Whether travelers decide to visit Japan or Thailand, one thing is certain: they will enjoy the food! These nations offer a variety of dishes to satisfy any hungry foodie, featuring delicate, spicy, sweet, salty, sour and umami dishes. With the use of seafood, quality protein, seasonal produce and fresh ingredients, both cuisines will be a dining experience for tourists. Before your next visit to Asia, discover the unique differences between traditional Thai and Japanese cuisine!
9 The national dish of Japan is curry, while the national dish of Thailand is pad Thai.
Japan’s national dish, curry rice, is popular among Japanese citizens and has gained recognition around the world. This savory dish was introduced to the country by the British over 150 years ago. At the end of the 18th century, the word kāre was introduced into the Japanese language to define the term curry, and since then has been incorporated into the daily diet of many Japanese households.
On the other hand, Thailand’s national dish, pad thai, has taken Western restaurants by storm. This savory noodle dish was invented in 1938 by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, then Prime Minister of Thailand. He encouraged citizens to eat more rice noodles after Thailand suffered rice shortages due to WWII and floods (some also argue that he pushed citizens to eat more noodles in order to ‘unite the country). Regardless of how they were created, the iconic pad thai stir-fried noodles have been a symbol of the country’s savory cuisine.
8 Thai cuisine is prepared using 4 specific cooking methods
Thai cuisine can be prepared using 4 specific cooking methods, which are:
- Tom (boiling)
- Yam (preparation of a spicy salad made from vegetables, proteins and hot sauces)
- Kaeng (curry dishes made from local herbs, water or coconut milk)
- Tam (create dishes by beating ingredients together with a mortar).
With these cooking methods, it is possible to create iconic Thai cuisine that is sweet and sour, salty, bitter and spicy. On the other hand, Japanese cuisine is often prepared using methods such as grilling, frying, marinating, stewing, steaming, frying, and preparing raw. The cuisine is meant to resemble bitter, sour, sweet, salty, warm, and delicate flavors, while being organized into 5 distinct color groups including black (or purple), red, yellow, white, and green. .
7 Thai cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines, as well as some European and Western influences.
Thai cuisine has been largely inspired by its neighboring countries India, Malaysia and Indonesia. For example, curry was introduced into Thai cuisine by Indian influences. Additionally, items such as sweet meat and desserts were influenced by European (and Western) cuisines. During the time of the Colombian change, Thai cuisine was influenced by the introduction of western products including tomatoes, papaya, corn, pineapples and peanuts. You can find these vibrant ingredients in a variety of traditional dishes, from pad thai to phat thai kung.
6 A variation of Thai cuisine, known as royal cuisine, was inspired by royalty
In addition to the 5 regional cuisines of Thailand, from Bangkok to southern Thailand, Royal Thai cuisine was a product of the food served in the kingdom of Ayutthaya between 1351 and 1767. During this period, Marie Guimar introduced egg yolks in the royal menu, specifically in desserts. By mixing golden yolks with sugar, coconut and rice flour, royal desserts in the form of string yip (cup of sweet egg yolk), foy thong (yolk thread golden) and string yot (golden egg yolk drops) were created.
5 In many Thai restaurants, they offer a mix of condiments
In many restaurants, guests enjoying traditional Thai cuisine can also enjoy a variety of condiments to complement these dishes, ranging from tangy dips to savory sauces. Here are some examples of popular condiments:
- Pad Thai sauce (to accompany Pad Thai noodles)
- Cucumber relish (a refreshing condiment that pairs well with satays or gay kaeng kari or yellow curry chicken)
- Nam pla prik (a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, chili peppers and garlic)
- Prig Nam Som (chili garlic sauce that’s sour and spicy!)
4 Japanese meals are traditionally based on a “one soup, three sides” arrangement.
Also known as ichijū-sansai – or a soup, three sides – this concept is still integrated into Japanese cuisine today. A staple of white rice, accompanied by side or main dishes, such as miso soup or pickles, defines a traditional Japanese meal. Traditional Japanese cuisine can be called “Washoku,” which involves the preparation of rice with simple side dishes that use seasonal ingredients.
3 Japanese cuisine incorporates elements like miso, soy sauce, and umeboshi
Traditional Japanese cuisine uses ingredients such as miso (fermented soybeans), soy sauce, umbeboshi (pickled Japanese plum), rice, seaweed, dashi, sake, mirin, natto beans and tofu. Red meat, animal fats, sugar and dairy products are used sparingly. With the incorporation of seafood and seasonal produce, Japanese products are considered heart healthy and loaded with antioxidants, along with other benefits including promoting a healthy weight and helping to the digestion.
2 Traditional Japanese cuisine is largely influenced by religion
Traditional Japanese cuisine has been largely influenced by the two main religions of Japan: Buddhism and Shintoism. For example, sushi was created around AD 700 due to the ban on meat consumption during this period. More modern Japanese dishes have been influenced by various cultures, including China and Western countries. Products such as corn and potatoes were introduced to the country’s menu while cooking methods such as dough frying were adopted (thanks to Portuguese influence).
1 There are curry dishes in Japanese and Thai cuisine, but they are both unique.
If you’ve ever had Japanese and Thai curry, you might agree – they are very delicious and totally unique to each other! Japanese curry is generally a stew-like sauce that consists of carrots, onions, potatoes, and other seasonings such as curry powder, which is accompanied by a nice fried meat chop or d ‘an egg. This curry can also be used to garnish soft bread, which can be breaded and fried to create a karē pan, a delicious curry flavored bread! Meanwhile, the vibrant color and rich flavor of Thai curry is usually due to the use of coconut milk, water, shrimp paste, chili peppers, and fresh herbs such as lemongrass, leaves of kaffir, galangal and cilantro.
In these curries, a mixture of spices, from cumin to pepper, can be added to the pasta for various flavors. A wide assortment of meats, seafood (especially shellfish) and vegetables such as bamboo shoots, can be mixed with this pasta and can be served with rice or noodles. Thai curry has beautiful, vibrant colors, which can be red, green, yellow, or orange!
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