Thailand is rich in culinary diversity and Pattaya is no exception, with over one thousand restaurants to cater to every possible taste. Here are some of the varieties, which can be found in Thailand cities and especially, in Pattaya City and the surrounding area.
Please see the restaurant listings in the A2Z Pattaya menu to find the restaurant of your choice. You will see the menu sub-divided under the different type of cuisine such as Austrian, Belgian and Vietnamese etc.
Austrian cuisine in general: It is the culinary reflection of an ethnically mixed people who, during the many centuries of the Austrian Habsburg empire's expansion and contraction, have exchanged culinary know-how with Turkish, Swiss, Alsacian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German, Bohemian-Moravian, Hungarian, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Serbian, and Jewish cuisine. Typical Austrian dishes vary today according to the Bundeslander culinary history and to each Bundesland's agriculture with its export/import tradition.
For example, Burgenland cuisine is influenced by its flat topography and proximity to Hungary. Its specialities are prepared with abundant locally grown fruits and free roaming chicken and geese, and include dishes like the Buergenlandisches Erdbeerkoch (a type of baked strawberry mush dessert) and Buergenlandische Gaenseleber (goose liver simmered with onions). East southern Kaernten/Carinthia and Steiermark/Styria's cuisines, with Hungarian, Yugoslavian, and Italian culinary influences, feature Mediterranean style foods, including ham, a favourite ingredient in all three surrounding countries, and mild climate herbs and vegetables. Dishes from these areas include Steirisches Verhackert's (diced Speck (Austrian cured ham) mixed with minced garlic and heavy flavoured pumpkin seed oil) or Steirisches Poulard (roasted herb stuffed capon or chicken). Niederoesterreich/Lower Austria's way of cooking reflects historic ties with eastern, Middle Eastern, and oriental cooking, and includes Serviettenknoedel mit Semmelkren (baked bread loaf with saffron gravy) and Gezogener Apfelstrudel (an almost transparent roll of pastry dough filled with apples which has common culinary roots with oriental baklava).
Vienna's cuisine is unique and international. Viennese specialities were created by, and for, people who were influenced by a monarchic system that until the early part of this century was among the most influential European political powers and which had cultural ties to Europe as well as the American New World. As Vienna's Habsburg royal family was involved in power politics as far away as Spain, its cuisine absorbed many international ingredients. Viennese cuisine includes 'Wiener Schnitzel' (breaded veal cutlet which has its twin version in Milan, Italy, called 'Cotoletta alla Milanese'), 'Parmesanschoeberlsuppe' (clear broth with diamond shaped Parmesan cheese flavoured souffle dumplings created after Vienna's political power became dominant in Northern Italy), and Fiaker Goulash (Viennese paprika beef stew very similar to chili and to Hungarian goulash), and, of course, the renowned Sacher Torte (chocolate glazed cake filled with either apricot, currant or raspberry jam).
The natives, who by the Middle Ages developed a cuisine of their own, acquired cooking techniques and ingredients of the invaders. Today Belgians proudly say their food is cooked with French finesse and served with German generosity.
The country is famous for its mussels and frites (French-fried potatoes), waffles, and endive. Fine chocolates are a passion and exquisite chocolatiers dot the marketplace of every city. More beer is consumed than wine by the populace. Many beers are crafted by small artisanal brewers whose family recipes and techniques go back generations. Beer laces the national dish, carbonnades flamandes, a Flemish beef stew.
Belgians love potatoes and are fond of game and meat. Charcuterie, a basket of bread, and beer often make a meal. Fish and seafood are important. Hearty soups play a big role, and the so called waterzooies are the most typical.
British cookery has been much maligned and has improved dramatically in the restaurants and country inns in the past decade.
Traditional British cuisine is substantial, yet simple and wholesome. The Brits have long believed in four meals a day. Their fare has been influenced by the traditions and tastes from different parts of the British Empire: teas from Ceylon and chutney, kedgeree, and mulligatawny soup from India. The British nanny has also played a role with her nursery favourites, such as Bread and Butter Pudding, Spotted Dick, and Treacle Tart. Roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Plum Pudding are important contributions to international cuisine. Other popular dishes include Cornish Pasties and Beefsteak and Kidney Pie. The English developed a line of spicy sauces including ketchup, mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce and deviled sauce.
Today there is an emphasis on fine, fresh ingredients in the better restaurants and their markets offer countless worldly items. Salmon, Dover sole, prawns, game, and lamb are choice items. Wild fowl and game are specialities.
Among English cakes and pastries, many are tied to the various holidays of the year. Hot Cross Buns are eaten on Good Friday, Simnel Cake is for Mothering Sunday, Plum Pudding for Christmas, and Twelfth Night Cake for Epiphany. Local delicacies include Bath Buns, Chelsea Buns, Eccles Cakes, and Banbury Cakes. Cheeses are choice regional specialities, including Stilton, farmhouse cheddars and Cheshire Cheese.
Chinese cuisine is a fascinating mix of diversity and simplicity, combining a few basic cooking styles with a willingness to experiment with whatever ingredients are available, whether these are native to the area or introduced by a foreign culture. Westerners have long appreciated Cantonese cuisine, with its subtle seasonings, abundance of seafood, vegetable, and rice dishes, and use of exotic ingredients such as shark's fin. However, China has at least four distinct regional cuisines, each one reflecting differences in geography, climate, and historical influences. Szechwan cooks got their first taste of spicy foods from Buddhist missionaries travelling along the Silk Route. Isolated from the rest of China by mountain ranges, they proceeded to independently develop the incendiary cuisine for which Szechwan is now famous. Commonly used ingredients such as Szechwan peppercorns and chilies add spicy heat to dishes. Garlic and scallions (green onions) are frequently used in northern dishes. Instead of rice, northerners favour wheat-based foods such as noodles and dumplings, since wheat is easier to grow in the colder northern climate. In eastern China, Shanghai residents have perfected the art of red cooking, where meat is cooked in dark soy sauce until the meat absorbs all the liquid and takes on a reddish colour.
Denmark cuisine is based upon centuries of its people earning their livelihood by farming and fishing. It has a pleasant simplicity but there are many dishes to choose from, both hot and cold.
Breakfast: Bread and rolls, meat, cheese, jam, pastries and eggs, served with a glass of milk or fruit juice are first eaten, then tea or coffee will follow.
Cold Foods: Smorrebrod. Thick buttered slices of rye or white bread covered with one or more delicacies, beef, liver paste, smoked eel or shrimps. En Platte is a cold dish, which consists of about eight specialities.
Appetizers: Fish is one of the favourites or a selection of canapés. Herring is served pickled, marinated or fried in a curry or vinegar dressing. Shrimps, lobster, crab, salmon, cod and halibut are available but expensive.
Meat: Fransk Bof. A steak with herb butter and french fries is popular, as is Engelsk Bof, steak with fried onions and potatoes. Other common dishes are meatballs made with pork or veal and served with potato salad. Pariserbof, almost raw, minced beef with a raw egg yolk, raw onion, capers, horseradish and seasoning.
Desserts: Oeblekage is one of the favourite desserts throughout the country, made of stewed apples with vanilla, served with layers of cookie crumbs and topped with whipped cream and apple sauce, sugar and rye bread crumbs.
Drinks: Beer is the national drink and Denmark has at least 100 breweries. Akvavit is the other national drink, popularly known as snaps and is served only with food. Danish coffee is delicious.
Eating - and by extension, cooking - is not an art in The Netherlands. Unlike for instance the French, the Dutch adopt a business-like attitude to food: it's there because you need it for survival, and if it tastes good, so much the better. This also means that there are very few restaurants specializing in Dutch cuisine: why spend a lot of money on a dish that your wife makes just as well? If you can't get invited to a Dutch family meal, you could try the restaurant at a larger station. In winter, look for erwtensoep (pea soup).
The standard Dutch bread comes in 800-grammes loaves, either white, brown or whole-wheat. It's usually sold sliced, or the baker will slice it for you. There is also a large variety of other types of bread, and of rolls, but on a per kilogramme basis they are far more expensive.
What to put on your bread
The classic is of course cheese. About half of the cheese sold is of the Gouda type, 25% of the Edam type, and 25% others. Dutch cheese come in several age types: young, lightly aged, aged, and old. The price goes up with the age, as does the flavour.
Meat preserves and sausages are also popular. Try - for a budget sandwich - boterhamworst.
Compared with the French, the Dutch are hearty breakfasters. However, hot stuff is not generally part of it, apart from the occasional boiled egg. (Your waitress may ask you to specify how may minutes your egg should be boiled.) The average Dutchman will breakfast on two slices of bread, with cheese or sausage, or jam, and a cup or two of tea. For a larger breakfast, add coffee and beschuiten: circular slices of twice-baked bread. A full cooked breakfast is only served in hotels.
Most tourist guides mention raw herrings. Actually, they are not as popular as they used to be, having become rather expensive. See under Fish
The most popular haunt for snacks is the snack bar, also known as cafeteria. Chips (french fries) are the staple food, with or without mayonnaise, ketchup or peanut sauce. Try the patatje special, with chopped onions, mayonnaise and ketchup, or the patatje oorlog (literally: war chips) with mayonnaise and peanut sauce. Other deep-fried stuff: kroketten (croquettes) and fricandellen (finely minced meat in a cylindrical shape). Also, most snack bars will serve bread rolls, with cheese or meat. Try the broodje halfom, with boiled liver and pickled meat. For the full range of belegde broodjes, try a broodjeszaak. A very traditional treat are the smoked sausages from the Hema department stores: you pay NLG 2.25 for half a sausage, the fat of which will usually end up all over your coat. Also, the saucijzenbroodje deserves to be mentioned: minced meat rolled in pastry dough, served hot.
In this chapter, the automatiek deserves special mention: the snacks are kept in small lockers: insert the required coins and open the door. This has given birth to the phrase 'eating out of the wall'.
A word of warning: I think this sort of food is OK every now an then, but I wouldn't eat there for a long period of time: I know of one lady who did this for three months and lost most of her hair.
Probably the Dutch equivalent to the British ploughman's lunch: take two slices of bread, cover them with boiled ham, and add two fried eggs on top. (This is the standard uitsmijter, there is also a mammoth version containing four slices of bread, lots of ham and four eggs.)
Literally: ground meat. But there is a lot more to it: the traditional meat dish on Wednesday, when all that was left over from slaughtering a pig would be ground up and eaten, this is threatened by EU legislation. The point is: nobody knows what goes in it (anything not sold separately, apart from penises and testicles, which are exported by the planeful to Asia), but nobody really wants to know.
Other meat dishes
The Dutch eat less meat then most Western people do: a normal dose would be 75 to 100 grammes a person. This means that there are no spectacular meat dishes. The only one is rollade: a piece of meat is spiced and rolled up end tied into a cylinder. (Instead of tying it up it is nowadays it is usually stuffed into a kind of stocking.) It is then baked in butter for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on its size.
This is actually where the Dutch excel. There is a large variety of vegetables, both homegrown and foreign.
I think this would count as a Dutch speciality. Only available in the late spring. Cook them in water with a knob of butter, and serve them with a thin blonde roux with an egg yolk beaten into it, and a glass or two of dry white wine (for instance Riesling).
Incidentally, there is an annual row over the asparagus harvest. Digging them out can only be done by hand as the spears are rather delicate, so there is a sudden demand for temporary labour. In a country with such a high level of unemployment, this should present no difficulty, but the pay is rather low. So asparagus farmers have to contract workers from as far as Poland.
Herbs and spices
Herbs play no significant part in Dutch cooking. Occasionally, you may spot a twig of parsley on cooked carrots, but that is about as much as you may find. Spices aren't used much in domestic cooking either, only in cuisine of an ethnic heritage.
For a country bordering on the sea, not much fish is eaten in the Netherlands. Most fish is deep-frozen cod, caught somewhere between Canada and Greenland, usually processed into fish fingers. As to shell-food: mussels are fairly popular; oysters are definitely a luxury.
Now, we should not forget the classical raw herring. It's not raw, but preserved in its own gastric juices (or some comparable and equally delicate process), but, indeed, not otherwise treated. You take it by the tail, swirl it across chopped onions, tilt your head backwards and bite off mouthfuls.
These are quite popular: there are numerous specialized pancake-restaurants. A Dutch pancake is a meal in itself, not a tiny snack like the French crepe. It can be up to 40 centimetres in diameter, requiring oversized plates. There is no limit to what might be put in them (bacon, sliced apples etcetera) but syrup (stroop) is always served with them. Pancakes are especially popular with children.
Erwtensoep (pea soup)
The classical winter dish, this should be so thick that a spoon will remain standing. It's traditionally accompanied by rye bread and thinly sliced bacon.
The most popular is vla. This is custard, served cold, and comes in different flavours: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and strawberry.
What to drink with Dutch food
Generally, nothing. No wine, as the French probably would do. Perhaps a glass of water. With pancakes, usually milk.
Often referred to as 'Junk Food' but it doesn't always have to be.
Southern Americans weren't the first people in the world to fry their chickens. Almost every country has a version of fried chicken, or fricassee, from Vietnam's Gà Xaò to Italy's pollo fritto. It is thought, the Scottish people who settled the early Southern part of America introduced the method in the United States. They preferred frying their chickens, rather than baking or boiling them as the English did. It wasn't until the early 1900s that recipes for fried chicken began appearing in popular 'northern American' cookbooks. Fannie Farmer's 1896 cookbook only refers to 'Fried Chicken' as a fricassee served with 'Brown Sauce', where oven-baked is referred to as 'Maryland Chicken'.
Mary Randolph, in the third printing of Virginia House-Wife (1828), told how to make fried chicken. Very simply, the chickens are cut up, dredged in flour, sprinkled with a little salt, put in a skillet with hot fat, and fried until golden brown. Through the years there have been hundreds of attempts to improve upon her recipe, and plenty of tricks and special touches, but they are all simply minor variations on the original. Mary Randolph mentions making gravy with the 'leavings', but the cream sauce so often served with fried chicken seems to have originated with the dish 'Maryland fried chicken'. In the cookbook, Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen (Baltimore, 1873), the only fried chicken recipe calls for a sauce made of butter, cream, parsley, salt and pepper.
There are hundreds of recipes for southern fried chicken, and it is the centre of more controversies than perhaps any other food item. From the seasoning and coating to the fat and cooking time, discussion of 'real' southern fried chicken can bring about some lively debates throughout the Southern American states. Some people will tell you to remove the skin before battering, while others swear by double dipping the chicken. Some fry in oil, some in butter, others in lard or bacon grease.
The recipe in The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery recommends browning before covering, then frying slowly and turning frequently. Camille Glenn, in The Heritage of Southern Cooking states that chicken is not dipped in milk, crumbs, or batter, simply flour, while the recipe in Bill Neal's Southern Cooking requires a soaking in buttermilk. James Villas, in American Taste, soaks his chicken pieces overnight in milk and lemon juice, and cooks them in vegetable shortening with the addition of 4 tablespoons of bacon grease. The few things everyone seems to agree on are that the skillet must be a well-seasoned black iron one (preferably deep and with a cover), the chicken must be young and lean, and that fried chicken is to be eaten with the fingers.
Sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food, having been mentioned in Homer's Odyssey as far back as the 9th century B.C.
Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, is traditionally credited with originating the frankfurter. However, this claim is disputed by those who assert that the popular sausage - known as a 'dachshund' or 'little-dog' sausage - was created in the late 1600's by Johann Georghehner, a butcher, living in Coburg, Germany. According to this report, Georghehner later travelled to Frankfurt to promote his new product.
In 1987, the city of Frankfurt celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog in that city. It's said that the frankfurter was developed there in 1487, five years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the new world. The people of Vienna (Wien), Austria, point to the term 'wiener' to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
As it turns out, it is likely that the North American hot dog comes from a widespread common European sausage brought here by butchers of several nationalities. Also in doubt is who first served the dachshund sausage with a roll. One report says a German immigrant sold them, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from a push cart in New York City's Bowery during the 1860's. In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German butcher opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business.
The year, 1893, was an important date in hot dog history. In Chicago that year, the Colombian Exposition brought hordes of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors. People liked this food that was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive. Hot dog historian Bruce Kraig, Ph.D., retired professor emeritus at Roosevelt University, says the Germans always ate the dachshund sausages with bread. Since the sausage culture is German, it is likely that Germans introduced the practice of eating the dachshund sausages, which we today know as the hot dog, nestled in a bun.
Also in 1893, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks. This tradition is believed to have been started by a St. Louis bar owner, Chris Von de Ahe, a German immigrant who also owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.
Many hot dog historians chafe at the suggestion that today's hot dog on a bun was introduced during the St. Louis 'Louisiana Purchase Exposition' in 1904 by Bavarian concessionaire, Anton Feuchtwanger. As the story goes, he loaned white gloves to his patrons to hold his piping hot sausages and as most of the gloves were not returned, the supply began running low. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help. The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat - thus inventing the hot dog bun. Kraig says everyone wants to claim the hot dog bun as their own invention, but the most likely scenario is the practice was handed down by German immigrants and gradually became widespread in American culture.
Another story that riles serious hot dog historians is how term 'hot dog' came about. Some say the word was coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds on a cold April day. Vendors were hawking hot dogs from portable hot water tanks shouting 'They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!' A New York Journal sports cartoonist, Tad Dorgan, observed the scene and hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell 'dachshund' he simply wrote 'hot dog!' The cartoon is said to have been a sensation, thus coining the term 'hot dog.' However, historians have been unable to find this cartoon, despite Dorgan's enormous body of work and his popularity.
Kraig, and other culinary historians, point to college magazines where the word 'hot dog' began appearing in the 1890s. The term was current at Yale in the fall of 1894,when 'dog wagons' sold hot dogs at the dorms. The name was a sarcastic comment on the provenance of the meat. References to dachshund sausages and ultimately hot dogs can be traced to German immigrants in the 1800s. These immigrants brought not only sausages to America, but dachshund dogs. The name most likely began as a joke about the Germans' small, long, thin dogs. In fact, even Germans called the frankfurter a 'little-dog' or 'dachshund' sausage, thus linking the word 'dog' to their popular concoction.
Despite a common pan-gallic chauvinism, French cooking is not a monolith: it ranges from the olives and seafood of Provence to the butter and roasts of Tours, from the simple food of the bistro to the fanciful confections of the Tour d'Argent. However, it all shares seriousness about food. Throughout the country, French cooking involves a large number of techniques, some extremely complicated, that serve as basics. Any cook will tell you that French food will not tolerate shortcuts in regard to these fundamentals. Because mastery of sauces or pastry dough's is the centre of the culinary arts, recipes themselves remain classic and constant. In a way similar to Japanese cuisine, it is expected that even the simplest preparation be undertaken in the most careful manner, which means disregarding the amount of time involved. This is one reason why French cooking has always seemed so daunting on the other side of the Atlantic. Americans love nothing more than combining innovation with timesaving; it is the particular genius of the United States, and it couldn't be more at odds with the French aesthetic.
A French meal might begin with a hot hors d'oeuvre followed by soup, main course, salad, cheese, and finally dessert. The French operate with a strong sense that there is an appropriate beverage for every food and occasion.
The birthplace of William the Conqueror is just a quick boat ride across the English Channel from the island he defeated in the 11th century. Nearly 900 years later, the Allied forces came from the opposite direction to snatch France back from the Germans. The Norman shoreline stretches broad and calm for miles, perfect for fishing. And the peaceful, fertile meadows are home to the dairy cows that produce the butter (the town of Isigny is especially famous for it) and cream that enrich almost every dish. Numerous cheeses are produced in the region, including Camembert, Neufchatel, and Pont-l'Évêque.
There are almost no vineyards here. Instead, there are apple orchards, so the 'wine' of Normandy is Calvados. This twice-distilled apple brandy is used in many local dishes, among them tripe à la mode de Caen. Popular meats include Rouennais duck and boudin noir, and the plentiful seafood served with creamy sauces or in stews.
In the northern regions of France, just across the border from Belgium, Flemish culinary influences may be seen in the popularity of herring and the presence of street vendors hawking frites or waffles. The charcuterie in the area is quite varied and includes such items as andouillettes (pork sausages made with pork chitterlings), sheep's trotters, and ham. The cool autumn climate is just right for producing root vegetables of many kinds -- onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, and leeks. These are used in many of the local dishes, among them hochepot (the northern version of pot-au-feu, a meat and vegetable stew usually flavoured with juniper berries) and carbonnade (a beef stew made with the local beer, mustard, and onions).
The landscape in the area is consistently tranquil. The broad, flat plains are ideal for cultivating such crops as wheat, rye, and potatoes. On the gentle slopes of the hills around Rheims and along the Yonne River are found the grapes for the region's most important contribution to French gastronomy, Champagne. This sparkling white wine was first discovered in the 17th century by a monk named Dom Pérignon, who lived in an abbey near Epernay, now the centre of one of the major Champagne-producing areas.
More than one region has claimed the title, but the fertile valley of the Loire River truly deserves to be called the 'Garden of France.' It is possible to grow fruits and vegetables almost year-round here. Local specialities include Loire river salmon, shad, and the small freshwater fish used to make friture. Cardoons, shallots, tarragon, and fresh grape vinegar are all distinctive flavours of the region. Anjou, the area around the town of Angers, is famed for its orchard fruits -- prune plums, peaches, and especially pears -- although the fruits everywhere in the Loire Valley are magnificent. Just to the east of Anjou, Tours (the town that forms the centerpoint of the 'Touraine'), is known for its charcuterie, especially its rillons and rillettes, made with potted goose or pork.
The famous tarte Tatin (or, as it was originally called, tarte des desmoiselles Tatin) is native to the Loire Valley. The recipe is said to have been made public by two spinster sisters, gentlewomen who found themselves in difficult financial circumstances and were forced to support them by selling their father's special upside-down apple tart.
As the Languedoc region reaches toward the Pyrenees, the influence of the Spanish becomes more visible in the cooking, as, for example, in the omelettes made with green peppers, ham, and onions. Or in the cornmeal-based dish called millas. In the central part of the region, in the town of Roquefort, the cheese of the same name is made. It was apparently invented during Roman times, and its history is illustrious. In 1411, King Charles VI granted the village the exclusive right to cure their local cheeses in the caves nearby, and current legislation prevents any cheese other than true Roquefort from the town from using the name.
The key raw materials that define Provençal cooking are garlic, olive oil (and olives), and tomatoes. Also especially popular are eggplant, zucchini, anchovies, and basil. These distinctive flavours are found in different combinations in almost all the local specialities, which include ratatouille, pistou, and pan bagnat -- and the even more visibly Italian-influenced pastas and pissaladière.
Bordeaux, and especially the capital city that gives the region its name, is considered one of the gastronomic highlights of France. Atlantic seafood forms the basis of many local specialities. Oysters and mussels are plentiful. Eel is prepared in a number of ways -- the full-grown are simmered into a soup called bouilliture, and baby ones (pibales) are served sautéed with garlic.
In Charente, which shares Bordeaux's cuisine, the town of Echiré produces exceptionally rich butter, over 83% fat, as compared to the 78% that is standard in America. Wild mushrooms -- cèpes -- grow in the Charentain forests, which also yield a fair share of truffles.
The central, landlocked regions of France are characterized by a hearty, peasant-based cuisine that complements, and often makes use of, the abundant wines, both white and red, produced in the area. Beef à la bourguignonne and daube of beef both require long simmering of meat and vegetables in red wine; oeufs en meurette is made by poaching eggs in red wine. The famous pale yellow mustard of Dijon is made with white wine and is liberally used as a condiment and for cooking. Escargots in garlic butter is another local speciality -- the snails here are known for being especially plump, perhaps because they are fattened on a generous diet of grape leaves. Clafouti, little custard tarts, makes use of the abundant fresh fruits that thrive here, and the black currants of the region are used to make the liqueur, crème de cassis. The city of Lyon, established at the point where the Rhone and the Saône rivers meet, is famous for its cuisine, whose signature ingredients are organ meats and onions. Tripe, sausages, and sautéed calf's liver are among the specialities.
Visitors to a Lyonnais bistro are sure to encounter. Charolles, a small town to the northwest of Lyon is the centre of a beef-producing region based on the local white cow, the Charolais. These animals produce particularly lean meat of a sort that is entirely different from what Americans, who like their steak marbled with fat, are used to. But it is ideal for making pot-au-feu, and the many other stewed beef dishes that are popular.
Typical German cuisine varies according to each German State's culinary tradition, to its regional agriculture, and to the new tastes of new Germans who have settled in the reunited Germany. Nordrhein Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Baden-Wuertenburg's traditional specialities, for example, include ingredients typified in the agriculture around the Black Forest and the Rhein river, and by a wine tradition influenced by the proximity to Belgium, France and Switzerland.
The Indian cuisine is as diverse as its culture, languages, regions and its climate. Every major region of India brings its own unique dishes and subtle variations to popular dishes. Aromatic spices are the essence of Indian cuisine. Use of particular spices such as Coriander, Cumin, Fenugreek, Asafoetida etc., give Indian foods its distinct flavour. The cooking skill lies in the subtle blending of a variety of spices to enhance the basic flavour of a particular dish.
Milk products like ghee (clarified butter) and dahi (Yoghurt), a variety of dals (Lentils) and regional vegetables are other common ingredients in Indian cooking. Vegetables naturally differ across regions and with seasons. The style of cooking vegetables is dependent upon the main dish with which they are served. For example Sarson ka saag (mustard greens) is a perfect complement for the Makke ki Roti (corn flat bread) eaten in Punjab, while sambhar (lentil soup) goes great with Idlis (steamed rice cakes).
In addition to the pronounced use of spices, common culinary threads unifying local cuisines include the prominence of flatbreads and a far greater use of dairy products than anywhere else in Asia. Breads are made with wheat, rice and ground legumes depending on the part of the country while dairy products include milk, cream, yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream and cheese.
The eating of meat on a daily basis is a relatively recent development in Ireland. Throughout time, meat especially fresh meat was considered a luxury except for the most affluent in society.
Many of us grew up with the perception that no meal was complete without a piece of meat, but very often when meat came to the table in times gone by it came in salted or preserved form thereby making fresh meat a supreme delicacy.
On top of that the consumption of fresh meat and in particular fresh beef was something associated with the more wealthy classes, those who had access to markets, those whose herds were strong enough to sustain the slaughter of a beast.
Even outside these circles if fresh meat came to the table very often it was a piece of farmyard fowl or a sheep - units that were small enough to be consumed within a reasonable time. We must recognize that Pork and Bacon are the meats of the Irish and this programme examines the reason why and the broader traditions of meat eating in Ireland.
Nowadays when we think of poultry and eggs we tend to think rather restrictively in terms of chickens, hens and their eggs but this is only a tiny remnant of what was once a broader tradition and in the past a great diversity of birds were brought to the table sometimes ordinary, sometimes exotic. In addition the methods of cooking them and the diversity of fowl eaten varied with social class and like many aspects of Irish food traditions the diversity of fowl in Ireland was influenced by waves of settlers and newcomers that came to the island.
Poultry are a rather late introduction into Ireland the domesticated chicken for instance is derived from South East Asia and it came into the Roman world and it appears to have come into Ireland in the first few centuries A.D.
The domesticated goose, which is derived from, the Greylag goose also appeared this time but the domesticated Duck appears only slightly later probably at the time of the Anglo Normans.
The early medieval Irish were not greatly interested in the hunting of wild birds but the Anglo Normans had a much wider diet in terms of wild species There was a wider variety of species; pheasant and peacock are present at this time. Little birds, which you normally wouldn't eat such as finches, blackbirds and thrushes, are being eaten as well. They also seem to be keeping pigeons for the first time in dovecotes.
By the 18th century the turkey had become popular appearing in the diets of many sectors of society. It was now a farmyard fowl alongside hens, ducks and geese. The turkey eventually usurped the goose as the festive bird.
By 1900 it was estimated that there were l8,500,000 chickens in the country; 5 times what there had been in 1850. Even on tiny farms there might have been a flock of one hundred chickens. Towards the end of the 19th century when the grocers shop becomes a feature on the Irish landscape the woman could use her eggs and her fowl as items of barter and exchange. This gave her a certain degree of economic independence and she could purchase more expensive items.
Eggs were very important because they were extremely nutritious and very versatile. The important point is that the egg is preservable; when the hen's potential was low you could still have a stock of eggs.
Seabirds were a regular part of an island diet. The most popular ones were gannets and puffins. Other less commonly eaten were guillemots, shearwater and cormorant.
Nowadays the poultry industry is as vibrant as ever, however, it is unrecognizable from the historical picture in that it has become grossly intensive, except in isolated rural pockets fowl has been lifted from the landscape now assigned to a life of confinement and even for those who wish to restore fowl to their yards their attempts are often compounded by European regulations and directives.
Gone is the relationship the woman had with her fowl as is the colour, character and movement such birds brought to the farmyard.
When it comes to fruit and vegetables in Ireland there is a perception that these have always been of a very limited range and in fact we have all grown up with carrots, parsnips, turnips and cabbage and little else. We have also gone through the similar restrictive quartet in terms of fruit in the shape of apples, oranges, pears and bananas.
Vegetables have also been stigmatized in Ireland, because of typical Irish cooking techniques which tended to render them into an inedible pulpy mass rather like institutional food and still when a typical Irish dinner plate comes out with meat and two vegetables, vegetables are still considered to be inferior to that meat part.
Of course this is just part of a wider picture and of all the food categories it is fruit and vegetables that have been most overtly affected by the wave of settlers that come to the country starting in the 12th century with the Anglo Normans.
For this programme we are going to start in early medieval Ireland. In early medieval Ireland vegetable gardens were of importance in supplying a range of plants that were used for culinary purposes but also medicinally in the care of the sick. Culinary herbs were used as a relish to accompany breads and meat or else used as potherbs.
However, with the coming of the Anglo Normans in the mid 12th century the range of vegetables and fruits is greatly extended. The Anglo Normans came with a greater emphasis on foods from the field and garden: new technology, new varieties, more emphasis on the enclosed garden and new types of herbs and vegetables.
The Anglo Normans were to Ireland what the Romans were to Britain, they brought with them many of the vegetables and herbs that the Romans would have originally taken from the Mediterranean area and although some of those plants were brought across from Britain by the monks at an earlier stage, Ireland lagged behind Britain in having these plants as normal constituents of the garden.
The greatest vector of change and influence were the New Monastic Orders that came to Ireland from the early 12th century. The Monastic outlook which honoured God in work and prayer with an emphasis on work in the fields and their highly organized gardens of which there were many.
The range of vegetables must have expanded dramatically with the Elizabethans, they had been travelling the world and realized that there are very many more fruits and vegetables out there.
The Potato was introduced in the 16th century. As the 17th century progresses two things happen at both ends of the social spectrum: The potato of course and its relationship with the poor but the upper class garden there was more variety, more dishes. The 18th century saw the emergence of the classic walled garden. From these gardens there was a bewildering variety of produce, functional to feed the house but also to augment the reputation of the house in providing good and fashionable hospitality. This was particularly demonstrated in the expansive range of fruit. By the end of the 18th century, oranges, pineapples and melons were grown in the glasshouses of the wealthy.
The importance of the kitchen garden or cottage garden really comes to the fore after the famine. It was discovered during the famine that people who were starving were more prone to various diseases such as blindness and that was by vitamin deficiency in particular vitamin A. That is why one of the vegetables recommended to grow was the carrot. By the end of the 19th century, the Department of Agriculture employed instructors to visit various counties to give instruction on the construction of cottage gardens; they hired out demonstration pots and provided cheap seed for the labouring classes.
The real golden age of apple growing you might way was the 18th century when people had different apples for specific purposes. Kilkenny, Waterford and Cork were particularly good for apples and the soil in those areas was so suitable that many local varieties developed there.
The story of Irish Fruit and Vegetables far from being simple is a very complex one. It is also an area that has been directly shaped by settlers and foreign influences. In the past very often access to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables was clearly an indication of social status. From a contemporary perspective it is very encouraging to see a new interest in kitchen gardens and something of a willingness to explore the culinary heritage of the great Irish house.
We should also bear in mind that for a lot of the 18th and 19th centuries one sector of Irish society was confined to just one vegetable: the potato, with dire consequences.
From a contemporary perspective the old reliable like cabbage, potatoes and apples have still managed to retain a foothold in Irish food ways despite more recent food developments. Those food developments have turned up something very positive indeed; that is a great interest in a greater variety of fruit and vegetables. Also an emphasis on organic produce, pure fruits and vegetables: ones that have been selected specifically for their taste and flavour and of course that is what food should be all about!
The history of the potato in Ireland is one of sharp contrasts. Since its probable introduction in the 16th century the potato has been successfully integrated into a variety of culinary traditions: depending on time or place it was viewed as a luxury novelty or stigmatized as a badge of poverty.
It was maligned as a curse upon the rural poor bringing them to the great famine in the mid 19th century. At the same time it was relished in a variety of preparations we like to hold as traditional and on top of that it has given us regional dishes in the form of boxy and stumpy.
To date focus has tended to concentrate on the issue of the great famine and that tends to blur our view of the potato in the kitchen. Nonetheless it would be unwise not to revisit the famine and we will do so in this programme. We will also look at the potato in Ireland and in doing so will map it's culinary journey as it moves from garden to field and will assess the different values assigned to it in this process of wider integration.
The story of the potato in Ireland begins at Myrtle Grove in Youghal, Co. Cork; or does it really?? Legend suggests that Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland in the late 1580's; it came from Virginia and he planted it on his estate lands in Munster. Now however appealing and succinct that legend is it hasn't really gone through critical analysis and a question mark does stand over Walter Raleigh and his connection with the introduction of the potato to Ireland.
Another suggestion is that the tuber could have come to the island after the destruction of the Spanish Armada when possibly the cooks' stores of potatoes were washed onto Cork/Kerry shores. Whatever the means of introduction the potato is certainly in Ireland by the 17th century.
It was soon discovered that the potato didn't need garden cultivation that it could grow in the fields and that the potato adapted well to lazy bed cultivation prevalent in Ireland so that through the 17th century you get this transition of the potato from being a gentry's crop into being a crop of the poor. The potato could thrive well in the wet environment of Ireland and became a subsistence crop, a winter crop.
It makes room for the great dairy products of the Cork area, butter and cheese to be released into the market so that they become commercial products. The emergence of the potato displaces an earlier diet tradition, which was based more on dairy products. It also facilitates the commercialization of Irish agriculture as an export industry in other areas particularly in the production of cereals.
By the 18th century the potato starts to dominate the diet of one sector of Irish society, the small poor farmers and the landless labourers.
Anything between 7 to 15 lbs was consumed per person per day, taken in two or three meals. Boiling over the open fire was the most common method of cooking, as there were no utensils. They were drained through a potato basket placed on possibly the upturned cooking pot and the family sat around and ate communally. They were eaten with their skins on or could be peeled by a special, long thumbnail, which people grew for the purpose. Depending on the resources available the rather bland potato was eaten with various dips; buttermilk, herring, herring water, shellfish and seaweeds.
The potato diet was nutritionally a very good diet; it gave the consumers plenty of calories and high quality protein and vitamin C. It would be mistake to think that the entire population were solely dependent on the potato. The population was around 8 million, 3 million poor. The rest had a varied diet. Food was being exported at this time. However for the poor, particularly the cotter and the landless labourer, the dangers of not only relying on one food but on one variety of potato (lumper) were mounting.
The Potato blight of 1845 made famine inevitable. On the 20th August 1845 the Curator of the Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, David Moore noticed the first signs of the disease on the potatoes growing in the gardens. Moore suggested that the potatoes should be treated with bluestone. Despite Moore's work and experimentation people remained unconvinced.
The Potato crop in Ireland was totally destroyed the following year in 1846 and the winter of 1846-47 saw increased hardship, and starvation was widespread. Moore was first to observe and to warn of the reappearance of the blight in 1846 and '47, his warnings seem not to have been heeded. Yellow Meal was introduced to feed the starving.
As the Famine intensified various charitable groups opened soup kitchens, particularly that of the Society of Friends. The Government established the Soup Kitchen Act in 1847, distributing up to 3 million soup meals a day at its height. The taking of the soup sometimes gave rise to the stigma of souperism.
Souperism was a nickname for what was essentially prosletisation which was carried out by various evangelical protestants (the Society of Friends were the honourable exception) who offered the local Catholic population help in this time of distress sometimes in the form of soup, sometimes housing and sometimes employment. The idea was that by encouraging them to change religion to avail of help they would see the light and remain Protestants afterwards. In some cases this did happen. For those with the wherewithal to determine self-destiny emigration was the choice between life and death.
Despite the catastrophe of the Famine potatoes maintained a stronghold, however, their status was changing. Potatoes became less important in diets and diets became mote varied with more grain, including maize which remained quite popular until the end of the 19th century People ate more oats, more wheat, more white bread and then as incomes rise more tea and sugar and fatty American bacon. More and more food was being bought through shops particularly in the east of Ireland and in the towns.
In the 20th century Ireland gained a reputation for the development of new varieties of Potatoes. Floury potatoes remained popular for a whole range of dishes and the chip was introduced.
Although unassuming to look at the potato brought about catastrophic and irreversible changes to the social fabric of 19th century Ireland. It was also responsible for establishing an Irish Diaspora. As an ingredient it brought about major transformations in Irish food patterns and it also has left us with a problematic legacy in terms of our attitude to food.
But despite these complexities Ireland still maintains its relationship with the potato. In fact it is almost like a tempestuous love affair, we just have to have them and the potato does remain the anchor in many meals, in fact bringing a plate to the table without potatoes would be considered almost insulting.
Irish people have a strange attitude to fish. Why are Irish people a bit confused about fish and fish eating? Why isn't there a national fish dish?
Ireland is an island and therefore in a great position to exploit the fish of the North Atlantic. The country also has a labyrinth of internal waterways. A paradox, however, exists in the shape of Irish people's attitude to fish and fish eating. In coastal areas and on the islands there is a great enduring love for eating fish; inland however, the relationship gets a little bit strained.
Fish and shellfish represent some of Irelands oldest foods. They were to the fore in the Irish diet during the Mesolithic period, between 7,000 and 4,000 B.C., before the introduction of agriculture. People would go down to the rocky shore and pick limpets, periwinkles and whelks off the rocks. Shellfish were supplementary to the diet.
On coasts communities were both fishermen and farmers but after the introduction of agriculture around 4,000 B.C. new food options were introduced and the status of fish altered. Viking arrival in Ireland introduced a greater sophistication to sea fishing techniques, long boats, fishing nets and tackle. The words for Cod and Ling were borrowings from the Old Norse. Native Irish ate a more limited variety of fish particularly Salmon and Eels, which were taken from weirs with nets or spears.
The early medieval Irish were not too interested in fresh water fish. The Anglo Normans were great fish eaters and they imported new species. The earliest recorded import from England was the Pike.
Fish was obligatory during Lent and other meatless days. The less well off and those inland made do with salted fish. The more affluent with access to markets; new cooking styles and ingredients favoured by the Normans brought an opportunity to create elaborate fish dishes.
The fish that had a greater relationship with abstinence from meat is the herring. For a large part of Irelands history the herring was present in great nos. off both the East and West coasts.
Salmon was held on a par with meat, though it's status varied with time. Salmon was largely a seasonal dietary supplement although it could be cured and smoked. As a food resource it was most valuable in the pre-farming Mesolithic period. Salmon was an export item by the 14th century: cured in a brine and ideal for curing by smoking. The best way to eat wild salmon was to eat them fresh ideally cooked over an open fire. Salmon was regarded as the king of all fish.
The distinction between fish and meat dishes began to blur. Oysters and meat were cooked together, i.e. Oyster Pie. Areas of Dublin were famed for Oyster beds. They were pickled and used for sauces. Lobster was not widely eaten and Shellfish not held in high regard.
Fish not eaten by the poor during the famine. The people hit hardest by the potato famine did not have the resources to fish. They didn't have boats and fishing tackle. By the mid 19th century fish was a commodity; it was not caught to eat, it was caught to sell.
There is a great love for fish and shellfish on the coast and island communities of Ireland. With the emergence of a restaurant culture fish eating, elaborate, simple and dynamic fish dishes will become part of Irelands future.
Italy is a country of great diversity nearly in every facet of life and food is one of them. From the north to the south, Italy offers a large variety of crops such as: tomatoes, lemon, garlic and olives in the south, rice and maize in the north. This rich diversity of ingredients, which are locally available, has naturally affected the famous recipes of Italian cuisine as never seen on any other cuisine.
The most famous dish of Italian cuisine, known as pasta, has more than 400 different forms. There are also many different varieties of sauces, which are undisputed counterparts of pasta dishes. Each sauce, cream, tomato, cheese, meat or fish has a matching form of noodle. Pizza is also a very famous dish of Italian cuisine. Most of the great Italian dishes come from peasant heritage and the common characteristic is that they can be prepared very quickly and economically.
Tuscany: Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Livorno, Arezzo, Fiesole
Just as Dante executed a kind of coup...claiming de facto by his masterpiece the Commedia, that the local Florentine dialect was henceforth to be known as THE Italian vernacular...so Florentine cooking, especially that of the early Renaissance, has become the resonant voice of Italian food in European history. Great Florentine cooking blossomed, appropriately, in the same cultural garden as did Giotto, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. In fact, Florentine feasts were major cultural happenings -- various courses were interspersed with performances by actors, dancers, or musicians. The table provided an occasion for visual artists to create elaborately wrought sculptures and dioramas out of butter, sugar, ice, and even napkins (which sometimes were folded so as to release a live bird or other creature when unfolded by the guest). Despite the over-the-top performances of the feast, the Florentine Renaissance, especially as it occurred in the kitchen, became a puritan-esque rejection of excess and rich sauces. Recipes glorified the simple goodness of the ingredients. Sauces were light if present at all. Even in the Medici palaces, herbs and oils displaced butter and cream.
Celebration of pure, simple goodness is an easy task for Florentines, who live in the Eden-like bounty of Tuscany. Game is abundant, and seafood always near. Tuscany's famous white Chianina cattle are butchered into steaks, which are grilled and served rare and unadorned save perhaps for a squeeze of lemon (Bistecca or Costata alla Fiorentina). These cows produce little milk, and Tuscany therefore uses more olive oil than butter, and has no distinctive cheese-making tradition. Olive oil from this region is among Italy's best. Italian olive-o-philes are as fanatical and exacting as French oenophiles. Chianti is a regional wine and is the perfect mate for nearly all her foods. Tomatoes, potatoes, and white beans, all originally imported from the Americas have become seamlessly integrated into the cuisine. Rosemary, sage, basil, and parsley are the main cooking herbs; nutmeg and black pepper the most common spices. Other raw ingredients, which mark the local fare, are artichokes, melon, pumpkins, chestnuts (an ancient ingredient used to make flour for cakes, sauces, etc.), mushrooms, spinach (which is, of course, the trademark ingredient in anything cooked 'Florentine'). The Tuscan cook loves to roast meats over an open fire, to cook a great pot of soup, and to coax the best out of her raw ingredients.
While there is not a Roman haute cuisine, Rome has a long history of sumptuous feasting. In ancient Rome, banquets presented such elaborate displays of wealth that periodically; 'sumptuary laws' were passed to control the waste. Hosts spent fortunes on their guests -- serving fish (sometimes guests were given the pleasure of watching the fish die slowly in a glass jar set before them), roe deer, suckling pig, partridges, flamingoes, and parrots. Garum, ancient Roman seasoning mixtures, combined a huge variety of flavours including dill, anise, hyssop, thyme, rue, cumin, poppy seeds, garlic, fermented fish sauce ... the list goes on and on.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Tuscan Pope Leo X, né Giovanni de' Médici, brought to Rome the theatrical Florentine feasts that served more restrained food. Today, Roman cooking is resolutely simple. Classic southern Italian flavours such as garlic, black pepper, rosemary, and parsley are all present with an added penchant for mint. Beans, as in all parts of the country, are important. The Romans have a particular fondness for organ meats. You name it, they love it. In keeping with this, Romans are particularly good at fritto misto -- the classic mound of mixed fried meats. Their famous meat dishes include roast suckling pig and abbacchio, the youngest suckling lambs, which have never eaten grass. These suckling lambs are usually between 30 and 60 days old and have lost most of their baby fat but their meat is not yet tough. Abbacchio is traditionally roasted (arrosto); but is also often prepared alla cacciatora (simmered in olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, and garlic), or stewed with a sauce of lemon and egg (abbacchio brodettato). Fish and snails are popular and easy to find in the markets, despite the fact that Rome is not a port city.
The Jewish ghetto in Rome, which was founded in 1554 under Papal orders (the Roman Jewish community dates back at least to the first century of the Common (Christian) Era when the Romans conquered Jerusalem), has developed its own variation on Roman cooking and today produces the best deep-fried baby artichokes around (carciofi alla giudea). It was the cooking in the Jewish ghetto, which demonstrated to Italy and the world that the eggplant, a member of the nightshade family, was not poisonous.
The cuisine of Japan is shaped by its four distinct seasons and by regions. It is a cuisine that first and foremost delights the senses -- in Japan, the eyes, nose, and palate feast along with the stomach. The essence of Japanese cuisine is based on various elements of taste, cooking techniques, and the use of the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Korea has its own cuisine, quite different from Chinese or Japanese. Rice is the staple food and a typical Korean meal consists of rice, soup, rice water and 8-20 side dishes of vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, bean curd and sea plants. Most Korean soups and side dishes are heavily laced with red pepper. Dishes include kimchi (Korean national dish, highly spiced pickle of Chinese cabbage or white radish with turnips, onions, salt, fish, chestnuts and red pepper), soups (based on beef, pork, oxtail, other meat, fish, chicken and cabbage, almost all spiced), pulgogi (marinated, charcoal-broiled beef barbecue), Genghis Khan (thin slices of beef and vegetables boiled at the table) or sinsollo (meat, fish, eggs and vegetables such as chestnuts and pine nuts cooked in a brazier chafing dish at the table). Other examples of local cuisine are sanjok (strips of steak with onions and mushrooms), kalbichim (steamed beef ribs), fresh abalone and shrimps (from Cheju do Island, served with mustard, soy or chili sauces) and Korean seaweed (prized throughout the Far East). There is waiter as well as counter service. Most major hotels will offer a selection of restaurants, serving Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine or more Western-style food.
Local drinks are mostly made from fermented rice or wheat and include jungjong (expensive variant of rice wine), soju (like vodka and made from potatoes or grain) or yakju/takju (cloudy and light tan-coloured) known together as makkoli. Korean beers are Crown, OB and Jinro. Ginseng wine is strong and sweet, similar to brandy, but varies in taste according to the basic ingredient used. The most common type of drinking establishment is the Suljip (wine bar), but there are also beer houses serving well-known European brands.
Lao food is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, with the fingers. In the countryside, people will all eat family style, sitting on the floor, sharing a few dishes. Traditional Lao food is dry, spicy and very delicious. Its neighbours and the colonial French influence the food eaten in Laos. Here are some favourites:
Laap, a traditional Lao food is made from chopped meat, chicken or duck is a favourite. The finely chopped meat, spices and broth is mixed with uncooked rice grains that have been dry fried, and crushed. Laap is eaten with a plate of raw vegetables and sticky rice.
Tam Mak Houng is a salad made from sliced raw papaya, garlic, chile, peanuts, sugar, fermented fish sauce and lime juice - it can be extremely spicy, so be careful!
Som moo is fermented pork sausage, found in many forms. The sausage is made from raw pork - sometimes lean, sometimes pork skin. Som moo may be eaten raw or cooked. A mixture of som moo, tam mak koung and laap make a popular Lao lunchtime meal.
Barbequed som moo, served Vietnamese style is popular in Laos. Known as Naem Nuang, it is served with transparent rice paper, thin noodles and lots of herbs, vegetables, lettuce and a sauce. You take all the ingredients, and build your own spring roll - watch the locals to see how it is done.
Foe (pronounced like the British English 'fur') is the name for noodle soup, which can be found everywhere in Laos. It is similar in style to the Chinese noodle soup found all over Asia.
French Baguettes are found in the larger towns, served for breakfast, filled as a sandwich with pate, moo your (a pork lunchmeat), vegetables, and chile sauce. Baguettes are also dunked into coffee for breakfast.
As well as French bread, you will find a lot of salad in Laos. The traditional lao diet includes a lot of raw vegetables - but the French left the tossed salad behind. In Luang Prabang, they make a delicious salad made from watercress.
The melding of cultures contributed significantly to the melding of foods and food preparation in Mexico, often referred to as mestizaje, or mixing. Corn, a staple for over 4,000 years, is the backbone of the diet. The kernels are softened in water and lime and then ground and fashioned (most commonly) into tortillas. Protein-rich beans and an infinite variety of chilies round out this holy trinity of Mexican cookery. The Spanish liked what they saw in Mexico and added a few things of their own, among them domestic animals, sugar and cheese. Mexican cuisine is further enhanced by an incredible array of fruits.
Rice is the staple food and the Iranians cook it superbly. Dishes include chelo khoresh (rice topped with vegetables and meat in a nut sauce), polo chele (pilau rice), polo sabzi (pilau rice cooked with fresh herbs), polo chirin (sweet-sour saffron-coloured rice with raisins, almonds and orange), adas polo (rice, lentils and meat), morgh polo (chicken and pilau rice), chelo kababs (rice with skewered meats cooked over charcoal), kofte (minced meat formed into meatballs), kofte gusht (meatloaf), abgusht (thick stew), khoreshe badinjan (mutton and aubergine stew), mast-o-khier (cold yogurt-based soup flavoured with mint, chopped cucumber and raisins) and dolmeh (stuffed aubergine, courgettes or peppers). Most Iranian meals are eaten with a spoon and fork, but visitors may choose a Western dish and eat with a knife and fork.
Fruit and vegetable juices are popular, as are sparkling mineral waters. Tea is also popular and drunk in the many tea houses (ghahve khane). The consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden.
The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of starches, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten it is usually lamb. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil. Nary a meal goes by in Lebanon that does not include these two ingredients. Most often foods are either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts.
Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked. While the cuisine of Lebanon doesn't boast an entire repertoire of sauces, it focuses on herbs, spices and the freshness of ingredients; the assortment of dishes and combinations are almost limitless. The meals are full of robust, earthy flavours and, like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons.
The Jewish people began to come home to Israel from the four corners of the world more than a century ago, and they brought their recipes with them. Because of this phenomenon, Israel boasts restaurants with every imaginable kind of cuisine.
Everything from Thai to Romanian; Greek to Italian; fast food American like McDonalds, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken to elegant French establishments. You will find restaurants, which specialize in Chinese, pancakes, Mexican, or South African steaks.
However, when people come to visit us in Israel, they often want to sample the local Israeli food. Many dishes are considered traditionally Jewish, such as blintzes, gefelte fish, and potato pancakes, to name a few. But, what is Israeli food?
Although the Jewish people have brought a wonderful potpourri of food to Israel, the only food that could be considered Israeli is called 'Mizrachi', which in Hebrew means 'from the east.' However, no one has the chutzpa (nerve) to claim Mizrachi dishes are Israeli, since they are found in many countries in the Mediterranean basin and Arab countries of the Middle East, but all Israelis love to eat mizrachi food.
If you have visited Israel, no doubt you have enjoyed some of these wonderful, often spicy dishes. They include salads like humus, tahina, eggplant, and Turkish salad (a middle eastern version of salsa). For the main dish you might have sampled Shishlik (chunks of meat cooked on a skewer over a flame), mixed grill (you don't want to know what is in here), or kabab (a spicy minced meat mixture formed in fat cigar-shaped patties). A popular fast-food mizrachi treat is falafel. The typical falafel consists of fried chickpea balls, humus, salads and french fries (Israelis call them 'chips') which are all stuffed into a pita bread and frequently overflows. Don't eat a falalel in your good clothes, or a trip to the cleaners will be in order.
Probably the most common dish is humus. No mizrachi meal is complete without it. This thick spread-like dip is a great appetizer or good with any kind of grilled meat. Although it is traditionally eaten with pita (pocket) bread, it is also very good with crackers.
Chickpea And Sesame Spread
1 15 - 16 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained.
¼ cup of good-quality olive oil
¼ cup Tahina (pure sesame paste - stir well before using)
2 - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably fresh
2 - 3 tablespoons cold water (or more, if needed when using a blender)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh parsley leaves
Sliced pitted olives (black or green) - optional
1 Tablespoon pine nuts (pignoli), lightly toasted - optional
Top with additional olive oil - optional
Scatter chickpeas on top - optional
Put the chickpeas, oil, tahina, garlic, lemon juice and water into a food processor (fitted with the steel blade) or a blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container a few times. (With a blender, it may be necessary to add 1 - 2 tablespoons more water to avoid clogging the blades.) Add the seasonings to taste.
Spoon the humus into a small serving dish and attractively garnish it with the parsley and the olives, pine nuts, or chickpeas (if used). Refrigerate for several hours to give the flavours a chance to blend. Serve it cold or for the best taste, let it come to room temperature. If desired, sprinkle the top of the humus with a few teaspoons of olive oil just before serving, as is the Middle East custom. Serve with pita bread triangles. Makes about 2 cups.
Note: Tahina can be found at Middle East speciality stores or health food stores.
Egyptian cuisine has been influenced by Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian traditions; a typical Egyptian meal might include meat, chicken, or fish, a vegetable stew, rice or pasta, salad and bread.
Philippine cooking is the familiar blended with the exotic. Just as the Filipinos are part Malay, Chinese and Spanish, so is the cuisine of the seven-thousand-island Philippine nation. One can also taste the subtle hints of Indian, Mexican, Arab and American influences. American contribution to Filipino kitchen particularly became heavy following WW II when surplus canned foods became widely available because of the shortages of fresh produce. The Filipinos embraced these 'new foods' and turned them into dishes that taste nothing like canned food. For example, by sautéing canned corned beef with onions and garlic, they created a dish uniquely there own.
America's Favourite Food!
By far, the pizza has become both a fast food icon of the time and the most popular cuisine in America within 50 years.
Today people are acres eating of pizza daily while pizza parlors make millions of dollars providing this delicious food. AboutPizza.com tries to define the food, offer information and ideas about pizza and be a place for pizza fanatics to simply visit.
If you take a look around on an empty stomach, and you love pizza, we guarantee that you will have a craving for it when you're finished.
By far pizza has become America's favourite food over the past 50 years. Million of pizza pies are eaten daily, but how often do the people eating the food stop to consider the history. The true origins of this fine cuisine are as colourful as any good pizza pie heaping with toppings.
The common belief is that Italians invented the pizza, however the origins go back to the ancient times. Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures were eating flat, un-leaven bread that had been cooked in mud ovens. The bread was much like a pita, which is still common in Greece and the Middle East today. Further it is known that ancient Mediterranean people such as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were eating the bread, topped seasoned with olive oil and native spices.
The lower class of the Naples, Italy is believed to have created pizza in a more familiar fashion. In the late 1800s a Italian baker named Raffaele Esposito, was believed to have created a dish for visiting royalty. According to the story, the Italian monarch King Umberto and his consort, Queen Margherita were touring the area. In order to impress them and to show his patriotic fervour Raffaele chose to top flat bread with food that would best represent the colours of Italy: red tomato, white mozzarella cheese and green basil. The king and queen were so impressed that word quickly reached the masses. The end results were that the dish was well received to the extent that others began to copy it.
By the beginning of the 1900's pizza made it's way to the inner cities United States, thanks to Italian immigrants, most notably New York and Chicago, due to those cities having large Italian populations. Small cafes began offering the Italian favourite. American soldiers further prompted the dish to become very popular at the end of World War II, having been exposed to it while serving on the Italian front.
Today pizza has become just as American as baseball and apple pie. Only because of its most recent origins is it considered an Italian dish. Huge U.S. based multi-billion dollar corporations should be thankful for the development along with poor college students who can appreciate the fine dining experience pizza has given them.
A typical Russian dinner might include some type of meat pie, such as Kulebyaka, a hearty soup, such as Borscht, wheat bread, and, perhaps, a kissel for dessert.
Original and varied, Russian cuisine is famous for exotic soups, cabbage schi and solyanka, which is made of assorted meats. Russians are great lovers of pelmeni, small Siberian meat pies boiled in broth.
Finnish cuisine appeals to both the eye and the taste buds, and has something special for every month of the year. In Finland, design textiles and tableware are an important element in the art of good eating.
Norway's long coastline means that fish is an important part of Norwegian cuisine. The most popular dishes are fish soup, lye fish (lutefisk) and smoked salmon. Cured meat is also a frequent part of a traditional Norwegian meal. Sweet brown goats cheese (geitost) and the thin crispy flat bread are also typical Norwegian food. Aquavit, a spirit distilled from potatoes and flavoured with caraway, is a very traditional drink and very often served together with a pint of beer.
Husmanskost is the name of the most regular dishes. At the weekends Swedes make a 'big' dinner when the ingredients are more expensive and it is more elaborate. At feasts there are traditional dishes like dop in the pod and surströmming (fermented baltic herring).
Swedish food traditions
Genuine Swedish food. Is there such a thing? Sweden has a fine old culinary tradition. The Swedish husmanskost, good old everyday food based on classic country cooking, has been influenced by foreign cuisine over the years. Basically it is genuinely Swedish. Today the plain and hearty husmanskost is undergoing a renaissance in Sweden. The best of the old recipes have been revived and often revised so they are less sturdy and easier to prepare. Propaganda for better diets has also helped to improve the Swedish husmanskost, reduce the fat content and add fruits and vegetables.
In Sweden everybody has about the same food habits and customs. Many provinces have a reputation for special food. On the eastcoast the most important food is strumming (Baltic herring). That is a small silvery fish. Salmon, trout and whitefish are other important fishes. Norrland, the nine northern provinces of Sweden has a lot to offer. In Lappland you must try the dark gamy reindeer meet and åkerbär, the rare berry that grows wild along roadsides and ditches. The åkerbär looks like a small raspberry. The hjortron or cloudberry is another fine Norrland fruit. Two Norrland provinces, Västerbotten and Norrbotten are famous for their dumplings, palt. They are made of raw as well as cooked potatoes, flour and salt, and served with butter and lingonberries. Other Norrland specialities are tunnbröd, the thin white crisp bread, and långmjölk (sour milk).
The Swedish smörgåsbord
The Swedish smörgåsbord is world famous. You can have it in IKEA in Milano and London. Today, the traditional large smörgåsbord with its lavish of food can be found only in a few restaurants, usually at Christmas time. Once in a while, mostly in rural areas, the complete old-time smörgåsbord will be prepared. When you meet with a smörgåsbord of this kind, it's important to know the rules for how to approach it, or it may become just a hotchpotch of flowers and impressions. The commonly accepted and best way of enjoying the large smörgåsbord is to eat each kind of food separately it is deemed necessary.
Crayfish and surströmming
Sweden has an extensive coastline and many lakes, so it's not surprising that fish plays a major part in the country's diet. On the west coast the specialities are shellfish, fresh mackerel and cod. The crayfish season starts around August 8, and continues for about six weeks. It is taken quite seriously in Sweden, when the nights are long and the parties, floating on aquavit, run on into the twilight. The small, black, freshwater crustaceans are dropped live into boiling salted water with a huge bunch of dill; during cooking their colour changes to a bright red. A speciality of northern Sweden, surströmming, is for sale from the third Thursday in August. To serve surströmming the proper way: Tie a napkin around the can - Place it on the table - Then carefully open the can - A strong odour will at once reach your nostrils and fill the room.
'Beginners' often need some time to get used to the unique smell of surströmming, some even go so far as to call it a stench. You serve surströmming with potatoes, sour cream, onion and white crisp bread.
Feast food in Sweden
At Christmas Swedes often start with eating a buffet-style. The buffet-style are filled with a lot of heavy dishes both hot and cold. Ham, meat-balls, different salads and a lot of other food. We also eat Dip in the pot when we eat a smörgåsbord, which is slices of rye bread which are immersed in hot bouillon and then enjoyed together with ham, pork, sausage or butter. Often after the buffet-style comes the Santa Claus with gifts. After the Santa Claus it is time for the traditional Christmas supper-lutfisk and creamed rice.
On Easter Eve we Swedes eat a small smörgåsbord and boiled eggs are seldom missing. The smörgåsbord consists of ham, different herring, fresh salmon, eggs and a lot of different things. At midsummer we eat sometimes a small smörgåsbord, but mostly we eat boiled new potatoes, herring and a fresh green salad. And as a dessert we eat strawberries with whipped cream.
Why don't you try a Swedish-recipe!?
Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)
6 to 8 potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 to 2 cans anchovy fillets
2½ to 3 dl (1¼ to 1½ cups) light cream
Peel the potatoes, cut in thin sticks. Slice the onions. Sauté the onion lightly in some of the margarine or butter. Drain the anchovies and cut in pieces. Put the potatoes, onion and anchovies in layers in buttered baking dish. The first and last layer should be potatoes. Dot with margarine or butter on top. Pour in a little of the liquid from the anchovies and half of the cream. Bake in a 200 °C oven for about 20 minutes. Pour in the remaining cream and bake for another 30 minutes or till the potatoes are tender. Serve as a first course or supper dish.
Kalops (Swedish Beef Stew)
1 kg beef with bones or 600 g boneless beef: rib, rump brisket or bottom round.
3 tablespoons margarines or butter
3 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
10 whole allspice
4-5 dl (1¾ to 2 cups) water
Cut the meat in large cubes. Heat the margarine or butter in a heavy saucepan. When the foam subsides, add the meat and brown it well on all sides. Sprinkle with the floor and salt. Stir the meat. Add the onions, bay leaf, allspice and water. Cover and simmer till tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Serve with boiled potatoes, pickled beets and tossed salad.
Barbecue has been around since the discovery of fire; it's so popular in America's Southern states it's considered a cultural icon. The word 'barbecue' (barbeque, Bar-B-Q, B-B-Q) comes from the framework used by Indians in the Caribbean, named 'barbacoa' by early Spanish explorers. Over time the word came to mean the method of preparation, and often even the event where it's served.
Some of the American states most well-known for their barbecue are North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama along with Texas and Missouri, a little farther to the west. Barbecue almost always means pork, with a few exceptions; beef is most often the meat of choice for Texas barbecue and mutton is commonly used in some areas of Kentucky.
Where They're Located on the Cow
The location where the steak comes from has a real effect on its tenderness and flavour.
The hindquarter provides cuts which are tenderer. The Rib, Loin and Sirloin have the most tender of all the steaks. They are generally the more popular cuts and the most expensive. They are usually cooked by grilling, broiling, pan-frying, etc.
Cuts that come from the forequarter are generally less tender than those from the hindquarter. Although they are less expensive, many people consider them to be some of the more flavourful cuts. Other than a few of the steaks, most of the cuts are usually cooked using slow-cooking and moist-cooking methods.
Cuts from the rib portion of the cow are a great combination of both flavour and tenderness. They are a great choice for grilling and broiling, and are very satisfying.
The steaks that come from the rib are:
The other cuts from the rib include:
Baby Back Ribs
The rib steak is cut from the rib section of the cow, and it contains a section of the rib bone. It has a generous amount of fat, and frequently more marbling than a top loin. This accounts for its excellent flavour. The rib steak is a rich, juicy and flavourful steak.
The rib eye is the boneless version of the rib steak. It contains the same generous portion of fat and has a similarly excellent flavour. This steak is also known as a Spencer steak, and, confusingly, a Delmonico. As with the rib steak, it is also only a little less tender than a top loin, and a lot more flavourful because of the rich marbling.
Cuts of beef from the loin are among the most tender, and most expensive cuts from the cow.
The cuts from the loin include:
Top Loin or Strip Steak
The tenderest of all steaks, it is all meat and no bone. It comes from the long muscle that runs along both sides of the backbone. It's underneath the strip loin (strip steak). It can be purchased as a whole or partial tenderloin, but is usually cut into small medallions or fillet steaks.
Since they contain very little fat or marbling, they are usually wrapped in bacon or cooked with some form of fat to add flavour.
Actually a large section cut from the thickest part of the tenderloin. It is meant to serve two people, but in actuality it can really serve three.
The T-bone consists of a steak which contains a T shaped bone with an oval tenderloin on one side, and a longer top loin, or strip, on the other. Some people say it is two steaks in one. It is considered to have the best of both of the cuts in one steak, the tenderness of the tenderloin and the flavour of the strip steak.
The porterhouse is similar to the T-bone, but contains more of the tenderloin and the sirloin strip. The French call the sirloin strip the 'contra fillet'.
Strip or Top Loin
Also known as the New York Strip, Kansas City Strip, strip loin, shell steak, Delmonico, boneless loin, boneless club steak, or confusingly, sirloin strip (although it's not really part of the sirloin). It is a porterhouse minus the tenderloin and the bone. It is the second most popular steak due to its convenient size and shape. A strip steak is a very juicy and tasty steak.
Although really a strip steak, the term club steak refers specifically to the last steak from the rib end of the loin. It has the flavour and texture of a strip steak.
The sirloin steak is a multi-muscled steak cut from the sirloin section of the cow. It contains many different configurations of cut ... with all of them being called 'sirloin steak'. This can be somewhat confusing. These cuts are a little less tender than those from the loin and rib, but they are very flavourful and popular. The other steaks from the sirloin section are less well known, but at least they have different names.
The cuts from the sirloin include:
Boneless Top Sirloin
Top Sirloin Cap Steak
Sirloin Tri Tip
Ball Tip Steak
Sirloin steaks can vary considerably in their cut. The best cuts come from the top portion of the sirloin and are known as top sirloin steak. They are sometimes called top butt steak, hip sirloin, or centre cut sirloin. They can be recognized by the mid-sized pin bone (the long, flat part of the hip bone). Generally, the other sirloin configurations with a flat bone are less tender than the top sirloin, but more tender than the ones with a round bone. Always purchase sirloin steaks with a flat bone if you have a choice.
Boneless Top Sirloin
Boneless top sirloin (also known as butt steak) is more chewy than the other sirloin steaks, but they may be the best flavoured of the loin steaks.
Top Sirloin Cap Steak
The top sirloin cap steak also comes from the top sirloin. It is a smaller steak, and is also known as the culotte steak. It is great for grilling or pan-frying.
Sirloin Tri Tip
Also known as sirloin triangle tip, triangle steak or triangle roast. It comes from the bottom portion of the sirloin section (the bottom sirloin butt or bottom butt). It has less marbling than a top sirloin, but has a good flavour. It can make a great steak if it's at least 3/4 inch thick and you don't overcook it or dry it out.
Ball Tip & Flap Steaks
These are lesser-known steaks and also come from the bottom sirloin.
Cuts of beef from the round or hind leg section are less tender than the loin, sirloin or rib. They can, however, offer the best combination of texture and flavour for many steak lovers.
The cuts from the round include:
Eye of the Round
The top round comes from the inside thigh portion of the round. Because these muscles are used less than the outer ones, they are more tender than other cuts from the round. It is called top round because it is the 'top' of the round when the round is laid on a table for cutting. It has a good combination of tenderness and flavour. Top round steaks are not as tender as those from the loin or sirloin, but they are very flavourful. They take nicely to marinating or dry spice rubs for adding flavour.
These steaks come from the outside thigh portion of the round. As with the top round, it is named bottom round because it is the 'bottom' of the round when the round is laid on a table for cutting. These steaks are chewier than those from the top round, and are somewhat better if marinated.
Also known as knuckle steaks and promoted as sirloin tip, even though it is not part of the sirloin. Don't be fooled by the sirloin part of the name...they have flavour and chewiness similar to bottom round. Sirloin tip is frequently sold sliced for stir-frying.
Rump Steak & Cube Steak
These steaks also come from the chewier portion of the round. Cube steak tends to be so chewy that it is run through a machine that partially dices the steak to cut some of the fibrous materials and make it a little tenderer.
Eye of the Round
Eye of the round makes disappointingly tough steaks...period! Don't buy this cut thinking it's like a rib eye. This cut should be braised (cooked in liquid like a pot roast) until tender.
The flank section is found on the underside of the cow right below the loin and sirloin sections. It contains one of the two steaks that come from the underside of the cow.
The only steak from the flank section is:
Flank steak is also called London broil. It is a lean, flat, boneless cut from the flank section, just below the loin and sirloin. It has a great flavour, but it also has tough meat fibres. It should be cooked quickly...and definitely NOT past medium. In fact, it should be taken off the heat when rare or medium-rare, since it will continue to cook after removal. It should be sliced thin across the grain if you hope to chew it without difficulty. It responds well to marinating and pan-frying/broiling.
London broil is an often misused term. It originally referred to a method for quickly pan-broiling a flank steak. It is now widely used to describe any thin, less tender cut from the flank, round or shoulder that is best broiled quickly and cut thin across the grain.
The plate or short plate section is found on the underside of the cow, right below the rib section. Only two steaks come from the underside of a cow, and it contains one of them.
The only steak from the plate section is:
The skirt steak is a long, narrow, juicy steak shaped like a belt. It is also known as the fajita steak. It is actually the muscle that attaches to the cow's diaphragm and is used for breathing. Consequently, it is a very tender steak with more fat than a flank steak. It can be rolled up and stuffed, or cooked flat. It is best when quickly broiled, and it marinates well.
Chuck or Shoulder Cuts
There are many different steaks that come from the shoulder. In fact, there are more than a half dozen. All of them have excellent flavour, but they are usually tougher than cuts from the loin, sirloin or rib sections. They are multi-muscled steaks and most are best cooked by braising. Chuck is probably best known as ground chuck.
Steaks cut from the chuck or shoulder include:
Seven Bone Steak
Under Blade Steak
Mock Tender Steak
Chuck Eye or Beauty Steak
Surprisingly, the blade steak is one of the five tenderest of all steaks. It has a great flavour, and is inexpensive compared to steaks from the loin, sirloin and rib. It has a line of tough connective tissue down the middle that can be removed to produce a very nice steak. It grills or broils well.
The Rest of the Chuck Steaks
The rest of the steaks from the chuck (including the chuck steak) all have good flavour and texture, but they can be quite fibrous. They can be bone in or boneless, cut thick or thin, and can be broiled or roasted successfully, especially if marinated or tenderized. However, the best way to cook chuck steaks is to braise them. To braise them, sear them on both sides in a heavy pan, add a small amount of liquid such as seasoned broth or wine, cover tightly and simmer them until tender.
Fore Shank and Brisket Cuts
The fore shank section is basically the front leg of the cow. The brisket is found directly in back of the fore shank. There are no steaks produced from the fore shank or brisket.
Fore Shank and Brisket Cuts
The fore shank section is basically the front leg of the cow. The brisket is found directly in back of the fore shank. There are no steaks produced from the fore shank or brisket.
Swiss cuisine is varied. The great speciality is fondue, the delicious concoction of Gruyère and Vacherin cheese, melted and mixed with white wine, flour, Kirsch and a little garlic. Other cheese specialities are Emmental and Tête de Moine. Regional specialities include viande sechée (dried beef or pork) from Valais and the Grisons where it is called Bündnerfleisch. The meat is cut wafer thin, with pickled spring onions and gherkins. Papet vaudoir is a delicious dish made from leeks and potatoes. Geneva's great speciality is pieds de porc (pigs feet). Pork sausages or salami come in a variety of local recipes including Landjäger, Beinwurst, Engadinerwurst, Leberwurst (pâté), Kalbsleberwurst (calf's liver pâté), and Knackerli. Try Rösti (shredded fried potatoes) and Fondue Bourguignonne (cubed meat with various sauces). Cakes and pastries are also varied: Leckerli are Basel specialities (spiced honey cakes topped with icing sugar); in Bern they are decorated with a white sugar bear; Gugelhopf (a type of sponge cake with a hollow center), Fasnachtküchli (sugar-dusted pastries eaten during Carnival) and Schaffhausen (cream-filled cakes) are also popular.
The cuisine of Thailand, one of the most coherent in Southeast Asia, is an integrated, harmonious whole, following definite rules, selecting with care the foreign ideas it will accept and catering to the eye as well as the palate. Thai is one of the world's most exciting cuisines, and if you're willing to experiment, you'll be richly rewarded. Contrary to popular belief, not all Thai food is fiery hot; and there are plenty of tasty dishes suited to the Western palate. This hybrid cuisine has been influenced by soups and noodle dishes from China, curries from India and satay from Indonesia. Most dishes incorporate four elements: sweet, sour, salty and hot flavours.
Vegetarian Diets and Nutritional Requirements
People eat vegetarian diets for reasons of culture, belief, or health. Most vegetarians eat milk products and eggs, and as a group, these lacto-ovo-vegetarians enjoy excellent health. Vegetarian diets are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines and can meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients. You can get enough protein from a vegetarian diet as long as the variety and amounts of foods consumed are adequate. Meat, fish, and poultry are major contributors of iron, zinc, and B vitamins in most American diets, and vegetarians should pay special attention to these nutrients.
Vegans eat only food of plant origin. Because animal products are the only sources of vitamin B12, vegans must supplement their diets with a source of this vitamin. In addition, vegan diets, particularly those of children, require care to insure adequacy of vitamin D and calcium, which most Americans obtain from milk products.
Eat a Variety of Foods
Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. To make sure you get all of the nutrients and other substances needed for health, choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five major food groups.
|Food Groups¹||Daily Servings²||Serving Size|
|Grains||6-11||1 slice of bread
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
|Vegetables||3-5||1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables
1/2 cup of other vegetables-cooked or chopped raw
3/4 cup of vegetable juice
|Fruits||2-4||1 medium apple, banana, orange
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
3/4 cup of fruit juice
|Milk||2-3||1 cup of milk or yoghurt
1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
2 ounces of processed cheese
|Meat and Beans||2-3||2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat
2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts count as 1 ounce of meat
Vietnamese cooking is varied and usually very good. It is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions, with a plethora of regional specialities. As in all countries of the region, rice or noodles usually provide the basis of a meal. Not surprisingly, fish is plentiful. Breakfast is generally noodle soup locally known as pho (pronounced 'fur'). French-style baguettes are available throughout Vietnam. Local specialities include nem (pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms wrapped in rice paper, fried and served hot) and banh chung (glutinous rice, pork and onions wrapped in large leaves and cooked for up to 48 hours, to be eaten cold at any time). Vietnamese dishes are not complete without nuoc mam (a fish sauce) or mam tom (a shrimp sauce). Western-style cooking is on offer wherever tourists or business people are to be found in any numbers.
Green tea is refreshing and available everywhere. Apart from baguettes the French culinary legacy also embraces rich, fresh, filter coffee, usually brewed on the table in front of the customer. Vietnamese often have a fondness for beer. It is possible to get both local and imported brands. When in Hanoi it is worth trying the local draught beer available at street stalls. It is called Bia Hoi and is not only cheap, but also free of additives. Rice wine is also a favourite throughout the country. It is generally extremely potent.
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