A Thai man sells corn on the cob on Ao Nang Beach in Krabi, Thailand.
Thailand is definitely a food-oriented culture. I hadn’t even landed in Thailand yet when a Thai woman on the airplane offered me her cookies. I initially refused, but the insistent look on her face told me I had better take those cookies, or else. When I accepted them, she then offered her crackers. The more I accepted, the more she gave, and then I realized that in Thailand, food is a way to say welcome, hello, thank you, and I’m sorry. Not so different than the culture I was brought up in! There’s no possible way anybody could capture ALL of the food of Thailand, but I wanted to share with you some of my favorites.
This was my favorite mango sticky rice, ironically served in the Bangkok Airport! Mango sticky rice is sweetened rice with condensed milk, topped with crunchy fried mung bean kernels.
The best fried rice I ate in Thailand was at the Shew Ewana Boutique Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Their fried rice is not like “Chinese” fried rice, because Thai fried rice is seasoned with lemon grass, ginger, pepper, chili powder and galanga. Filled with fresh vegetables and topped with an over easy egg. Easily one of the best meals I ate in two weeks!
At a local market, you could buy grilled fish and pre-made salads. This is not unlike a deli you’d find at one of our grocery stores… just with much better prices!
This breakfast was FREE for me at the Shew Ewana Boutique hotel in Chiang Mai. Mango pancakes didn’t even need syrup, and the fresh fruit salad, packed with passion fruit, papaya, mango and watermelon, was a perfect sweet “pick me up” to start my day. I miss it!
A Thai street vendor preparing our meals for the night. It’s not uncommon for Thai food vendors to use buckets, basket and basically anything but cooking utensils to make your meal!
I averaged at least one fresh coconut a day! They were so refreshing and delicious, and packed with electrolytes. While coconut juice is not calorie free, it’s a great alternative to “vitamin waters” or other juices because it’s relatively low in sugar.
Have you ever tried a mangosteen or a rambutan? I am holding a mangosteen, which you crack open to reveal a juicy, pod -like fruit. The rambutan is the hairy red and green thing, which you peel.
Matt and I with our $2 dinner! We “Dressed” the pad thai ourselves, covering it with roasted peanuts, powdered chili flakes and a tiny sprinkle of golden palm sugar.
We had this coconut ice cream on our last night in Bangkok. It was (no exaggerating) one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life!
Thai people aren’t nearly as skittish as Americans about legs, feet, eyeballs and head. See how that chicken thigh has its foot still attached?! Thai people also eat smoked/grilled eggs!
A Thai street vendor prepares Pad Thai for tourists!
Fruit stands are all over Thailand, with most vendors selling young coconuts with sweet, fresh juice for 30 baht (about $1). You can also buy pre-sliced pineapple, papaya and watermelon, or make a fresh fruit shake, often served with a pinch of salt to regulate body temperatures.
My dear reader Lauren asked on Facebook yesterday if I ended up eating a bug. The short answer is NO – not because I didn’t want to, but because we never saw any for sale!!! The only bug we saw for sale was a SCORPION, which I had decided beforehand not to eat because their venom can cause allergic reactions in people with certain allergies. Since I’m allergic to life in general, I decided I’d rather not take that risk in a foreign country. Sadly, I did not get to eat a bug, but I did get to eat LOTS of other yummy things!
Which one of these foods would you like to try most?