The culture of Thailand is rich and varied, and its food a magnificent reflection of this diversity. Thailand's location in the middle of Southest Asia has made it both a crossroad and a destination for a wide array of cultural and ethnic groups. Each group, whether transitory or permanent, has left an imprint on the country's ever changing cuisine.

The classic example is the chili pepper, probably the signature ingredient of Thai cooking. Native to the Americas, it was brought to Thailand long ago by Portuguese traders passing through the region. Groups that have migrated to Thailand and taken up residence have had a less incendiary

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