If you were to visit a Thai home in a rural area, or even one of the older type houses

in the heart of Pattaya or Bangkok, more often than not you would find the kitchen away from the house itself. It tends to be quite a simple space which is open to the air and definitely without air conditioning! The main feature is the ‘cooker’ although it is nothing like the cooker you would have in your own kitchen: no knobs, no temperature control, no oven, no extractor, no gas, no electricity….. Most of the cooking is done using a charcoal pot which is placed under a circular opening in a brick built stove upon which a wok is placed. A spare sack of charcoal is always kept close to the cooking area so that if it runs out in the middle of a cooking session, the cook can just grab another handful and lob it onto the embers in the pot As the charcoal pot is the sole source of heat used in a Thai kitchen you will appreciate that there is no tradition of baked food in Thai cuisine.

Unlike the traditional home baking of the west, which includes pies, cakes, puddings and pastries, all Thai food is cooked on top of the heat source, rather than in it. This means that all the food is cooked quickly, which keeps in the flavours and natural goodness of the dishes.

Rather than a fine array of kitchen units, a Thai kitchen only has a couple of cupboards in which to store kitchen utensils, dry food, herbs, spices, pastes and sauces such as nam pla (fish sauce), oyster sauce, soy sauce and sweet chili dipping sauce. Needless to say, there would be no fridge, so all the ingredients needed for a day’s cooking are bought fresh from the market each morning. You may find water filled saucers under the feet of any free standing cupboard, which is a failsafe method of keeping the ants at bay, something that modern kitchens generally fail to do.