Taste of Royal Thai Cuisine History and more

Jul 27, 2014

The history of royal Thai food could be traced back as far as 16th Century over 350 years ago, as recorded by Simon de la Loubert, the French diplomat to Thailand during the reign of King Narai the Great.

Ways of development of Royal Thai cuisine

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Royal Thai cuisine continued to evolve under the reigns of subsequent kings. The royal court remained a center of culinary innovation, with chefs constantly experimenting and refining their skills. The cuisine continued to be characterized by its attention to detail, balance of flavors, and exquisite presentation.  All Royal dishes and recipes, in the past, were hidden in secret and served only to royal members only.

Today, while the Thai monarchy’s role in governance has changed, the traditions of Royal Thai cuisine persist. The knowledge and techniques of royal chefs have been passed down through generations, and some dishes that were once exclusive to the royal court are now enjoyed by the general public in upscale Thai restaurants.

What is ways of unique of food presentation of Royal Thai cuisine

The royal Thai cuisine has its unique features in the way that the food is prepared and served.  Special skills are required to cook and display the food.  Only the best and freshest ingredients are well selected in making the royal Thai food, vegetables and fruits are delicately and beautifully carved into shapes of flowers, birds, etc.

Royal Chef

Thai Royal chefs are highly skilled and specialized culinary professional trained in the art of preparing dishes for the Thai royal family. These chefs are responsible for creating exquisite and refined meals that adhere to the traditions, techniques, and standards of Thai Royal cuisine.

Becoming a Thai Royal cuisine chef is a prestigious and demanding career path that requires extensive training, experience, and expertise. Thai Royal cuisine chefs have a deep understanding of Thai culinary traditions, regional variations, and the use of herbs, spices, and ingredients. They are familiar with the delicate balance of flavors, textures, and presentation techniques that are characteristic of Thai Royal dishes.

Prepare Meat for cooking royal thai cuisine

Selection of Meat: Choose high-quality meat, either beef, pork or chicken and even fish must be deboned and the texture of the meat is carefully cooked until it is soft and tender. Ensure the meat is fresh and free from any unpleasant odor.  At the same time, preparing traditional Thai ingredients like fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, or Thai herbs like coriander roots and kaffir lime leaves for marinade the meat.

In some Royal Thai dishes, meat is cooked in curries or stews. Follow the specific recipe for the particular dish you are preparing, as the techniques and ingredients can vary. Typically, the meat is added to the curry or stew along with coconut milk, spices, and other flavorings. Simmer until the meat is tender and infused with the flavors of the sauce.

The presentation of meat is given great importance. If applicable, carve the cooked meat into decorative shapes or thin slices. Arrange it carefully on a serving platter, considering the balance of colors and textures. Garnish with fresh herbs, vegetable carvings, or other decorative elements to enhance the visual appeal.

Fruits and Preparation and crafting the fruit

Fruits are peeled, with the peels sometimes carved and attached to the fruits as decorations.  In royal Thai cuisine all ingredients used in cooking must be well balanced, so that the taste is well blended, not too salty, too sweet, too sour or too spicy. In royal Thai cuisine, the seeds or stones of fruits and vegetables are not allowed to be seen, they must all be removed so that one can smoothly enjoy the food.

It’s important to note that Thai Royal cuisine emphasizes the use of fresh, seasonal fruits. Therefore, the selection of fruits and their preparations may vary depending on the availability and time of the year. Thai Royal chefs pay great attention to the visual presentation of fruits, often incorporating decorative fruit carvings and garnishes to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the dish.

Popular Royal Thai Dishes

Here are some notable Royal Thai dishes:

Chor Muang (ช่อม่วง)

Chor Muang is a beautiful and intricately designed traditional Thai appetizer. These dumplings are made from rice flour dough filled with a mixture of minced pork or chicken, fragrant herbs, and spices. The dumplings are carefully shaped into flower-like patterns and steamed. They are visually stunning and represent the artistry of Thai Royal Cuisine.

Hor Mok Talay (ห่อหมกทะเล)

This dish is a Thai steamed seafood curry custard. It combines a mixture of fresh seafood such as shrimp, fish, and squid with red curry paste, coconut milk, eggs, and aromatic herbs. The mixture is then steamed in banana leaf cups, resulting in a flavorful and visually appealing dish.

Gaeng Som Pla (แกงส้มปลา)

Gaeng Som Pla is a tangy and spicy Thai sour curry with fish as the main ingredient. It is made with a sour paste consisting of tamarind juice, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and various spices. The curry is typically cooked with fish, vegetables, and herbs, resulting in a delightful and robust flavor.

Pad Thai Goong Sod (ผัดไทยกุ้งสด)

Pad Thai is a popular Thai dish, but in the Royal Thai version, it is elevated to another level. Pad Thai Goong Sod features stir-fried rice noodles with fresh prawns, tofu, bean sprouts, and chives. It is seasoned with a balanced blend of tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice.

Gai Pad Med Mamuang Himmapan (ไก่ผัดเม็ดมะม่วงหิมพานต์)

This dish is commonly known as Cashew Nut Chicken Stir-Fry. It features tender chicken pieces stir-fried with cashew nuts, vegetables like bell peppers and onions, and a savory sauce. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a favorite choice in Thai Royal Cuisine.

Khao Chae  (ช้าวแช่)

 Khao Chae is a traditional Thai rice dish served during the hot summer months. It consists of jasmine rice soaked in chilled jasmine-scented water and accompanied by an array of side dishes such as fried shrimp paste balls, sweet shredded beef, stuffed shallots, and various condiments. It is a refreshing and cooling dish.

These dishes represent a small glimpse into the rich and diverse Royal Thai Cuisine. They exemplify the meticulous preparation, intricate flavors, and cultural heritage associated with Thai Royal dishes.

Beverages for Royal Thai Cuisine

In Thai Royal cuisine, a variety of drinks are served to complement and enhance the flavors of the dishes. These drinks range from refreshing beverages to aromatic infusions which are made from herbs, flowers, and spices.

Example of Royal drink

One such example is jasmine tea (Cha Mali ชามะลิ), which is made by steeping jasmine flowers in hot water. This fragrant tea offers a delicate and floral flavor that pairs well with the intricate flavors of Royal Thai dishes. Thai herbal infusions, known as “Nam Chaa,” are commonly served in Thai Royal cuisine. These infusions are made by steeping a variety of herbs, flowers, and spices in hot water.

Herbal tea

Some popular herbal infusions include lemongrass tea (Nam Takrai), butterfly pea flower tea (Nam Dok Anchan), ginger tea (Nam Khing) and Pandan Juice (Nam Bai Toey). These infusions offer a refreshing and aromatic beverage option.

Fruit juice

Thai fruits are known for their vibrant flavors and are often used to create refreshing juices. Popular choices include fresh-squeezed orange juice (Nam Som), Tamarind Juice (Nam Makham), pineapple juice (Nam Sapparot), and watermelon juice (Nam Tangmo). Additionally, fruit blends and smoothies, such as mango smoothies (Nam Mamuang) or coconut smoothies (Nam Ma-phrao), are also enjoyed in Thai Royal cuisine. Coconut water (Nam Ma-phrao) is a popular and hydrating drink, often served chilled. Coconut milk (Nam Kati) is another commonly used ingredient in Thai Royal cuisine and is used to make creamy and aromatic beverages like Thai iced tea (Cha Yen) or coconut milkshakes.

Main stable

Rice is a staple in Thai cuisine, and it is also used to create unique beverages. Rice water (Nam Kao) is a traditional drink made by soaking cooked rice in water, and it can be flavored with various ingredients such as pandan leaves or jasmine flowers. Rice milk (Nam Khao Tom) is another rice-based beverage made by blending cooked rice with water, and it can be sweetened and flavored as desired.

These beverages are selected to provide a balance of flavors, refreshment, and harmony with the Royal Thai cuisine. They contribute to the overall dining experience, adding depth and complexity to the meal. The selection of beverages may vary depending on the occasion, personal preferences, and the availability of ingredients. The drinks are chosen to complement the flavors of the dishes and provide a well-rounded dining experience.

Royal Cuisine and Proportion

Thai Royal Cuisine often features a wide array of dishes, ranging from appetizers to main courses and desserts. A typical royal meal can consist of up to 20 different dishes, with smaller portions of each dish to allow for a diverse dining experience.

Presentation is an important aspect of Thai Royal Cuisine. Dishes are meticulously arranged on the plate to create a visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing presentation. Colors, textures, and garnishes are carefully chosen to enhance the overall dining experience.

A Thai Royal meal is often served in courses, starting with lighter and milder dishes and progressing to bolder and more flavorful ones. This progression allows diners to appreciate the subtle nuances of each dish while gradually building up to more intense flavors.

It is customary that the portion of each dish for the royal Thai cuisine is quite small or if made into pieces, they must be as small as a bite size only.  Not surprisingly the royal Thai cuisine takes tremendous time to prepare and cook and a troop of helpers are needed just like they do in the royal kitchen. 

 However, it is worth the great efforts, as one will enjoy admiring the charms and aesthetics as well as the very balanced flavors of the royal Thai food.

Royal Thai Dessert

The royal dessert is known for its exquisite and delicately crafted sweet dishes that showcase the artistry and elegance. The royal kitchens developed intricate and visually appealing desserts using ingredients such as coconut, rice flour, fruits, and aromatic herbs. These sweet creations showcased the creativity and artistry of Thai culinary culture.

Thong Yip – ทองหยิบ

One iconic Royal Thai sweet dish is “Thong Yip” (Pinched Gold). Thong Yip is a delicate golden flower-shaped dessert made from egg yolks, sugar, and jasmine-scented water. It is renowned for its intricate shape and luxurious texture. The name “Thong Yip” signifies wealth and prosperity, and it is often served during special occasions and royal ceremonies.

Thong Yod – ทองหยอด

Thong Yod”  or “golden drops” in Thai. It is known for its delicate and intricate appearance, resembling tiny droplets or golden tears. Thong Yod is made from a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and flour. The ingredients are combined and then shaped into small droplets using a special brass mold with small holes. The droplets are carefully dropped into simmering sweet syrup, which helps cook and solidify the Thong Yod while adding a sweet flavor.

Luk Chup ลูกชุบ

Another popular Royal Thai sweet dish is “Luk Chup.” Luk Chup are bite-sized sweets that resemble miniature fruits and vegetables. They are made from a mixture of mung bean paste, sugar, and coconut milk, which is intricately shaped and hand-painted to resemble real fruits and vegetables. Luk Chup’s exquisite appearance makes it a staple in Thai Royal Cuisine.

Khanom Chan – ขนมชั้น

“Khanom Chan” is a multi-layered Thai dessert that is also considered a Royal Thai sweet. It consists of colorful layers made from rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. Each layer is delicately steamed and stacked to create a visually stunning dessert with a soft and smooth texture. Khanom Chan is often served as part of a dessert platter during formal Thai banquets.

Sangkaya Fak Thong – สังขยาฟักทอง

“Sangkaya Fak Thong” is another Royal Thai dessert that showcases the combination of coconut and pumpkin. It is a custard made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and pandan leaf extract, which is poured into a hollowed-out pumpkin and steamed until set. The rich and creamy custard pairs perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin.

Khanom Bueang – ขนมเบื้อง

Khanom Bueng is a traditional Thai crispy pancake dessert. It consists of delicate crispy shells filled with a sweet and savory mixture of whipped coconut cream, shredded coconut, and various fillings such as egg yolks, chopped shrimps, and mung bean paste. It is a delightful and intricate dessert enjoyed in Thai Royal Cuisine.

These are just a few examples of the many delightful, sweet dishes found in Thai Royal Cuisine.

Why Thai Royal Cuisine can serve outside the Palace

Serving Royal Thai food outside the palace, it helps preserve and promote the rich culinary traditions and cultural heritage of Thailand. Sharing this exquisite cuisine with the public allows for a broader appreciation and understanding of Thai gastronomy. It provides a platform to educate and raise awareness about Thai cuisine. It allows people from different backgrounds and cultures to experience the unique flavors, ingredients, and techniques associated with Royal Thai food, fostering a greater appreciation for Thai culinary traditions.

Royal Thai cuisine brings a different dimension with its refined and elegant preparations. It can create economic opportunities for chefs, restaurant owners, and the local food industry. It attracts tourists, food enthusiasts, and those seeking unique dining experiences, contributing to the growth of the hospitality sector and supporting local businesses.

Sharing Royal Thai food outside the palace allows for cultural exchange and appreciation. It provides an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to connect with Thai culture, traditions, and history through the medium of food. It fosters cross-cultural understanding and appreciation for culinary arts.

Where to try Royal Thai Cuisine

Thailand is the best place to try authentic royal Thai cuisine. If you have an opportunity to travel to Thailand, you can explore the local culinary scene and seek out restaurants or dining experiences that offer Royal Thai Cuisine. Major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai often have establishments specializing in Thai Royal Cuisine or themed dining experiences that showcase the elegance and sophistication of the cuisine. You can ask your tour guide or tour operator for find Royal Cuisine.

Recommend Royal Thai Restaurant

Royal cuisine was limited to the Royal family only in the old days. Nowadays, it is easy to access. Here are some well-known restaurants serving the Royal Thai cuisine in Bangkok that you can experience;

Bussaracum Royal Thai Cuisine; Sathorn/Silom ; www.bussaracum.com –  Most pictures were took in this restaurant.

Thanying Genuine Royal Thai Cuisine ; Soi Pramuan/Silom ; www.thanying.com

Blue Elephant Restaurant ; South Sathorn Road ; www.blueelephant.com

Ruen Mallika Restaurant ; Sukhumvit 22 ; www.ruenmallika.com

Krua Chumsai Restaurant ; Phahonyothin Soi 5 ; www.krua chumsai.com

Chakrabong Dinning at Maharaj Road (Reservations are necessary) ; www.chakrabongsevilla/dinning/

 Krua Absorn – Famous Royal Thai Cuisine 

Krua Aborn was voted one of the best delicious restaurants in the world by the Observer, British Newspaper. The small restaurant has 3 branches own by Ms. Chancahwee Sakoonkan. The owner was working as main chef who serve the food for HRH Princess Galyani, the current King sister. After resigning from her routine job, she opened restaurant as her friends cheered her up. After the princess found out that she occasionally visited this place before she passed away. The restaurant is very busy with Thais and westerners who come to visit all day long. However, they serve the food quickly.

Recommended Menu from Krua Absorn

This place sales Thai food and many said all dishes are very delicious. Let’s find out what food that you could start with. The famous meat including crab meat stir with yellow chilly, Crab meat and curry, Keang Bua Lay ( lotus steam soup with yellow curry), Keang Kweaw wan Look chin pla kai (Fish ball in green curry),  Hoi Mealeang poo pad cha (mussel in herb and chilly), Pad pik moo kraliang (Pork stir fried in Hill tribe style), Pad Dok Kajor (stir fried vegetable), Meang kana (snack made from vegetable , herb and sweet sauce), Koong pad stor (Shrimp stir in vegetable), and Prakapng Tod ( whole fish deep fried) and many more. By the way, the dessert made of coconut juice is also delicious.

 Krau Absorn is just a small restaurant which is not far from the National Library. The location is at Samsen soi 9 road – 02-241-8528  – open 10.30-19.30 daily except Sunday.

The second branch is at Dinsor Road which is near the Democracy monument.

If you are interested to visit this place, you can travel there by taxi. Or let us know if you want to visit this place when you book Bangkok private tour, we will be able to arrange the trip for you.

or check with our program that visit one of restaurant on the list.

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