when you're trying to decide if you want to give it a shot. With the information here, you can check out that new place (such as Noodle Cart Victoria BC) with the confidence that you know what to expect.