You guys, I have to tell you all about the food in Thailand. Everyone knows Thai food is amazing, but did it really live up to hype? Was pad thai and panang curry really that great? The answer is yes, to all of it. Hell yes.
You know I love food. No, really, I LOVE food… I seek out local specialties everywhere we go, and of course Thailand was no exception. The street food in Thailand is life-changing. You can get so much flavor for so quick and cheap. Here is just in glimpse into all of the amazing flavors Thai food has to offer.
Som Tam and Tom Kha Gai
The green papaya salad (som tam) was so refreshing, spicy, salty and sour – a perfect blend of fresh Thai tastes. The coconut soup (tom kha gai), was so creamy with hints of fish sauce, lemongrass and ginger. I absolutely loved the oyster mushrooms in it. The two pictured above are dishes I made in our Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai.
Khao soi and gac fruit
Khao soi is a northern Thai curry-like specialty we had in Chiang Mai. It was spicy and creamy with egg noodles. The fried noodles on top gave it a texture element that made me wonder how this dish isn’t popular at home. Pictured above is from Brown Rice Organic Cafe, a delicious vegetarian restaurant found inside the moat. I chose to have mine with fresh pineapple/gac fruit juice.
The local gac fruit, which is supposedly a superfood, was sour and sweet. Apparently it has a very short harvest season, so we had perfect timing!
The banana pancake guy was set up every evening outside of the 7/11 on Koh Tao. There was always a line, but it was worth the wait. He had a plastic container of pre-made dough balls that he would stretch so thin you could almost see through them. They were cooked on one side with banana in the middle, then folded and flipped. He topped it off with whatever add-ons you chose along with some sweetened condensed milk. My favorite was the classic nutella banana.
Coconut was abundant all over Thailand, and I love coconut! From a fresh, just cracked open coconut to sweetened coconut water, to coconut smoothies. I ate it all, and it was delicious. The “smoothie” above was on Koh Samui, and it might have had a bit of rum in it.
Coconut pancakes – Kanom Kluk
Did I mention yet that everything coconut is amazing? These were crispy nuggets of awesomeness with a creamy center made out of coconut milk and coconut flour. Oh. My. God. You have to try these. Sometimes they put corn, or chives in it, but I liked them just plain and piping hot off the giant grill. These were among of favorite street food in Bangkok.
Spicy pork (Pad Ka Prao)
Another street food favorite, it was filling and so satisfying. This particular verison was served street-side for about $1 just outside of the busy Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. I’m a sucker for a fried egg, so I splurged the 10 Baht extra this time and it was well worth it for this Bangkok cuisine. Get our pad ka prao recipe here.
Oh, the pad thai. Our favorite was right down the street from our B&B. The woman was so sweet, and for 35 Baht, it was so good we each had 2 one night. The atmosphere, being tucked away on a little side street in Bangkok was also perfect.
It was cooked to perfection, wrapped in an egg crust that was similar to an omelette. I would go back to Bangkok just for the this dish (even though there are plenty of other reasons).
These are the famous, much talked about smoothies in Chiang Mai. Mrs. Pa can be found right otuside of the old city gate. We had her smoothies several nights in a row as a healthy dessert alternative and they did not disappoint. We had her whip us up whatever concoction was her “special” of the night for 20 Baht (about $0.60). Even our unsweetened version was terrific! Fruit and smoothies are abundant in Thailand, and it was nice to get some “real” food on vacation.
Mango Sticky Rice
I saved the best for last… mango sticky rice! I ate it every change I got… and at 30 Baht for a large serving on the streets, how could you not?! It was creamy, sweet, sticky and had little crunchy bits on the top for some texture. Pictured above was our first dinner in Chiang Mai at the sunday night market. Pad Thai, with sweetened coconut water to drink and mango sticky rice for dessert… perfect!
Not pictured (fail on my part) was the Thai iced coffee. We had it several times, and it is strong, creamy and delicious. Word to the wise – don’t drink one with lunch right before you go in for a Thai massage.
I’m sure we will have to update this post when we go to Thailand again. This country has so much to offer, I can’t wait to go back! Obviously, the food in Thailand was phenomenal, but we avoided all the weird stuff you can get. Even simple (yet complex) dishes like pad Thai is so much better in person (especially the streed food version). You’ve got to head to Thailand soon, and eat your way through this amazing country!
Looking for everything else we did in Thailand? Check out our Thailand Roundup!
Have you been to Thailand? What were your favorite foods?