Sure, our main inspo to visit Thailand might have had something to do with a younger Leo and a beach but when we visited the Beach for ourselves, we couldn’t help but think… how were they so happy on a diet of fish and rice when there are street food carts and steaming bowls of Thai meals on every street corner?! We’d be crying into our pillows each night; Leo or no Leo (bold statement).
So, here’s fifteen Thai dishes we couldn’t travel without…
1. Khao Soi
Creamy, spicy chicken curry? Check. Oodles of soft noodles? Check! Top it off with shallots, pickles, chilli and more (this time crispy) noodles and you’re onto a winner.
2. Som Tam (papaya salad)
Southeast Asia’s staple salad is made from thin strips of green papaya drowned in lime juice, red chilli, fish sauce and even sugar. Stop by a street cart and watch as the vendor shaves you a portion before sprinkling it with peanuts. Best enjoyed from a banana leaf!
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3. Massaman curry
Did you know there’s more than just green and red Thai curry? Those two are delicious enough but how about a beef, potato and peanut curry with cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg? Talk about spicy!
4. Pad Kra Pao
Move over Gino D’Acampo, we want Thai basil, not Italian! Translating as ‘basil stir-fry’, this dish incorporates ground chicken or pork, rice, chilli, garlic, soy, oyster and fish sauce and handfuls of sweet, fragrant Thai holy basil leaves. Best served with a fried egg on top, there’s no brunch or lunch more satisfying.
5. Ton Yum soup
This sweet and sour noodle soup is one you can find anywhere. It’s usually served plain with a side of chillies, ground peanuts and sometimes even sugar so you can go wild building your own flavour profile. Add fresh, meaty prawns, mushrooms and whatever else tickles your pickle, and you’re onto some pretty tasty, comforting broth.
6. Hor Mok curry
‘Amok’ refers to cooking, and often (but not always) serving curry in either a hollowed-out coconut or wrapped in banana leaves. Tender, sweet and often loaded with fresh seafood and piles of shaved coconut, save this one for a special occasion or a regular day, we won’t judge.
7. Bamee bpet yang
So, you’re a sucker for the duck when you head to a Chinese restaurant? We hear you. And so, it seems, are the Thais. Wander around any Bangkok market and you’re bound to come across a stand serving up this satisfying dish made up of honey-glazed roasted duck breast and egg noodles, served with a hearty portion of gravy. Yum.
8. Pad pak bung fai daeng (morning glory)
We love an innuendo and so does Thailand. The perfect side dish to any meal, this green veggie is best when drowned in soy, garlic and those ever-present Thai red chillies.
9. Gai pad pongali
This is a curry with a difference – an egg is cracked and scrambled into the curry before serving, giving it a chunky texture, which gives twice as much flavour as the norm.
Moo Satay or Khao Neow Moo Ping… chicken, beef, spicy pork, scorpion, yano whatever… Whatever your meat of choice, you’ll never be far away from delicious morsels sizzling on an open grill. A snack we can get behind, load up on these in-between big feeds.
11. Pad kee mao sen yai (drunken noodles)
‘Pad Kee Mao Sen Yai’ translates to ‘drunken noodles’. Sounds fun, right? They are. Loaded with soy, garlic, fish sauce, sweet basil, chilli and just about every other Thai flavour going, they’re a perfect taste sensation even after a few too many Changs…
12. Pink broth
One for the wannabe unicorns, Yen ta fo is a highly Instagrammable rice noodle soup which is coloured pink with fermented bean curd.
13. Thai pancakes
Not heard of banana pancakes? You won’t be able to escape them in Thailand. There’s no dessert more satisfying than a hot, griddled, squishy banana, melted chocolate, fruit and coconut, you’ll end up eating these for most desserts. And breakfasts. And probably lunch too…
14. Kluay tod
Deep-fried. Battered. Banana. Hot, sweet and crunchy on the outside, and melt-in-the-middle within, these snacks cost mere cents, so keep your eyes peeled (pun unintentional) for these babies.
15. Mango sticky rice
Rice puddings’ exotic cousin, Thai sticky rice has a slightly dried texture making it easy to pull apart using your hands. And who doesn’t love literally diving into their food!? Generous helpings of coconut cream and sticky mango make it all the more appe-thai-sing.
If you read this blog pre-meal, we feel for ya. But, what better way than satisfying those hunger pangs for tastes of the east by booking a one-way ticket to Thailand? When you’re out there, don’t forget to get an iconic 7-Eleven toastie. They will save your life. Seriously.