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Thai Food : The Khantok Dinner

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The Top Ten Thai Dishes Loved by Foreigners

Do you want to try something exotic and spicy? Thai food is recommended to you. Eating Thai food, you will not only enjoy its delicious tastes, but you will also get benefit from the medicinal herbs used as ingredients in each dish. To acquaint you with herbal Thai dishes, let Thaiways present to you the recipes for top ten Thai dishes best loved by foreigners with the medicinal properties of herbs used in each dish.

The Khantok Dinner

Northern Style Khantok DinnerWhen travelling to the North of Thailand, do not miss khantok (or khantoke) dinner. Khantok in the Northern dialect means a wooden tray used for carrying dishes. Round in shape, it is made of teak wood, varnished or lacquered with 5 or 6 legs to support it. A Buddhist monk in the North is credited with the making of the first khantok. Then its use became popular and a dinner where a khantok is used is known as a khantok dinner.

In 1962, King Baudouin of Belgium visited Thailand as a royal guest of King Bhumibol. During his stay at the Royal Winter Palace (Bhubing Palace), he was entertained with a khantok dinner accompanied by northern folk dances.

At a khantok dinner, the host and the invited guests sit on the floor around the khantok, each of which serves 5 or 6 persons. The tradition of wearing northern mohom costume for a khantok dinner is no longer observed today.

Fingernail DanceThe main dishes on the khantok usually comprise sticky rice, hang-le curry (Burmese-styled curry), ho curry, khae curry, om curry (spicy curry of entrails), sai-ua (Northern Thai-styled), lap (minced meat, half cooked and highy seasoned), man phrik ong (a sauce of minced pork, tomatoes and chillies) which usually goes with khaep mu (crispy pork rinds), and khao soi (noodles in curry soup). Eating with (the right) hand, they scoop up a handful of sticky rice from the bamboo basket and dip it into the curry or chilli sauce and eat it.

After the meal, a dessert called khao taen, which is made of fried sticky rice covered with caramel, is served. Also served are khiyo cigars and fermented tea, which is chewed to help digestion. The khiyo cigar is made of shredded tobacco and ground tamarind bark, or khiyo, which can reduce the strong odour of tobacco.

While dining, Northern classical dances are performed to entertain guests. One of the most popular is fon lep or fingernail dance, in which women dancers are dressed in Northern Thai style, wearing long pointed brass fingernails. The programme of dances and dishes may vary from restaurant to restaurant.

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