The food is pushed by the fork, held in the left hand, into the spoon held in the right hand, which is then brought to the mouth. A traditional ceramic spoon is sometimes used for soup, and knives are not generally used at the table. It is common practice for the both the Thais and the hill tribe peoples who live in north and northeast Thailand, to use sticky rice as an edible implement by shaping it into small, and sometimes flattened, balls by hand (and only the right hand by custom) which are then dipped into side dishes and eaten. Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand while seated on mats or carpets on the floor, customs still found in the more traditional households. The dishes are all served at the same time, including the soups, and it is also customary to provide more dishes than there are guests at a table. In Latin America, dishes may be claimed or designated as a "plato nacional" although in many cases recipes transcend national borders with only minor variations. Cucumber is sometimes eaten to cool the mouth with particularly spicy dishes. The dishes are all served at the same time, including the soups, and it is also customary to provide more dishes than there are guests at a table. In 2011, seven of Thai's popular dishes make it to the list of 'World's 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers' Pick)' — a worldwide online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International. They are tom yam goong (4th), pad thai (5th), som tam (6th), massaman curry (10th), green curry (19th), Thai fried rice (24th) and moo nam tok (36th). One type, which is indigenous to Thailand, is the highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice (khao hom mali). Western influences, starting in 1511 CE when the first diplomatic mission from the Portuguese arrived at the court of Ayutthaya, have created dishes such as foi thong, the Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos, and sangkhaya, where coconut milk replaces unavailable cow's milk in making a custard. These dishes were said to have been brought to Thailand in the 17th century by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, a woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali ancestry who was born in Ayutthaya, and became the wife of Constantine Phaulkon, the Greek adviser of King Narai. As in many other rice eating cultures, to say "eat rice" (in Thai "kin khao"; pronounced as "gin cow") means to eat food. We think of all parts of the meal as a whole - sum rap Thai (the way Thais eat), is the term we use for the unique components that make up a characteristically Thai meal. Like a complex musical chord it's got to have a smooth surface but it doesn't matter what's happening underneath. This made Thai as the cooking tradition with most dish that successfully made it to the list. Thailand has about the same land area as Spain and a length of approximately 1650 kilometers or 1025 miles (Italy, in comparison, is about 1250 kilometers or 775 miles long), with foothills of the Himalayas in the north, a high plateau in the northeast, a verdant river basin in the center, and tropical rainforests and islands in the south. Janer (2008) observes that this sharing of the same plato nacional by different countries calls into question the idea that every country has a unique national dish that is special to that country; she states that cuisine does not respect national and geopolitical borders. Another unpolished grain, black sticky rice has a rich nutty flavor that is most often enjoyed in desserts. "rice curry"). A Thai family meal would normally consist of rice with several dishes which should form a harmonious contrast of flavors and textures as well as preparation methods. Another unpolished grain, black sticky rice has a rich nutty flavor that is most often enjoyed in desserts.
Cuisines evolve continually, and new cuisines are created by innovation and cultural interaction. One recent example is fusion cuisine, which combines elements of various culinary traditions while not being categorized per any one cuisine style, and generally refers to the innovations in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s. Nouvelle cuisine (New cuisine) is an approach to cooking and food presentation in French cuisine that was popularized in the 1960s by the food critics Henri Gault, who invented the phrase, and his colleagues André Gayot and Christian Millau in a new restaurant guide, the Gault-Millau, or Le Nouveau Guide.