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Please explain Thai Curries to me

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Another thread reminded me of my confusion every time we have dinner at a Thai Restaurant. We love all cuisines, love spicy food, are adventurous eaters, and like to be knowledgeable about the cuisines we eat. But when faced with Red, Green, Massaman (or Musaman), and Penang curry on a menu we are completely in the dark about the difference between them. I plan on doing a taste test one day by getting one dish of each from the local Thai, but suspect that even after tasting all at the same time I'll still be just as clueless about the differences, only I might have ID'd a favorite.

Please enlighten me!

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  1. That's an easy question, but a difficult one to answer!
    It's like asking someone to explain stews to you, as that is basically what most curries are.
    Almost all Thai curries are based on a curry paste and the type of paste decides the curry.
    For instance, a red curry can be made with beef, chicken, prawns etc
    Recently I came across this link that might explain things in a fairly simple way

    http://sedimentality.com/2011/01/18/u...

    Another thing you could do is to buy a thai cook book and check the differences in the curry pastes