The first time I visited Thailand back in 2015, I fell in love with the rich culture, smiling people, and fantastic food. Local foods to try in Thailand
Forget about the Thai food you’ve eaten in Thai restaurants in Europe, America, or any other Western country: the authentic Thai food is the one they cook in the streets of Bangkok or on some island off the coasts of Thailand.
Thai cuisine and Thailand’s neighbors’ culinary traditions, like India, Malaysia & Indonesia, have mutually influenced one another for many centuries, hence its incredible complexity. local foods to try in Thailand
Moreover, traditional Thai cuisine basically falls into four categories: tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), and gaeng (curries).
Curious to know more?
Keep reading for the 6 local foods you need to try in Thailand!
TOM YUM (or Tom Yam) local foods to try in Thailand
Tom Yum literally means “boiled mixture”: Tom refers to the boiling process, while yam means ‘mixed.’ Tom Yum is a mixture of hot and sour flavors, with aromatic spices and herbs and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, lime leaves and juice, fish sauce, and red chili peppers. Moreover, it usually includes shrimps.
Warning: Tom Yum can be extremely spicy, so be careful when ordering it.
Pad Thai is probably the most famous Thai dish usually served as street food and in most restaurants in Thailand. It typically includes rice noodles and chicken, beef, shrimps or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and other vegetables. All the ingredients are sautéed together in a wok pan and tossed in pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.
SOM TAM (Green Papaya Salad) local foods to try in Thailand
Don’t be fooled by the name: Som Tam is probably one of the most spicy food you’ll ever have with literally nothing reminding you of the sweet papaya. Som Tam is, in fact, a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. Also, the dish blends the five tastes of the Thai cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, savory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar plus garlic, dried shrimps, tomatoes etc.
KAENG KHIAO WAN
Literally “sweet-green curry”, it includes a main protein, such as fish or meat, plus coconut milk, green curry paste, palm sugar. Fish sauce and green vegetables like Thai eggplant, pea aubergine, and basil leaves are also typical ingredients.
The consistency of its sauce varies with the amount of coconut milk used.
Warning: “sweet” is not related to the flavor but to the green color of the dish.
Another local food to try in Thailand is Thai fried rice, which differs from Chinese fried rice due to the use of Jasmine rice instead of long-grain rice.
Usually, it contains a protein like chicken, shrimps or crab mixed with eggs, onions and, in some places, basil, coconut or pineapple. local foods to try in Thailand
MANGO STICKY RICE
One of my favorite traditional Thai desserts ever, made up of sticky rice cooked in sweetened coconut milk, and served with slices of ripe mango: it’s a real treat.
So, which Thai dishes would you try?
Let me know in the comments!
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