Thai cuisine is distinctive, thanks to liberal use of spicy ingredients, and combines the best of Chinese and Indian culinary traditions -noodles, curries, sweet and sour dishes, lengthily cooked and fast-cooked ingredients, exotic spices and condiments - while retaining its own very special character.
Chinese food in Thailand, normally quite bland is second to none. Major European, Levantine, Asian and Oriental cuisine are represented in gourmet restaurants. American, English and Continental breakfasts are served in most hotels and numerous, ubiquitous coffeeshops specia1ise in European dishes. Western-style fast food shops, snack bars and ice-cream parlours gain increasing popularity with Thais.
Restaurants and Food Shops
Food parks, or centres, usually in large shopping malls and hotels, are unusual Thai ventures. Numerous restaurants offer every imaginable type of Asian cuisine and huge colour pictures of dishes assist diners in their choices. Open-air garden restaurants, and riverine restaurants, are more peaceful and are favoured in the evenings by most Bangkokians. Menus are extensive. Service is prompt. Prices are reasonable. All kinds of regional Thai food can be sampled. Special dinners can be enjoyed on boats cruising the Chao Phraya River. Soft breezes, candlelight dining and distant music create romantic moods. Seafood restaurants are also popular. They offer a wide choice of fresh ingredients, charcoal grilled or broiled to individual requests, and a fine selection of local and imported wines. Some tourist-oriented restaurants present selected Thai classical and folk dances. Guests sit around low tables, often in traditional surroundings, with teak panelling and floors, classic paintings and precious porcelain. A combination of Thai cuisine, music, silk, orchids and graceful dances creates memorable evenings.