You already know that we love everything Asian… There’s not a week that goes by without Vietnamese soups or sandwiches, without Thai noodles or Chinese dishes. We could eat them forever and we would never get bored… Almost 🙂 Łukasz definitely loves what’s Vietnamese more, I am a worshipper of everything Thai. Yes, yes, when we decided to spend three weeks in Thailand, my jumping up and down of joy happened because of the cuisine too. I could see tons of mangos, pad thais and hectolitres of coconut water that I would eat since dawn till twilight in my head. On our arrival it turned out that I didn’t only love classics. I also fell in love with dishes I had never eaten before! 25 days is enough to eat a place. Here’s the list of dishes you need to try in Thailand!
1) PAD THAI
It doesn’t need introduction. Who doesn’t know it? The most important Thai dish available always in every single Thai bar. Fried noodles with chicken or shrimps, with eggs, tofu, sprouts, peanuts or lime. This time we realized that you can add various things to pad thai. Some people choose carrot stripes or they choose Chinese cabbage instead of sprouts. The characteristic sugary taste of pad thai that Maks loves exists because of tamarind sauce.
Classical pad thai is usually the opposite of spicy. So called dry chili is served on the side, so that you can decide how spicy you want it. Sometimes they add a small amount of chili automatically, though. Make sure you don’t give it to your child. Our pad thai fan, the enemy of vegetables, ate the “no vegetables, just noodles, eggs and chicken” version of it almost everyday. If you’re on Ko Lipe, try pad thai in Gong’s Sunrise Beach Restaurant – it looks different than the one we’re used to, but it tastes great!
You’ll pay 40-50 TBH (5-6 PLN) for pad thai in the streets. It’s about 100-150 TBH in restaurants.
Chicken satay is a dish we feeded Maks in Thailand when he was 1,5 or 2,5 years old. Small chicken shishkebabs with nut sauce (sometimes it’s spicy, so you need to taste it before giving it to children). We like to order it as an appetizer sometimes, but it’s usually something we pick for a kid.
3) SPRING ROLLS
Thai spring rolls are different from the Vietnamese ones, mostly because of the dough. Thai dough is more like a strongly fried pancake dough. There are usually some vegetables inside and a sauce on the side. It’s usually sweet chili or sugary plum sauce. Perfect side-dish if you’re drinking beer!
4) THAI FISH CAKES
Very aromatic fish cakes we memorized after our first trip to Chiang Rai. They’re delicate, and their taste says: you’re in Thailand. They’re perfect with spicy sauce.
Unfortunately, there weren’t many places where they could be found. We ate them in the street of Saladan and at Gong’s on Ko Lipe.
5) SOM TAM AKA GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
This year’s discovery of mine, this year’s love of mine. It’s strange I’d never tried it before. Papaya salad is addictive – its spicy taste makes you reach for water, coconut or ice tea and say: “So spicy!”. But then you go back to eating it again. I love the mixture of spiciness, papaya’s freshness and crispy peanuts. Papaya, tomato, carrot, crispy green peas with lime sauce, fish sauce and chili. Perfection!
Sometimes it’s served with tiny dry shrimps. Sometimes it’s served with big, cooked ones. Sometimes it’s just peanuts, sometimes it’s cashew nuts, like in Thanya Beach Resort on Ko Ngai.
6) TOM KHA GAI
I can say with no doubt that according to Łukasz, this is the best Thai soup. Lots of coconut milk, chicken and a whole lot of aromatic Thai additives such as lemon grass, galangal, chili, fish sauce, kaffir, cilantro. A must eat!
7) TOM YUM KUNG
It’s definitely my type. Spicy, sour, with a lot of herbs and additives again. Usually with shrimps (kung), but often you can choose a chicken version. It’s often served in a characteristic heat dish, so that you can fill your bowl with what’s inside yourself. Another addictive dish!
8) CURRY – GREEN, RED, YELLOW
During our first trip to Thailand in 2012, I never even touched curry. I felt like it wasn’t my type. Now I love it! It’s creamy, coconut milk based, and yet it’s aromatic and spicy. Green curry is usually the spiciest. You can decide whether you want one with chicken, beef or pork, sometimes you can choose shrimps of seafood too. What’s interesting is that I haven’t seen curry with tofu, which is something I eat in Poland, not even once.
Thai curry is more like a soup. It’s served in a bowl and you add rice to it. You can often see kaffir lime leaves, small pieces of bamboo or tiny, green Thai eggplants in it.
9) PANANG CURRY (Phanaeng Curry)
This year’s second love of mine. Velvety, full of taste, with a delicate nut flavor. I love it! We ate it in a few places and it was always different when it comes to its taste and color. I fell in love with it at our hotel on Ko Pha Ngan, and then I decided I loved it forever on Ko Lipe.
10) MASSAMAN CURRY
Out of all Thai currys, this is the most surprising one. Why? Because, right next to meat, there are pieces of POTATOES in its aromatic sauce that tastes a little bit Indian. Massaman curry has its roots in Persia, India and Malaysian, which is why its taste is so different and atypical. Amongst basic ingredients, it has cinnamon, cardamon and anise. It appears on CNN’s World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods list. You need to try it!
11) PAD SEE EW / PAD KEE MAO
Pad see ew and pad kee mao are another versions of fried noodles with toppings. I love fried noodles, so I love both of them! Soy sauce is the most important condiment of pad see ew, and of pad kee mao – chili and Thai basile. I love it with flat noodles – big rice dollops of specific consitency. I always regret they’re not available in Warsaw.
When it comes to fried noodles, you will come across chicken or vegetable fried rice too. Sometimes it’s served in a pineapple half. Fried rice was Maks’s number one choice when he was younger. Now he prefers pad thai.
12) MANGO STICKY RICE
It’s number 12 only because it’s a dessert. I can’t imagine visiting Thailand without mango sticky rice! It tastes perfect in Bangkok’s streets, where you get a small box with sticky rice, ripe, slices mango and a bag of coconut milk. You can get it in many restaurants and bars too. Its simplicity and taste are awesome. Recently, we’ve witnessed our friends eat it for the first time. It was their last day in Thailand, so the only thing they said was: “hey, why didn’t we try it before??”.
13) COCONUT WATER
You just have to try it. We love it and think it’s the best beverage on hot days, on the beach or when you’re walking through the streets of Bangkok. It’s usually about 50 THB (6-7 PLN), but if you’re in a restaurant, it can be even 100. If you like it, drink as much as possible – coconut water is veeeery healthy (natural electrolytes, natural isotonic).
14) THAI PANCAKE / ROTI
Thai Pancake stalls were everywhere – on Ko Lipe, on Ko Lanta. Even on Ko Samui, there was a guy with Thai pancakes by our homy restaurant aside. Comfortable snack – tastes best with a banana or mango, but you can also get one with Nutella, peanut butter or even with green curry 😉
15) STREET FOOD
Thailand is famous for its street food which can be eaten everywhere. Sometimes it’s noodles, sometimes it’s soups in a bag or a whole lot of small shishkebabs that you get on the run. But remember, that even if you’re in Thailand, be reasonable 😉
16) FRUIT SHAKE
I love Thailand for their many fresh fruit juices and shakes. They’re in the streets, at bazaars and in the restaurant you choose to eat dinner at. Mango shakes are always good, just like pineapple juice! 🙂
17) SINGHA AND CHANG
You have to drink it with pad thai… unless you’re breastfeeding. Then you’re left with…
18) ICED TEA OR… THAI ICED TEA
I love Thailand for their iced teas! I love it even more now when I can’t have a cold, refreshing beer with my lunch and I can’t drink alcohol during long evenings spend by the beach. In most places we chose to eat at, iced tea could be ordered – sometimes it was based on green tea, sometimes it was black with a lot of ice and lime. Thai Iced Tea is also great, althought I think of it more of like a dessert than a beverage – it’s sweet and milky.
19) THAI SALADS
Sauces are the most important ingredients of Thai salads, just like of papaya salad. They’re spicy, addictive, they make your mouth burn, and yet you still want to lick the plate. In the picture you can see a salad with squids, cucumber and a lot of herbs… it was so good!!!
20) AND A LOT OF DELICIOUS THINGS WE DIDN’T EAT OR DIDN’T MANAGE TO TAKE PICTURES OF 🙂
One of these things was chicken with cashew nuts that I used to eat all the time but got bored of… or minced meat (pad gra pao) with Thai basile and chili – it was hot as hell. We ate it on Ko Rawi, where there’s nothing besides a “restaurant” – a hut offering just a few dishes… I think it’s difficult to get it in Poland, so write it on your list…
I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry… 🙂 And I already miss it!!!