My god that Thai food is good!! So good. It’s not a surprise if it’s famous all over the world.
Sometimes I miss so much that I dream of going to Bangkok just for a week, get some good food, and come back.
It’s a cuisine of a thousand flavors, rich in coriander, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, and other exotic spices. Prepare your taste buds to be surprised and impressed. This food even gave me my first culinary orgasms, just saying…
1 – Thai food is a Street Food
I insist on eating street food, even if it’s scary when you have European habits. I admit that I myself, on my first trip, I was extremely reluctant to eat in the streets, convinced that I was going to catch leprosy, scab and scarlet fever at the same time. I needed my little comfort. But what an error! Once I dared to experience it, I only had good suprises. Since, it is impossible to make me eat elsewhere than in a bouiboui when I travel.
In fact, one must understand that street food is something of a cultural thing in Asia. Most people do not even cook at home, or they do not have time to cook. That’s why there is this “street food” culture, accessible at any time, day or night, at a ridiculous price, and served in less than 5 minutes. The turnover of these bouibouis is such that no food is ever thrown away. Everything is consumed very quickly, every day, and by locals. If the food was not good, the locals, who are their main customers, would not come back. With a bit of luck, the Thais sitting at the next table will speak English. In this case, they will start the conversation with you, which will allow you to hit it off with the locals.
If you are really scared, then go to a tourist restaurant. But you will pay 4 times the price for the same dish as you would on the street, it will be less good, and the risk of spoiled food will be greater, cause tourists are not regular customers.
2 – The main Thai dishes
Here are some of my favorite dishes that I recommend :
– pad see you: sautéed rice noodles, with meat (chicken or beef)
– khao pad: sautéed rice, with shrimp or chicken
– tom yum: lemongrass soup, with shrimp or chicken. It’s very spicy!
– tom ka: coconut soup, with shrimp or chicken. Very spicy too.
– som tam: papaya salad. Usually with shrimp or crab. It is very spicy.
– chicken rice: it’s the equivalent of boiled chicken. It’s rice cooked in chicken broth, with chicken and a bowl of broth.
– Kaprao kai or kaprao meua: basil chicken or beef. It’s pretty spicy.
Contrary to popular belief, here people eat with spoons. The fork is only used to put the food onto the spoon. Thanks to the spoon, it’s easier to enjoy dishes with sauce, like curry. Chop sticks are used only for noodle dishes, or noodle soups.
If you have at least two at the table, the principle is to order several dishes and to share. Everyone receives and empty plate, and all the dishes are placed in the middle of the table. There is no concept of appetizer or main course, so don’t be surprised if your dumplings arrive after your curry.
If you are brave, try ants eggs, cockroaches, or other weird things.
3 – Attention, Thai food is very spicy
The only problem with this cuisine is that it can be very spicy… bastards! Even when you are used to spicy food, thai food is too much spicy. For men, a hemorrhoid crisis is never far away.
It has even become a national health problem. Many Thais have ulcers and other stomach problems from eating too much spicy food.
For you, as a tourist, there is only one solution: MAI PHET! It means “not spicy”. Learn this word by heart, and repeat it several times every time you order, even if you’re laughing at it. Because for them, not adding spice is like not adding salt for us… we always add a little anyway. So it is better to insist, and add the spices you want by yourself, as there will always be various spices on the table, rather than not saying anything, and not being able to finish your dish. I have experienced this many times, and unfortunately I had to leave my dish unfinished.
4 – Thai Dessert
Desserts are not an Asian specialty in general. At the end of the day, nothing compares to our French pastries. Nevertheless, there are exotic fruits to buy everywhere on the street. They even cut them up for you to make your life easier.
There are also desserts based on tapioca, coconut and red beans. It’s very gelatinous and sweet. It’s not for everyone. In the south, I’ve discovered dodol. It’s like a caramel, with less sugar, and a flavor (banana, sesame, etc). Careful, it’s easy to become addicted.
Rotee, on the other hand, is something most people will love. These are Indian pancakes, often made with banana and chocolate, but you can also order them with sugar or jam, like French crepes.
5 – Drink side
With temperatures soaring in this country, one quickly gets a taste for cold tea, be it green tea with matcha, or orange tea (traditional tea). Then there are the 7/11s, where you’ll find a whole lot of other honey teas, or aloe vera drinks. In the street, stands sell fresh fruit juice for a few cents. So do not deprive yourself, and enjoy yourself.
About beer, you have to try the national Singha.