Better late than never; so before I could manage to take out time to write a full travelogue on Thailand and before my experiences get completely washed away from memory, thought of documenting the experiences of Thai food during my trip to Thailand with two of my best friends in January this year. Food is an integral part of a place and apart from everything else there is so much to write only about food we had during the trip.
With lots of Thai Spas and restaurants springing up in our localities for the past couple of years, Thai cuisine has gained quite a lot of popularity. Like many others I also had experienced Thai food in local Thai restaurants and gathered some basic idea of what Thai cuisine could be and all that I knew was exorbitant use of lemon, lemon grass, coconut and galangal (Thai ginger) giving each food a tangy taste and some a coconut flavour.
From our trip mainly to Bangkok in the heart of the coutry and Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi to the southern part, we got to experience two of the five cuisines of Thailand; i.e ‘Bangkok Cuisine‘ which has Vietnamese and western influence and ‘Southern Cuisine‘ which has Hainanese and Cantonese influence with flavour of coconut influenced by Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine.
So here’s my experience of Thai cuisine for foodies, non foodies, those who love to try and experiment with food, those who are planning a trip to Thailand and to those who can’t go there physically but just want to enjoy the food virtually.
This is a basic Thai prawn noodle served with a small bowl of peanut powder and garnished with lettuce and lemon grass. With prawn being the key element, there were some basic ingredients alongwith some Thai sauce, lemon grass and galangal. While we were struggling with the peanut powder bowl, unaware of it’s significance in the food; one of the waitresses came and told us to spread it over the noodles. We sprinkled the powder accordingly and yes the taste got enhanced. Noodle with peanut powder, turned out to be great.
Forgot the name of this so I named it as ‘fruit punch chicken‘. Never knew fruits can go so well with chicken. Apart from chicken, the bowl contains red apples, green apples, pineapples, cherry tomatoes cut into cubicle pieces; topped with some lemon grass, basil and tiny pieces galangal. When you take a spoon full of this combo into your mouth, the juicy, succulent chicken blends in with the fruit juices and the flavour of ginger and basil.
A street food stall in Phuket, serving fried pork and chicken.
Chicken phanaeng curry with Sticky rice, very basic Thai food at a restaurant in Phuket.
A regular Thai tea
Fried food in night street food market of Phuket.
Calamari fried in the night street food market of Phuket.
Plates full of fried food in the night street food market of Phuket. These have a variety of fishes, prawns, porks, squid, chicken, sea shells.
Variety of raw sea food can be selected from the row and you can get it fried in front of you, dip in a bowl of Thai sauce and experience hot and crispy sea food from street stalls in Phuket.
Lobsters dressed in salt and ice, waiting to get into someone’s stomach.
My plate of crispy fried prawn, fish and calamari.
Pineapple fried rice served in pineapple. The fried rice is very basic with beans, carrots, American corn, spring onions and some cashews and raisins but small pieces of pineapple makes it special. So this is highly recommended.
Squid in black pepper at a restaurant in Krabi. A very light, less spicy, healthy and tasty squid and vegetable curry.
Thai omelette. The egg was not of duck or chicken, not really sure which bird, but it tasted good.
Coconut icecream served in tender coconut in Krabi. This delicious dessert is a must have. This is available in small street side stalls as well as in big restaurants across the country.
A moderately elaborate Thai breakfast at our hotel in Krabi, consisting of porridge with a flavour of coconut, some boiled veggies, sausages, Thai omelette and Thai tea.
Thai milk iced tea. Milk iced tea could be this amazing, had no idea. It is sweet and refreshing with nice flavour of the tea.
‘Pla pon la mai‘ in Thai language. This is basically fruit salad with crispy fried snapper fish. The taste of red and green apples and pineapples, coated with a Thai tangy pickle balanced the bland crispy pieces of fish.
Fish cake with Thai red sauce. Some sea fish mashed and mixed with spices, shaped into small disc forms and baked in minimum oil. A very tasty and healthy snack.
Beef massaman curry. Massaman curry is a rich, relatively mild Thai curry. Not much used spices in Thai cuisine like Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves (Indian Garam Masala), star annis, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg and mace combined with some local ingredients like dried chilli peppers, cilantro seeds, lemongrass, galangal, white peppers, shrimp paste, shallot and garlic to make the massaman curry paste.
Prawn and pineapple roast. Steamed prawns in a gravy of pineapple.
Sea food noodles. Noodles with a wide variety of sea food and veggies.
Mango Sticky Rice. This is a must have in Thailand for those who are fond of mangoes in particular and for those who are fond of food in general. Available across the country this can be a main course as well as a dessert. Rice soaked in coconut milk served with scoops of mango with a topping of coconut cream and tiny pieces of fried coconut.
Green papaya salad with crab. Thid is quite prevalent and we had this in Bangkok. It tastes sour and is not highly recommended to those who don’t like sea food much as the crabs are just immersed into boiling water before serving alongside salad. Just the salad without any kind of sea food is also available.
Yummy coconut icecream served in coconut. A variety of toppings from peanuts, cherries, pieces of fried coconut and American sweet corn act as catalyst to the taste of this simple yet delicious dessert.
‘EAT TILL YOU DROP‘ was something we took very seriously and kept on eating and trying different types of Thai food. Even on our way back home, we tried some new food at the Don Mueang Airport (Bangkok).
Thai style Pork stew with rice at Airport food counter. A very light and healthy pork stew with aromas of galangal. The pork pieces were so soft that it melted in mouth.
Thai style Fish curry with rice. Crispy deep fried sea fish tossed in onion and some Thai sauce. It had a spicy, tangy taste.
Ending with this iced tea ice cream as dessert. This one was also good but nothing can beat coconut icecream.
Last but not the least:
crispy fried pupa.
I tasted at a shop of Chatuchak market in Bangkok. The shop and many other shops like this have a wide variety of fried insects of various flavours. I brought home a packet full of Schezwan flavoured crispy fried pupa.
This is only a part, there are lot of Thai food from other parts of Thailand yet to be experienced.
Courtesy: The Trip (Series), restaurants and street side food stalls of Thailand.
Inspiration: Best friends and food