The delicious flavour of Thai food has its basis in a combination of four tastes _ sour, salty, sweet, and spicy _ which are balanced differently depending on the dish. In some foods sweetness dominates _the thick, sweet, coconut cream-based curries made with pork, chicken, or beef called phanaeng, are a good example, as are the Chinese aromatic stewed pork belly dish called palo moo sam chan and the sugary shredded pork known as moo wan. Others put the stress on chilli heat. Pad cha pla krabane (a spicy stir-fry of stingray, herbs, and potent seasonings including chilli), pla duc pad phet (catfish stir-fried with chilli and other seasonings), or the fiery southern curry called kaeng tai pla.
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Salty dishes include tom khem recipes in which fish like mackerel or carp are cooked in a salty broth. For sourness, there are the soup-like kaeng som and its southern Thai version known as kaeng lueang, kaeng khua-type curries like kaeng phet pet yang, the pineapple and horseshoe crab egg curry called kaeng khua sapparot kap khai maeng da, and kaeng moo sam chan kap pak boong (a curry made from pork belly meat and the shoots of a morning glory-like vine). The sour-hot salads called yam in Thai include all four tastes, with the sourness kept from becoming too prominent.
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