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Phad Thai a Small Taste of a Large Cultural Heritage Whenever Americans think of oriental cuisine it seems they automatically visualize Chinese food but the Orient has many other cultures each with their own distinctive styles of cooking Of course it is only natural for people to automatically equate Chinese food as synonymous with oriental cuisine since it has been the dominant type of oriental cooking readily available to Americans ever since the first Chinese immigrants started to arrive in droves on the west coast in the 1800s There is much more depth and variety to oriental food than just the Chinese food that we are familiar with however One of my personal favorites is Thai food and in particular a dish called phad Thai Phad Thai is a traditional Thai dish that exemplifies Thailands resilient culture and the distinctive style of cooking which is inherent to their people In order to gain an understanding of Thai cuisine it is necessary to first have a rudimentary understanding of the strong cultural identity that inspired their unique style of cooking Geographically Thailand is wedged between two cultural powerhouses China and India These two countries managed to have a large impact on Thai society but the Thai peoples have demonstrated an outstanding ability to assimilate select aspects of these outside customs and integrate them into their traditional way of life while still holding firmly to their own cultural identity Thailands culture like the Chinese and Indian cultures has developed over the span of thousands of years however Thailands jungle terrain deterred the formation of a strong centralized government Instead the Thai people lived in many isolated self-governed villages scattered throughout the jungle Thailands isolated village communities served as a cultural buffer dam that prevented outside influences from sweeping over them like a tidal wave New thoughts and ideas seeped into their society slowly and subtly This slow integration diluted the outside influences and allowed
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