A Taste of Thailand
Thai Food is such a universally loved cuisine - the mention of it alone is enough to make most peoples' mouths water. From the colorful spices, carefully extracted flavors and aromatic herbs, Thai food can translate to an exotic and adventurous cuisine to some, or a more basic, comfort food to others. The marriage of fresh ingredients results in complex yet harmonious flavors. Even for those of us who aren't adventurous foodies, Thai food offers a variety of options - from basic stir fries, delicious rice noodles, colorful curries, aromatic soups, and crispy fried fish, there is something tasty for everyone.
During our three weeks in Thailand, Vlad and I were lucky to try some of the freshest, most delicious Thai food ever. We ate out at restaurants, tried street eateries and carts, explored outdoor markets, and even tried our luck with boat kitchens. I admit that at first I was hesitant to have street food in Thailand, but I cautiously warmed up to the idea and started eating like the locals. After all, that's what one should be doing when traveling to foreign lands - immerse in the culture of the place and enjoy the ride. Lucky for both of us, we were very happy with our decision. Once we tried some of the more popular street cart food, we quickly realized how authentic and delicious it was, and became more adventurous with our choices every day. The food was so good in fact, that there was no point in going back to restaurants (unless there was a half hour wait at street vendors) - street cart meals quickly replaced all our other options, and we were very happy with this turn of events.
Below are some of our favorite or most interesting foods that we experienced during our three weeks in Thailand. Enjoy!
Pad Thai with shrimp at the private beach of our hotel was probably the best pad Thai we've ever had.
Tom Yum soup is one of my favorite Thai dishes.
Pad See Ew with Vegetables. As you can see from this photo, you are normally given a fork and a spoon and are supposed to use the fork to push the food onto the spoon and then raise then spoon to your mouth. That's actually easier than using a knife. I quickly mastered this new technique ;-).
Vlad's new favorite - Cashew Chicken.
Red curry with beef.
If you order "takeaway", expect plastic bags as containers. Papaya Salad, on the left, was our staple.
Small outdoor restaurant in Koh Samui where we ate almost every single lunch and dinner. It didn't even have a name. The food however, was extraordinary.
Typical street cart set up - motorcycle with a kitchen. I don't even know how they fit it all in and drive to this spot every day. It may not look clean but it was. Woks and pans were washed after each use and each meal was cooked separately. Some of the best food we ever had was from these type of street vendors.
Boat with a fully functioning kitchen at Phra Nang Beach.
Food shop carried on shoulders. This lady sold papaya salad which she prepared on the sidewalk.
Dishes at a market in Krabi Town. Normally dishes are prepared as ordered and pretty much from scratch. I am thinking these prepared meals were a Thai version of fast food.
Tiny eggs at a market in Bangkok looked very cute but not appealing enough for us to try them, especially on our second day in Asia when we were just getting used to eating food from street vendors.
Fish ball skewers. We also passed on those.
Seafood and meat at a street cart. Vlad indulged in some fried shrimp and grilled chicken.
Crabs and mussels.
Fish, squid and a snake like looking fish. Due to a language barrier I was not able to figure out what kind of fish this was. If you do, let us know!
Dried squid at a market in Bangkok. Obviously we got 3 lbs of it (just kidding!).
Produce, meat and fish market in Koh Samui.
Sample restaurant menu - two pages of Papaya Salad options!
Some menu options were a bit confusing. We skipped the Roast Barometer Earthstars.
Spicy chili lime fish sauce for times when your food is not fiery enough (very rare).
Famous Thai beer.
Fresh coconut juice is especially refreshing after a long day in the sun.
Dragon fruit looks even prettier when cut up. Unfortunately it has a very bland taste.
Coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell with some green rice and peanuts. It tasted amazingly delicious.
Unidentified Thai dessert.
Khanom Bueang are dessert "tacos" filled with fluffy marshmellow-like coconut creme. We tried one and it was delicious.
We found the Thai cupcake to be lighter than its American cousin. The Foi Thong topping tasted a bit like jasmine.
So how do you like your coffee? Black? No sugar? Guess what? Street vendors don't care. They will just pour an obscene amount of carnation milk into coffee, tea and even smoothies. If you want something close to traditional North American coffee you can try Starbucks for about $3.5 per cup of regular drip.
Carnation milk is a huge star in Thailand. Probably because it's easy to mix into liquids and doesn't get spoiled in the heat.
Snickers at supermarkets are much smaller than in North America.
Beans and corn yogurt? We skipped that too.
So which foods look the most appealing to you? Would you dare and try some of the more unusual ones like dried squid or bean yogurt?
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Just looking at your pics makes me wish I was there. Good for you for trying the local fare and food carts...always the best food, but some are dodgy looking. I can smell the dried squid just from looking at it...the markets aren't a smell you will ever forget. Your photography is great!
Yuuuummm, everyhing looks great!:)
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