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What is the difference between Thai and Chinese Food?

• Thai food has regional variations with the northern region of Thailand having foods that are influenced by Chinese cuisines. This is because Chinese provinces of Yunan border Thailand in the north.

• In general, Thai food is hot and spicy while Chinese food is milder than the Thai food.

• Thai cuisine makes use of more herbs and spices than Chinese cuisine.

• Thai food is lightly cooked but is very flavorful because of the use of herbs.

• Soy sauce and soy paste are used commonly in Chinese food while fish sauce is used in Thai food.

• Thai food has many curries, and they eat soups in large bowls.

• Chinese food is more oily than Thai food.

Thai vs Chinese Food 

To a westerner, differentiating between Thai and Chinese food is as difficult as finding differences between people of Thai and Chinese origins. Of course, there are similarities between the two cuisines that are only natural to be there considering the proximity of the two Asian countries. China is such a large country with so many variations in their cuisine that there is much overlapping between Chinese and Thai food at times. However, despite these similarities, there are differences that will be outlined in this article.

Thai food is delicious but spicy and contains lots of heat. Most of the dishes are lightly cooked, but special attention is paid to the flavors of the dishes. This is why Thai cuisine makes use of lots of herbs and spices. There is not one but 4 regional cuisines of Thailand with each one incorporating elements of the cuisines of the neighboring countries. This is why Burmese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian influences in Thai cuisine can be easily felt depending upon the region from which the food comes. However, Thai cuisines have also influenced the cuisines of the neighboring countries.

Thai cuisine became internationally known with the beginning of the Vietnam War when American troops arrived in this country. Today Thai food is so popular that it ranks 4th in popularity as an ethnic cuisine after French, Italian, and Chinese cuisine. Normally the Thai meal consists of a single dish, but when rice is served, there are many different dishes served along with it. One ingredient that is very common in Thai food is called Nam Pla. It is a kind of fish sauce. Chili pastes and soy sauces are also used in Thai food. Rice is the staple food in Thailand with noodles too being very popular.

Chinese food needs no introduction to westerners with noodles and chili chicken being as popular in Chinese restaurants, in US as they are in China. However, it is foolish to treat all Chinese food as being similar as China is a very large country and there are regional variations making foods different. There are 8 Chinese cuisines or culinary styles with Hunan and Szechuan being very well known even across US. Rice and noodles are the staple food items in Chinese cuisine, but Chinese cuisine is also famous for its spicy chicken, and pork dishes. Chinese food is known for the use of soy sauces and soy paste with soy paste or sauce being generously sprinkled over the prepared dishes.


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