Non-glutinous rice is also used for making fried rice dishes, and for congee, of which there are three main varieties: khao tom (a thin rice soup, most often with minced pork or fish), khao tom kui (a thick, unflavored rice porridge that is served with side dishes), or chok (a thick rice porridge that is flavored with broth and minced meat). Thailand has about the same land area as Spain and a length of approximately 1650 kilometers or 1025 miles (Italy, in comparison, is about 1250 kilometers or 775 miles long), with foothills of the Himalayas in the north, a high plateau in the northeast, a verdant river basin in the center, and tropical rainforests and islands in the south. Very often, regular restaurants will also feature a selection of freshly made "rice curry" dishes on their menu for single customers. Like most other Asian cuisines, rice is the staple grain of Thai cuisine. The plain rice, sticky rice or the khanom chin (Thai rice noodles) served alongside a spicy Thai curry or stir-fry, tends to counteract the spiciness.
In most Thai restaurants, diners will have access to a selection of Thai sauces (nam chim) and condiments, either brought to the table by wait staff or present at the table in small containers. Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. By this show of national identity, the community can resist social pressures that push for homogenization of many ethnically and culturally diverse communities into a single all-encompassing group identity such as Latino or Hispanic American.
We not only pay attention to how a dish tastes: we are also concerned about how it looks, how it smells, and how it fits in with the rest of the meal. Thai food is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices. With certain dishes, such as khao kha mu (pork trotter stewed in soy sauce and served with rice), whole Thai peppers and raw garlic are served in addition to the sour chili sauce. It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. Palm sugar, made from the sap of certain Borassus palms, is used to sweeten dishes while lime and tamarind contribute sour notes. Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand while seated on mats or carpets on the floor, customs still found in the more traditional households. By this show of national identity, the community can resist social pressures that push for homogenization of many ethnically and culturally diverse communities into a single all-encompassing group identity such as Latino or Hispanic American. Western influences, starting in 1511 CE when the first diplomatic mission from the Portuguese arrived at the court of Ayutthaya, have created dishes such as foi thong, the Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos, and sangkhaya, where coconut milk replaces unavailable cow's milk in making a custard. These dishes were said to have been brought to Thailand in the 17th century by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, a woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali ancestry who was born in Ayutthaya, and became the wife of Constantine Phaulkon, the Greek adviser of King Narai. It reflects its culture, environment, ingenuity and values.