The Art of Plating Thai Food
Thai cuisine is revered worldwide not just for its complex balance of spicy, sour, sweet and salty flavors but also for the beautiful, thoughtful presentations that showcase each dish. From the vibrant curries to the ornate platters of appetizers, the visual aesthetic is just as important as the taste of Thai food.
At Family Thais, explore and create some key playing techniques that make our dishes visually pop!
Let’s dig deeper into the artful presentation you can find at our Dallas Thai restaurant. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick up some tips for your own homemade Thai favorites.
Color and Contrast
A Thai meal is a colorful celebration of flavors and textures. Using fresh herbs and garnishes is key to adding vibrant pops of green, red, and yellow to your dishes.
Many Thai chefs strategically pick herbs and vegetables that complement the main ingredients to create color contrast. For example, use red chili slices, shredded green mango, and fresh cilantro to lend a festive color to a yellow chicken curry.
Not only do the colors look appealing, but they provide textural and flavor contrast as well.
Height and Layers
Thai dishes on our menu are known to have complex layers of flavors. When creating a Thai dish, you can mirror this complexity on the plate with tall presentations utilizing ingredients as building blocks.
Curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes all lend themselves well to layering. Start with a base like rice, then stack on protein like chicken or shrimp, sauce or curry, vegetables, fresh herbs, crunchy elements like nuts or fried shallots, and colorful sauce drizzles. The height draws the eye upwards and lets you feature a mix of textures.
Symmetry and perfect 90-degree angles may look elegant in the average chic, downtown Dallas joint, but it's not the Thai style. Angling components across the plate or bowl makes things look intentionally placed instead of stiff and formulaic.
Play with the angle of sliced proteins, drizzled sauces or garnishes like cilantro sprigs and chili slices. Not only does this look natural, but it helps give height and dimension to your plating.
While most art tries to fill a whole canvas, we say don't overcrowd the plate when creating a gorgeous Thai presentation. Proper negative space allows components to breathe and helps highlight key ingredients.
To achieve the perfect negative space effect, we say place your protein or main element slightly off-center, then build around it while leaving ample negative space. A pad thai with noodles tossed on the lower third of the plate and protein to one side has more impact than a sloppy pile of overflowing noodles.
Herbs, chilies, crunchy noodles, and fried shallots add flavor, color, and texture while upping the visual impact of edible garnishes.
We use a liberal hand with fresh herbs like mint, basil, and cilantro to add freshness to even the spiciest of Thai blends.
Fiery bird's eye chilies not only provide heat but give a dramatic red spike. Top curries or noodle bowls with fried shallots and roasted peanuts to finish with crunch.
A finishing sauce drizzle amplifies the visual appeal of anything from noodle bowls to grilled meats. Playing with swooping patterns and lines across the plate adds a boost of color and beauty that simply dumping a sauce could never accomplish.
Aside from the perfect drizzle, contrasting sauces like a red chili sauce and green curry oil are twice as striking.
Impaled grilled proteins or vegetables on bamboo skewers set diagonally across the plate always tempt the eye and stomach. Steak, chicken, and shrimp shine on their own with simple marinades and strategic char lines.
We believe grilling maximizes the ingredient's flavors and lets us showcase beautiful black grill marks that lead to that glorious first bite.
Enjoy Visual Vibrance and Taste at Family Thais
At its heart, Thai food emphasizes fresh, aromatic ingredients prepared with care and meant to be enjoyed communally.
At Family Thais, we extend the enjoyment with plating principles focused on creating an aesthetically pleasing presentation to let the dishes shine.
If you’re ready to experience an authentic taste of Thai in a relaxed environment in downtown Dallas, we’re ready to have you at our table!
Stop in today or contact us for more information about our restaurant! We are located at 208 N. Market Street in Dallas, Texas.