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Some westerners think it's a jumble of flavours, but to a Thai that's important, it's the complexity they delight in". Janer (2008) observes that this sharing of the same plato nacional by different countries calls into question the idea that every country has a unique national dish that is special to that country; she states that cuisine does not respect national and geopolitical borders. One type, which is indigenous to Thailand, is the highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice (khao hom mali). It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. They were introduced to Thailand by the Hokkien people starting in the 15th century, and by the Teochew people who started settling in larger numbers from the late 18th century CE onward, mainly in the towns and cities, and now form the majority of the Thai Chinese.[10][11][12] Such dishes include chok Thai: โจ๊ก (rice porridge), salapao (steamed buns), kuaitiao rat na (fried rice-noodles) and khao kha mu (stewed pork with rice).

Western influences, starting in 1511 CE when the first diplomatic mission from the Portuguese arrived at the court of Ayutthaya, have created dishes such as foi thong, the Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos, and sangkhaya, where coconut milk replaces unavailable cow's milk in making a custard.[17] These dishes were said to have been brought to Thailand in the 17th century by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, a woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali ancestry who was born in Ayutthaya, and became the wife of Constantine Phaulkon, the Greek adviser of King Narai. Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Traditionally, the majority of ethnic Thai people ate with their hands like the people of India. This made Thai as the cooking tradition with most dish that successfully made it to the list. The fork and spoon were introduced by King Chulalongkorn after his return from a tour of Europe in 1897 CE. Simplicity isn't the dictum here, at all.

The food is pushed by the fork, held in the left hand, into the spoon held in the right hand, which is then brought to the mouth.[22] A traditional ceramic spoon is sometimes used for soup, and knives are not generally used at the table.[1] It is common practice for the both the Thais and the hill tribe peoples who live in north and northeast Thailand, to use sticky rice as an edible implement by shaping it into small, and sometimes flattened, balls by hand (and only the right hand by custom) which are then dipped into side dishes and eaten. In the case of Thailand, these words come to mind: intricacy; attention to detail; texture; color; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavor. In Latin America, dishes may be claimed or designated as a "plato nacional" although in many cases recipes transcend national borders with only minor variations. Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand[19][20] while seated on mats or carpets on the floor, customs still found in the more traditional households. The dishes are all served at the same time, including the soups, and it is also customary to provide more dishes than there are guests at a table. The traditional recipe for a rice dish could include as many as 30 varieties of rice.[30] That number has been drastically reduced due to genetic modifications. Other varieties of rice eaten in Thailand include: sticky rice (khao niao), a unique variety of rice which contains an unusual balance of the starches present in all rice, causing it to cook up to a sticky texture.

Traditionally, a meal would have at least five elements: a dip or relish for raw or cooked vegetables (khrueang chim) is the most crucial component of any Thai meal.[23][24] Khrueang chim, considered a building block of Thai food by Chef McDang, may come in the form of a spicy chili sauce or relish called nam phrik (made of raw or cooked chilies and other ingredients, which are then mashed together), or a type of dip enriched with coconut milk called lon. It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. These venues have a large display showing the different dishes from which one can choose. Chopsticks are mainly used in Thailand for eating Chinese-style noodle soups, or at Chinese, Japanese or Korean restaurants. They often feature as a garnish, especially with one-dish meals. Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand[19][20] while seated on mats or carpets on the floor, customs still found in the more traditional households. A Thai family meal would normally consist of rice with several dishes which should form a harmonious contrast of flavors and textures as well as preparation methods. When placing their order at these places, Thais will state if they want their food served as separate dishes, or together on one plate with rice (rat khao).