Sunday, January 23, 2011

All About Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)

What is Fish Sauce?:

Fish Sauce, or "Nam Pla" in Thai, is one of the basic ingredients in Thai cooking. It has a rich translucent reddish-golden brown color, and is used liberally in nearly all Thai dishes. It is often used as a marinade for fish and meat, as well as a condiment (usually mixed with fresh-cut chilies and lime juice) - you may have come across this "sauce" on tables in Thai restaurants. In fact, Thais would add a little fish sauce to their meal the same way we would use salt and pepper.

What is Fish Sauce Made of?:

Good fish sauces are made from a mixture of fish and salt that has been allowed to ferment for 1 year to 18 months. Anchovies are typically used, although some fish sauces are also made from other types of fish or squid. The basic ingredients of a good fish sauce are: fish, water, and salt. Sugar may also be added, but isn't necessary.

Where Can I Buy Fish Sauce?:

These days, some of the larger grocery chains are starting to carry fish sauce (in their Asian section); however, I find the type they sell to be watered down and not nearly as authentic or tasty as the type sold in Asian food stores. You'll find a good selection of fish sauces at nearly any Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai food store. Look for tall bottles with "Fish Sauce" and the ingredients displayed on the label (fish extract, salt, and water - other ingredients aren't necessary). Look for fish sauce made in Thailand or Vietnam.

What Can Vegetarians use as a Substitute for Fish Sauce?:

Vegetarian fish sauce exists - and it's quite good! So far I've yet to find it in a Thai food store, but nearly all the Vietnamese food stores carry it. Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a store is Vietnamese-owned or Chinese, Thai, etc... - you just have to go in and poke around, and don't be shy to ask for it. Some store owners will order it in for you if they don't have it. What are ingredients of Vegetarian Fish Sauce? They vary, but usually it's a mixture of soy beans, salt, sugar, water, chili, and citric acid as a preservative (since this type isn't fermented).

Fish Sauce & Sodium: What to Do if You're Worried About Salt Intake?:

For those who are concerned about their sodium intake, using fish sauce can be a bit of a dilemma. Not to worry. While the sodium content of fish sauce seems outrageous when you look at the serving size on the label, remember this amount will be distributed throughout the dish you're cooking (for example, a Thai curry), so you won't be consuming all of it - at least not in one portion or sitting. Add only a portion of the fish sauce called for in the recipe, then top up the remainder with sea salt. Sea salt has only a portion of the sodium found in regular table salt, and is much better for you in other ways too.

How Do I Store my Fish Sauce, and How Long Will it Keep?:

Fish sauce is fermented, and therefore does not require refrigeration (saves you fridge space!). It will keep indefinitely. Vegetarian fish sauce contains citric acid (vitamin C), so it doesn't need to be kept in the refrigerator either. A cool, dark place is probably best, like a cupboard near the stove so your fish sauce is close at hand when you're cooking. Enjoy!

Homemade Thai Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Next time you have a barbecue or cookout party, instead of purchasing a store-bought barbecue sauce, try this superior homemade barbecue sauce recipe! Homemade barbecue sauce is easy to put together, and it's far less expensive than the store-bought variety. Plus, it tastes better and is much healthier for you! My easy Thai barbecue sauce can be whipped up in just minutes. Then slather it on any type of meat or fish. Makes excellent barbecue chicken, or chicken wings for the kids!

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes


  • This Recipe Makes Enough Barbecue Sauce to Serve 2 Adults (Double the Recipe for 4 or More)
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 2 thumb-size pieces of ginger or galangal, minced or grated
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, OR 1 tsp. bottled pureed garlic
  • 1-3 red or green chili peppers, de-seeded/minced, OR 1-3 tsp. chili sauce (omit for very mild sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lime (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)


  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. OR, place all ingredients in a food processor. Process well to form a smooth sauce.
  2. Pour over the meat, chicken, or fish you plan to barbecue. Be sure to turn the pieces in the sauce so that all the flesh has been saturated with sauce.
  3. Allow to marinate at least 20 minutes (while you warm up the barbecue or grill), OR up to 24 hours in advance (simply cover the meat and place in the refrigerator overnight, until you're ready to cook).
  4. While barbecuing, baste the meat once on each side for increased flavor and tenderness.
  5. If desired, make extra sauce and keep it aside (separate from the meat) until you're ready to eat. Then quickly warm it up and serve as a dipping sauce, glaze, or just to spoon on top as you eat. ENJOY!
Cooking Tip: Because this barbecue sauce is fairly sticky (that's what makes it so good!), I find it helps to oil the grill before cooking. Simply dip your basting brush in a little cooking oil and brush over the grill before cooking. This also keeps the meat from sticking too much, making turning easier.

Thai Peanut Sauce/Dip/Marinade

While most Western versions of peanut sauce are made with peanut butter, this Thai peanut sauce recipe starts with real peanuts - and you'll taste the difference! At the same time, it's super easy and quick to make. This peanut sauce can be used for a variety of purposes, from a dip for veggies to a sauce for chicken or beef satay. Or use it to make a yummy cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. A very easy and versatile peanut sauce recipe.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4-6 as a Dip


  • 1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 to 2.5 Tbsp. fish sauce - for vegetarians: substitute 2.5 to 3 Tbsp. regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
  2. Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature with my Thai Chicken Satay, as a dip with fresh veggies, with fresh spring rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. Enjoy!
Note: This sauce tends to thicken as it sits - just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator (keep up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter).

Thai Chili Sauce 'Nam Prik Pao'

Although you can buy the famous Thai chili paste "nam prik pao" in most Asian food stores, I prefer making my own homemade version. This way there are no preservatives and I get to add my own healthy oil. There are numerous versions of homemade nam prik pao in Thailand - each cook makes it his or her own way. So have fun experimenting with this (my own) recipe, adjusting the spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavorings according to your liking. Nam prik pao chili sauce makes an excellent accompaniment for soups such as Tom Yum Kung, and is an absolute must with noodle dishes. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 1 small jar


  • Makes a small jar of Nam Prik Pao - about 1/2 cup (a little goes a long way!)
  • 1/4 cup canola or coconut oil, plus a little more to finish (or light vegetable oil of your choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • dried whole OR crushed red chilies, ground to make 3 Tbsp. powder (*If you have a sensitive stomach, use cayene pepper)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. shrimp paste (available in jars at Asian stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. palm or brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. tamarind paste (available at Asian or Indian food stores)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. water


  • Preparation Tips: Although traditionally the shallots and garlic are finely chopped by hand, you can also use a food processor for this task. Just be sure not to over-process, or you will end up with a mushy mess. What you want are individual-looking pieces of shallot and garlic.
  • If Using Whole Dried Chilies: simply place them in a coffee grinder (or food processor) and blitz until you get a powdery consistency.
  1. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallots and garlic, frying until they turn a very light golden brown and slightly crispy (2-3 minutes). Tip: try not to over-brown the garlic, or it will turn bitter.
  2. Remove garlic and shallots with a slotted spoon from the oil and set in a bowl to cool. Leave remaining oil in the pan.
  3. Using a pestle & mortar OR food processor/mini-chopper, combine the prepared chili with the shrimp paste, fish sauce, sugar, tamarind, lime, and water. Also add the fried garlic and shallots.
  4. Pound or process all together to form a thick paste. Return this paste to your frying pan and stir it into the oil over low heat, gently simmering until you get a fairly even consistency. Adjust the consistency by adding a little more water if you find it too thick, or more oil if you prefer a "shinier" sauce.
  5. Adjust the taste, adding more fish sauce if you'd like it saltier, or more sugar if you'd like it sweeter (I usually end up adding another 1/2 Tbsp. of fish sauce and another Tbsp. of brown sugar to mine).
  6. Nam Prik Pao will keep for several months stored in a covered jar in your refrigerator. Use your Nam Prik Pao as an addition to Thai soups, or added as a flavor booster to Thai stir-fries and curry sauces. Also wonderful when stir-fried with seafood, or as an accompaniment to noodles. Enjoy!
*Health Tip: If you have a sensitive stomach, inflammation of the stomach (as I do), or heartburn (acid reflux), I highly recommend using cayenne pepper instead of Thai bird's eye chilies or other type, as suggested in the ingredients list. Unlike most types of chili, cayenne helps heal the stomach. It's also easier to use in the sense that it's already ground. OR you can use your own fresh cayenne from your garden or local market. For more on cayenne, see: Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper.


= ส่วนผสม =
 1.น้ำมันพืช  - 3  ช้อนโต๊ะ 
2.เส้นหมี่แช่น้ำ หั่นยาวพอประมาณ - 2  ถ้วยตวง 
3.ซอสปรุงอาหารตราแม็กกี้  -  5  ช้อนโต๊ะ 
4.น้ำมันพืชสำหรับผัด  - 3  ช้อนโต๊ะ 
5.ฟองเต้าหู้แช่น้ำ หั่นชิ้นพอคำ - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง
6.เต้าหู้แข็ง หั่นชิ้นพอคำ - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง 
7.เห็ดหอมแช่น้ำ หั่นเป็นเส้นๆ -  1/4  ถ้วยตวง
8.ดอกข้าวโพดอ่อน ผ่าซีก  - 5  ดอก
9.ถั่วลันเตา - 10  ฝัก
10.กะหล่ำปลี หั่นชิ้นพอคำ - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง
11.แครอท หั่นชิ้นพอคำ - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง 
12.ดอกกะหล่ำ หั่นชิ้นพอคำ - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง
13.แป้งข้าวโพด - 2  ช้อนโต๊ะ 
14.น้ำเปล่า - 1/4  ถ้วยตวง 
15.น้ำตาลปึก - 1  ช้อนโต๊ะ

= วิธีทำ =
1. สูตรอาหารราดหน้ารวมมิตรเจนั้น เริ่มจากการผัดเส้นหมี่กับน้ำมันพืช ปรุงรสด้วยซอสปรุงอาหารตราแม็กกี้ 2 ช้อนโต๊ะ ผัดให้เข้ากัน ตักขึ้นใส่จานพักไว้
2. ขั้นตอนต่อมาก็ใส่น้ำมันพืชลงกระทะ ตามด้วยเต้าหู้ เห็ดหอม ฟองเต้าหู้ ผัดจนสุก แล้วใส่ดอกข้าวโพด แครอท ถั่วลันเตา ดอกกะหล่ำ และกะหล่ำปลี ผัดจนสุก
3. ปรุงรสด้วย ซอสปรุงอาหารตราแม็กกี้ ที่เหลืออีก 3 ช้อนโต๊ะ ใส่น้ำตาลปึก ชิมรสตามชอบ แล้วผสมแป้งข้าวโพดกับน้ำเปล่า ใส่ลงไปในส่วนผสมคนให้เข้ากันจนแป้งสุก ยกลงราดบนเส้นหมี่ที่เตรียมไว้ แค่นี้คุณก็จะได้สูตรอาหารเมนูเจรสเลิศไปรับประทานกันแล้ว


ส่วนผสม & เครื่องปรุง : น้ำซุปโพแทสเซียม, เครื่องแกงส้ม (ต้องไม่ใส่กะปิ), น้ำมะขาม, ซีอิ๊วขาว,
น้ำตาลโตนด, ผักสดแล้วแต่ชอบ เช่น ยอดมะพร้าว, ผักบุ้งไทย, กะหล่ำปลี, ดอกกระหล่ำ ฯลฯ

วิธีทำ : นำน้ำซุปโพแทสเซียมใส่หม้อ ละลายเครื่องแกงก่อนที่จะตั้งเตา (ถ้าละลายในน้ำเดือดจะจับตัวเป็นก้อน) ตั้งไฟให้เดือด ปรุงรสตามชอบ (ควรลดเค็มและหวาน) ใส่ผักลงไป ชิมรสอีกครั้ง เพราะน้ำในผักจะทำให้รสชาติเปลี่ยนไปเล็กน้อย

ส่วนผสม & เครื่องปรุง : 

น้ำสะอาด 20 ลิตร
หอมใหญ่ 1/2 กก.
แครอทขนาดกลาง 1/2 กก.
มันฝรั่ง 1/2 กก.
หัวไชเท้า 1/2 กก. (จะใส่หรือไม่ก็ได้ บางคนบอกว่าจะไปล้างยา)

วิธีทำ : ต้มน้ำให้เดือด นำผักที่เตรียมไว้ใส่ลงไปในหม้อต้มให้เดือด 15 นาที จากนั้นเคี่ยวไปประมาณ 2 ชั่วโมง ไฟกลางๆ เมื่อได้ที่แล้วทิ้งให้เย็น กรองเอากากออก นำน้ำซุปที่ได้แบ่งใส่ถุง แช่ช่องแข็งไว้ใช้ทำอาหารต่อไป


= เครื่องปรุง =  
ไก่ตอน - 1 - ตัว(ขนาด 2 กก.ขึ้นไปถึง 3 กก.)
ซีอิ๊วขาวสูตร1 - 2 - ช้อนโต๊ะ
น้ำมันไก่(เจียวใหม่) - 3 - น้ำมันไก่(เจียวใหม่)
ข้าวหอมมะลิใหม่ - 7 - ข้าวหอมมะลิใหม่
เกลือป่น - 1 - ช้อนโต๊ะ
กระเทียมเจียว - 5~6 - กลีบ
ขิงแก่(ปลอกเปลือก) - 1 - แง่งเล็ก

= วิธีทำการทำไก่ =
1. นำไก่มาล้างให้สะอาดโดยดึงปอดไก่กับก้อนเลือดที่ติดกับกระดูกออกแล้วล้างให้สะอาดอีกครั้ง พักไว้ 
2. นำหม้อใส่น้ำตั้งไฟให้เดือดใส่เกลือ 1 ช้อนชาไปในท้องไก่ แล้วนำไก่ใส่หม้อ ปล่อยให้เดือดสักครู่ แล้วหรี่ไฟช้อนฟองออกจนหมด เคี่ยวต่อประมาณ 15 นาที หลังจากครบ 15 นาทีแล้วให้พลิก
ตัวไก่แล้วเคี่ยวต่อประมาณ 10 - 15 นาที(ขณะต้มน้ำควรท่วมไก่)
3. หลังจากต้มจนครบเวลาแล้ว(วิธีสังเกตุว่าไก่สุกหรือไม่ให้ใช้ตะเกียบแหลมลองจิ้มดูที่หนีบขาไก่ ถ้าไม่มีเลือดเป็นใช้ได้) นำไก่ขึ้นโรยเกลือเล็กน้อยให้ทั่วตัว ปล่อยให้เย็นสักครู่ แล้วนำไก่สับใส่จาน พร้อมเสิร์ฟ

= วิธีทำข้าวมัน =

1 นำกระเทียมสับเจียวกับน้ำมันไก่ พอมีกลิ่นหอมตักใส่ถ้วยพักไว้

2 นำขิงแก่ปอกเปลือกล้างให้สะอาดแล้วทุบให้แตกพักไว้
3 นำข้าวหอมมะลิ ซาวน้ำให้สะอาด ใส่หม้อไฟฟ้าเทน้ำซุปไก่ ซีอิ๊วขาว กระเทียมเจียว เกลือป่น และขิงมาคนให้เข้ากัน หุงข้าวตามปกติ ก็จะได้ข้าวมันไก่ที่มีกลิ่นหอม

= เครื่องปรุงน้ำจิ้ม =
ซีอิ๊วขาวสูตร1 - 1 - ถ้วยตวง(ประมาณ 10 ช้อนโต๊ะ)
ขิงแก่สับ - 1 - ช้อนโต๊ะ 
กระเทียมสับ - 3 - ช้อนโต๊ะ 
น้ำตาลปี๊บ - 1 - ช้อนโต๊ะ
พริกขี้หนูสวน(เด็ดก้านออก) - 5 - ช้อนโต๊ะ 

= วิธีทำน้ำจิ้ม =
นำขิง กระเทียมและพริกขี้หนูสวน มาโขลกจนละเอียดพอสมควร จึงเติมน้ำมะนาว น้ำตาลปี๊บ และซีอิ๊วขาวคลุกเคล้ากันให้เข้ากันตามอัตราส่วน

วิธีทำ ก๋วยจั๊บเข้มข้น

วิธีทำ  ก๋วยจั๊บเข้มข้น

• เส้นกวยจั๊บต้มสุก 2 ถ้วย
• ไข่ไก่ต้มปอกเปลือก 1 ฟอง
• หมูกรอบ 4 ชิ้น
• อบเชยป่น(หรือผงพะโล้) 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ
• ซีอิ้วดำอย่างหวาน 4 ช้อนโต๊ะ
• ซีอิ้วขาว 1/4 ถ้วย
• น้ำตาลทราย 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ
• เกลือ 1 ช้อนชา
• น้ำเปล่า 2 ถ้วยตวง
• ต้นหอมและผักชีซอยสำหรับโรยหน้า 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ
• เต้าหู้สี่เหลี่ยมทอดกรอบหั่นชิ้นขนาดพอคำ 1/4 ถ้วยตวง
• ตับหมู เลือดหมู เนื้อหมู อย่างละ 1 - 2 ชิ้น

1. ต้มน้ำให้เดือด ใส่อบเชยป่น ซีอิ้วดำ ซีอิ้วขาว น้ำตาลทราย เกลือ ลงไป ตามด้วยไข่ไก่ต้มสุก เคี่ยวด้วยไฟอ่อนๆ ประมาณ 30 นาที
2. ตักเส้นกวยจั๊บใส่ชาม ตักน้ำเครื่องปรุงราด และตามด้วยไข่ไก่ผ่าซีก เต้าหู้ทอดกรอบ หมูกรอบ ตับหมู เลือดหมู เนื้อหมู โรยหน้าด้วยต้นหอมและผักชี แค่นี้ก็เรียบร้อย
3. ถ้าอยากให้อลังการงานสร้างกว่านี้ ก็อาจจะใส่โคนปีกไก่และเห็ดหอมลงไปด้วย หรือถ้าอยากกินแบบกวยจั๊บน้ำข้น ก็เพียงแค่ใส่แป้งข้าวเจ้าหรือแป้งข้าวโพดก็ได้ ใส่ลงไปตอนที่ต้มเส้นกวยจั๊บแล้วคนให้เป็นเนื้อเดียวกัน ก็จะได้อีกหนึ่งรสชาติ

วิธีการทำก๋วยจั๊บ(Koy- Jup )ขาไก่และปีกไก่ STYLE แบบนายอร่อย

1. เส้นก๋วยจั๊บ 1 กิโลกรัม (ถ้าไม่มีเส้นก๋วยจั๊บเส้นหมี่ก็ได้)
2. ขาไก่และปีกบนไก่ 1 กิโลกรัม
3. เลือดไก่ 3 ก้อน
4. ซีอิ้วขาว 1 ขวดเล็ก
5. ผงพะโล้ 2 ซอง
6. ชูรส 1~2 ช้อนโต๊ะ
7. ซีอิ้วดำ 2~3 ช้อนโต๊ะ
8. แป้งข้าวโพด 1~2 ทัพพี
1.นำน้ำใส่หม้อเบอร์ 32 ประมาณ 1/2 หม้อ ต้มให้เดือด
2. ใส่ขาไก่กับปีกไก่ต้มให้เปื่อย
3. ใส่ผงพะโล้ ซีอิ้วขาว ซีอิ้วดำ ผงชูรส
4. ใส่เลือดไก่
5. ใส่แป้งข้าวโพด
ลองชิมดูขาดอะไรก็เพิ่มใส่ลงไปได้ แค่นี้ก็จะได้น้ำก๋วยจั๊บที่มีความหอมและเข้มข้นแล้ว(จะใส่ใข่ต้มที่ปลอกเปลือกแล้วลงไปด้วยก็ได้)
การทำเส้นก่วยจั๊บ ก็แค่ใส่น้ำลงไปในหม้อพอประมาณและนำเส้นก่วยจั๊บใส่ลงไปต้มเส้นก๋วยจั๊บให้อืดขึ้นหม้อ ถ้าเป็นเส้นหมี่ก็แค่เพียงให้ลวกให้สุก
ถ้าต้องการความหอมเพิ่มมากขึ้นให้ตำกระเทียมและนำมาเจียวให้หอม , หอมผักชีซอย , พริกไทยป่น 1 ขวดเล็ก
1. ตักเส้นก๋วยจั๊บใส่ชามที่เตรียมไว้ 1~2 ทัพพี(ถ้าเส้นหมี่ประมาณ 1 กำมือ)
2. ใส่กระเทียมเจียวลงไปในชาม 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ , หอมผักชีซอย 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ และโรยด้วยพริกไทยป่นพอประมาณ
3. ตักน้ำก๋วยจั๊บขาไก่และปีกไก่ ใข่ต้ม 1/2 ฟอง ที่เตรียมไว้ ทั้งหมดใส่ลงไปในชาม(มากน้อยแล้วแต่ตามใจชอบ)
ถ้าต้องการเพิ่มรสชาดอีกอาจจะต้องมีเครื่องเคียง เช่น น้ำส้มสายชูผสมพริกสดซอย , น้ำตาลทรายพริกป่น , น้ำปลาทั้งหมดนี้เป็นสูตรของนาย อร่อย ไม่ลองไม่รู้นะว่า แซบหลายซิบอกให้เด้อ....

Classical Music in Thailand and Thai Pop Music


Muay Thai Fight Music

The traditional musical accompaniment to every Muay Thai match is a sound recognised as a symbol of deference and respect. This rhythmic music accompanies the Ram Muay ritual dance that precedes every Muay Thai fight, as well as the contest itself. The music is performed by four musicians each playing either one of two kinds of oboe, a pair of Thai drums, or symbols. The tempo of the music varies. During the Ram Muay it is slow and stately to match the mood of this smooth and flowing ritual. When the fight commences the tempo is increased. At moments of excitement during a match the music becomes frenetic. This traditional music increases the atmosphere of Muay Thai events and urges fighters to push themselves even harder.

Traditional Thai Music

Thai people have known how to make musical instruments or to copy the patterns of others and adapt them to their own uses since ancient times. Before they came into contact with Indian culture (which was widespread in Southeast Asia), the Thais devised many kinds of musical instruments. And several new kinds of instruments were created after contact with the Indian musical culture. Including many local versions of flutes, stringed instruments and gongs, there are about 50 types of Thai musical instruments. The earliest Thai ensembles included woodwind and percussion instruments, originally in order to accompany the theatre. The Thai scale includes seven equal notes, instead of a mixture of tones and semitones. Instruments improvise around a central melody. Traditional Thai music is unique for its sound, but also for the absence of written music. The only way to learn it is from the masters, making it a rare art form, indeed.

The King's Anthem

His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand is a talented composer. You are sure to hear his anthem during a visit to Thailand.

Luuk Thung - Country Music

Luuk Thung (children of the fields) or Thai country music developed in the 1960s with singers reflecting on the hardships of living, loving and working in rural Thailand. The Suphanburi area has traditionally been home of many Luuk Thung musicians. The biggest star of all was Pompuang Duanjan. Her role was to invent electronic Luuk Thung. This produced a kind of hybrid pop music. The first Luuk Thung radio station was launched in 1977 at a time of economy collapse. Listeners found the music reflected their own state of mind. Since then it has grown ever more popular in Thailand.

Mor Lam - From Isaan

Mor lam (song Doctor) is the gargantuan beat of the Isaan region in the north east of Thailand. Like Luuk Thung it centres around lives led in poverty. The singing is fast and ryhthmic. Many songs feature betrayal of loyalties when a lover goes off to the capital, Bangkok, and finds a new partner with more money. In the late 1970s and early 80s the state of Isaan's economy meant that more people were leaving the area in search of work. They took their music with them, and the genre gradually became a part of the Thai national consciousness.

Thai Rock & Pop Music
The 1930s in Thailand saw much importation of Western music. For a while jazz was extremely popular and dominated all popular music. Then arived Cliff Richard and the Shadows and from this emerged the first Thai pop music, which was simply called 'String'.
In the 1970s a band called Caravan emerged at the forefront of a movement for democracy in Thailand. The ruling military brutally attacked students demonstrating at Thammasat University in Bangkok. To escape the bloodshed, Caravan, along with others, fled for the hills. There, Caravan continued playing for local farmers, and composed what is now their most famous song, ‘Khon Gap Kwaii’ (people and buffaloes). Known as songs for life, the distinct music that emerged at that time (strong lyrics combined with a rock and blues feel) helped to unite people against military oppression.
Thai music has borrowed much from western music, most particularly its instruments and there is a growing preference among Thais for a blend of Thai and international styles. The best example of this is Thailand’s famous rock band, Carabao who have crafted an exciting fusion of classical Thai music with heavy metal. Recording and performing for over 20 years now, it is by far the most popular music group in Thailand. Their massive success is due to the fearless personality of Ad Carabao, Thailland's number one rock star. He has become a true legend of modern Thai rock. He wields considerable political power through his music. The rock band Loso, playing love and rock songs, is also very famous in Thailand. Guitarist Sek Loso has now gone to live in England and has started writing songs in English. He has been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.
At the other end of the scale and firmly anchored in the world of PR and hype, is the gilded youth of T-pop. Perhaps the biggest example of this manufactured success is Tata Young. Eurasian Young is the biggest music phenomenon to hit Thailand in recent times. Tata Young is the first Thai female artist to launch an international album, and is famous throughout Asia.


Karaoke bars proliferate in Thailand. The most unlikely seeming places can be found sporting expensive karaoke systems. And the Thais like nothing better than to spend their drunken hours crooning endlessly into a microphone. Karaoke bars are associated with prostitution.

Thailand engagement and wedding customs


Thai Buddhist Marriage Ceremonies

Semi-arranged marriages are normal in Thailand. That is, families will conspire to ignite passion between a couple by allowing them to enjoy time together, and generally demonstrating their approval for the match. Marriages do not commonly take place without the blessing of the parents from both families. The man will appoach his girlfriend's family and request that she join him in marriage. They then negotiate a kind of 'reverse dowry'. And if he fails to come up with the funds the marriage is put on hold. In rural Thailand many couples live together without completing formal religious or legal marriage ceremonies. Nevertheless, these couples are often considered by the local community to be married. Originally Buddhist monks did not attend Thai marriage ceremonies. Monks attend to the dead during funerals, and their presence at a marriage was once considered bad luck. The couple would simply seek a blessing from their local temple around the time of the wedding. Monks do now commonly attend marriage ceremonies but weddings still do not normally take place at a temple. Couples will often consult a monk for astrological advice to set an auspicious date for the wedding. On the big day couples nowadays usually dress themselves in attire similar to that for western weddings.
The ceremony begins with the couple bowing before an image of the Buddha. They then recite Buddhist prayers, and light incense and candles before the Buddha image. The couple's parents place twin loops of thread upon the heads of the bride and groom, symbolically joining the couple together. The Buddhist monks then unwind a length of thread that is held between the hands of the assembled monks. They recite Pali scriptures intended to bring merit and blessings to the new couple. The thread terminates with the lead monk, who connects it to a container of water that has been blessed especially for the ceremony. Merit is said to travel through the thread into the water. This blessed water may be mixed with wax drippings from a candle lit before the Buddha image, as well as other ointments and herbs, to create a paste. A dot of this paste is applied to the the bride and groom's foreheads. Thai Buddhist monks are prohibited from touching women, therefore, the bride's mark is created with the butt end of the candle, rather than the monk's thumb. The couple offers food and flowers to the monks attending the wedding. A cash gift, placed in an envelope, is presented to the temple at this time. The highest-ranking monk present may offer words of encouragement or advice, at which point the Buddhist portion of the ceremony is concluded.
Thai weddings take place early in the morning, as the ceremony must be concuded in time for the monks to eat. They are not permitted to eat after midday. There will also be a non-Buddhist component to the wedding service rooted in folk traditions. These traditions centre around the couple's family.

Buddhism in Thailand


Theravada Buddhism

Most Thai citizens are Theravada Buddhists. The doctrine of Theravada Buddhism comes in three parts (or baskets).
In the first basket are the doctrines of karma (the sum and the consequences of an individual's actions during the successive phases of his existence) and samsara (the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth). These doctrines were derived from the Indian thought of the Buddha's time but the Buddha invested the concept of karma with strong ethical implications. Taken together these ideas assert that evil acts have evil consequences for those committing them, and good acts yield good consequences, not necessarily in any one lifetime, but over the inevitable cycle of births and deaths. These concepts were introduced by Sidhartha Gautama in the 6th century BC. An Indian prince-turned-ascetic he became known as Buddha (the enlightened one).
The Buddha taught his disciples:
When you see, just see.
When you hear, just hear.
When you smell, just smell.
When you touch, just touch.
When you know, just know.
Thai Buddhists are encouraged to find their own truths and not to rely solely on the teachings of others.
The second basket presents the discourses of the Buddha and contains the dharma which defines the way to nirvana. Theravada doctrine stresses three principle aspects of existence: anicca (impermanence) dukkha (dissatisfaction) and anatta (insubstantiality). The truth of anicca reveals that no experience, no state of mind, no physical object lasts. Trying to hold on to experience, states of mind and objects which are constantly changing creates dukkha. Anatta is the understanding that all forms of life are related because every form originated in a previous one. And so, the foundation of the Therevada system lies in these Four Noble Truths: 1. suffering exists, 2. it is caused by craving or desire, 3. it can be made to cease, 4. it can be brought to an end by following the Noble Eightfold Path. The final Noble Truth contains the eight precepts to be followed by Therevada Buddhists: right view, or having an understanding of the Four Noble Truths; right thought, freedom from lust, ill will, and cruelty; right speech, which means no lying, gossiping, harsh language, and vain talk; right action, by which killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct are prohibited; right livelihood, which requires an individual's sustenance be earned in a way that is not harmful to living things; right effort, by which good thoughts are encouraged and bad thoughts are avoided or overcome; right mindfulness, or close attention to all states of the body; and right concentration, that is, concentration on a single object to bring about a special state of consciousness in meditation. Following the Noble Eightfold Path conscientiously is necessary if a person aspires to become a saint ready for nirvana.
The Theravada idea of karma (and the Thai peasant's understanding of it) charges the individual with responsibility for good and evil acts and their consequences.The Buddhist theory of karma is well expressed in the Thai proverb Tham Dee, Dai Dee, Tham Chua, Dai Chua (good actions bring good results; bad actions bring bad results). In Thai thinking, the ideas of merit and demerit so essential to the doctrine of karma are linked linguistically to those of good and evil; good and merit are both bun; evil and the absence of merit are bap. Acts that bring merit are those that conform as closely as possible to the ethical demands of the Noble Eightfold Path. From the beginning the Buddha acknowledged that it would be difficult for a layperson to follow all aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path singlemindedly. The demands on the layperson are therefore less rigorous, and the powerful ethical content of the Noble Eightfold Path can be reduced to just five precepts. The laity are expected to refrain from taking life, stealing, lying, engaging in illicit sexual relations, and drinking intoxicating liquors. Many Buddhist principles, while not actually practiced, are venerated as ideals. Acts that support the brotherhood of monks are included as a way to gain merit. Providing material support, such as food, to the members of the monkhood, showing them deference, and supporting the construction and maintenance of the Wat have come to be the chief methods of gaining merit in Thailand. Making merit (Tham Bun) is an important social and religious activity in Thailand.


The concept of rebirth is widely accepted in Thailand and is central to the structure of Buddhist belief. The ultimate end of Theravada Buddhism is nirvana, the extinction of grasping at the moment, and thus an end to all suffering. Effectively, this is also an end to the cycle of rebirths (both moment-to-moment and life-to-life) that is existence. Most Thai people place little emphasis on the achievement of nirvana, whether as a final state after many rebirths or as an interior condition. In reality most Thai Buddhists aim for rebirth in a ‘better’ existence. By feeding monks, giving donations and performing regular worship at the local temple Thais seek to acquire merit.

Thai Temples (or Wat)

Thai Buddhism has no particular day of the week when Thais are supposed to make temple visits. Nor is there anything corresponding to a mass over which a monk presides. Instead Thai Buddhists go to a temple (or Wat) whenever they feel like it. At the temple Thai people will offer traditional symbols of respect, such as lotus buds, incense and candles, at the various alters. They may offer food to the temple monks or simply listen meditatively to the monks chanting. Visitors may also seek counsel from individual monks. Most Thai people relax immediately on entering a temple compound, absorbing strength from the quiet, supportive environment.

Thai Buddhist Monks

Socially every Thai male is expected to become a monk for a short period of his life, usually between the time he finishes school and the time he starts on a career. In Thailand, it is a popular belief that by becoming a monk great merit is gained, merit which also accrues to parents who sponsor the ordination. Monks (recognised by their orange robes) are very highly respected and there are a number of Thai customs relating to the special status of monks in Thai society. Lay people are expected to sit or stand with their heads at a lower level than that of a monk. Because of their religious discipline, Thai monks are forbidden physical contact with women. Women are therefore expected to make way for passing monks to ensure that accidental contact does not occur. A variety of methods are employed to ensure that no incidental contact (or the appearance of such contact) between women and monks occurs. Women making offerings to monks place their donation at the feet of the monk, or on a cloth laid on the ground or a table. Powders or ungents intended to carry a blessing are applied to Thai women by monks using the butt of a candle or stick.

Thai Spirits and Spirit Houses
The world of the Thai villager (and that of many city folk as well) is inhabited by a host of spirits. Although these beliefs are not sanctioned by Buddhist scripture or even by Buddhist tradition, many monks, themselves of rural origin and essentially tied to the village, are as likely as the peasant to accept the rituals associated with spirits. Most important are the spirits included in the rather heterogeneous category of Phi, thought to have power over human beings. This includes spirits believed to have a permanent existence and others that are reincarnations of deceased human beings. Phi exist virtually everywhere, in trees, hills, water, animals, the earth, and so on. Some are malevolent, others beneficial. The ghosts of notable people are said to reside in small shrines along the roads and are referred to as 'spirit lords.' They are often petitioned in prayers and can enter and possess the bodies of mediums to give oracles. Another category of spirits consists of the Chao (guardian spirits), of which perhaps the most important is the Chao Thi, or guardian of the house compound. Fixed on a post in the compound of most houses in Thailand is a small spirit dwelling. Without this vital structure you’re likely to have the spirits living with you! Food offerings are made to the Chao Thi on special days. The spirit is told of the arrival of guests of projected journeys by members of the family, and of births and deaths. The spirit's intercession is also sought during illness and misfortune. Other spirits protect gardens, the rice fields, and the Wat. The ghosts of people who died violently under mysterious circumstances or whose funeral rites were improperly performed constitute another class of Phi; almost all of these spirits are malevolent. Among the more important is the evil phi pop (ghoul spirit), which, at the instigation of witches, can enter human beings and consume their internal organs!

Fortune Tellers

Thai people do not rely solely on the accumulation of merit to bring about an improved state of being. Other forms of causality, ranging from astrology to the action of spirits of various kinds, are also part of their outlook. Thai people will often consult fortune tellers. For a fee the fortune teller will offer predictions and advice. Thai people do not believe this practice compromises their religion.

Thai Dance and Drama


The Khon masked drama draws its story line from the Ramakian, the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana. Khon performances are characterised by vigorous, highly-formalized action. Acting and dancing are inseparable, and each step has a definite meaning, which is emphasized by precisely defined music to suggest walking, marching, laughing, etc. Until the 19th century the Khon was acted by men playing both male and female roles. By the mid 1800s both men and women were appearing on stage together. The actors are often masked and cannot speak, so narrative verses are recited and sung by a chorus that sits with the accompanying musical ensemble. The leading male and female performers do not wear masks and may occasionally speak. The highly decorated papier mache masks are works of art and perfectly portray the characters' personalities. Major characters can be identified by the predominant colours of their costumes. Phra Ram, the hero, wears green. His brother, Phra Lak, wears gold and Hanuman, the monkey-god, wears white.



Simplest of all in form and presentation is Lakhon Chatri which can be seen at shrines when dancers are hired by those whose wishes have been granted to perform for the shrine deity. Lakhon Nai is graceful, romantic and highly stylized. Plays were originally presented only in the palace. Lakhon Nok was performed outside the palace and acted only by men. Filled with lively music, off-colour humour, and rapid, animated movements, Lakhon Nok was the ancestor of the enormously popular Likeh folk theater which is still a feature of many provincial festivals in Thailand.


Likeh, containing elements of pantomime, comic folk opera, and social satire, is generally performed against a simply painted backdrop during temple fairs. Its court-derived stories are embellished with local references and anecdotes, and spontaneous dialogue is filled with outrageous puns and double entendres.


Nang and Hun

Two other dramatic forms are the Nang Yai shadow plays and Hun marionettes. Intricately fashioned cowhide figures are held against a back-lit white screen.


Ram Muay

The Ram Muay is a Muay Thai boxing dance that precedes every Muay Thai match. It is a form of Wai Kru and is a way for Muay Thai boxers to show respect to their teachers. It serves as a graceful expression of the special relationship between a Muay Thai boxer and his trainer. Muay Thai regulations specify that both fighters must perform the Ram Muay before every bout. The Ram Muay usually lasts about five minutes and is done through a series of gestures and movements performed on the stadium in rhythm to ringside musical accompaniment.