Color – it’s what’s for dinner.
Something I truly love about Thai food (even in the US) is that it showcases food in its purest form. Thais value plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, etc.). They honor them by highlighting flavors in the simplest manners possible. Every meal is colorful, fresh, and aromatic. No benzoates, nitrates, or modified cornstarch needed.
My host has expressed four main focuses in Thai cooking: sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. As I understand it, every dish has to have a solid balance in order to be “aroi” (delicious) from a Thai perspective. I find this balance intriguing, and love experiencing it in every dish I get the opportunity to taste.
Both of my host “parents” have also shared with me some of their extensive knowledge of myths, beliefs, and uses (medical and cosmetic) for many of the plants that they consume on a daily basis – another way that they honor the nature that surrounds them. For example, the Butterfly Pea flower can help with healthy blood circulation or be used to keep a Thai woman’s hair from turning gray!