Food & Cuisine in Thailand
With the Thais, food is almost a religion and not surprisingly, Thailand restaurants are particularly famed for their scrumptious and rather inexpensive food, and Thai cuisine has always been reputed for its subtle flavours and fresh ingredients.
There are many Western and Asian cuisine options, so you are sure to find something that appeals to your palate and purse. And for those in-between times, there's an assortment of delectable little titbits to choose from. Barbecue chicken, sticky rice, banana fritters, and luscious tropical fruit - whatever the time of day, there's always some delicious goodie to appease those hunger pangs!
Thailand is reputed for its tempting array of street fare. But don't worry if that is not your cup of tea. Most restaurants offer traditional Thai food, so you are not likely to miss out on Thai cuisine by not eating on the streets.
Local Thai food
The local food brings together the best of Chinese, Malay and Thai cuisines and differs hugely around the country.
Khanom Chin: a favourite breakfast with the locals, Khanom Chin consists of rice noodles, served in a curry soup of shrimps or minced fish. It can also be eaten with beef or chicken curry. Though Khanom Chin is readily available all over Thailand, the Phuket version is reputed for its richer flavours and generous helpings of fresh vegetables.
Noodles: Phuket specialises in two types of fried noodles. The Mi Hun or Mi Hokkian (amoy noodles) is a delicious concoction of noodles fried with bits of pork, shrimps, green cabbage and shellfish, while the Mi Sapam, originally from the Sapam village, is served with a topping of seafood and gravy.
Ho Mok: Usually eaten with steamed rice, Ho Mok is a steamed fish curry with vegetables. Crab or any other type of seafood can also be used. The ingredients are steamed in either a foil container or banana leaves.
Curry: Most foreigners associate Thai curry with chicken and beef. Instead, if you are in Phuket, you should try the Kaeng Luang. A curry made with fish and vegetables, it is a favourite southern dish, in spite of its rather sour tang.
Namphrik Kung Siap: Sweetened crisp shrimps served with spicy shrimp paste and fresh vegetables, this is one Phuket specialty that you'll love.
Tao So: A small type of moon cake, the Tao So is an extremely popular Phuket speciality, and is often carried home by tourists.
Cashew nuts: Phuket abounds in cashew nuts and the various types of delicious cashew snacks are a testimony to the boundless imagination of the Thais when it comes to food. Salted and roasted cashew nuts, garlic-flavoured cashew nuts, cashew nuts coated with honey and chocolate are some of the most popular types.
Food & cuisine in Bangkok
If you are yearning for a bite, be it day or night, you will always be able to make your wishes come true because there are so many places to eat in Bangkok. Travel from cheap but quality cuisine at food courts, tradition Thai dining in antique teak houses, eateries by the riverside, dinner cruises, trendy restaurants, to food markets. And if it is fast food you want, you will find all the big brand restaurant chains like MacDonald's here. Make sure to ask your Bangkok hotel for food recommendations near your Bangkok accommodation.
One of the many reasons tourists flock to Thailand is its cuisine. Not just because it is cheap but because it has a distinctive flavours you cannot get anywhere else in the world. In fact, many consider the fine culinary experience Thailand offers as unparalleled. To the Thais, food is as much a part of their culture as Thai massage, kick-boxing, tuk-tuks, and monks in saffron robes. Which is why, in Bangkok, you are never far from food; almost every street corner has a food cart, many Bangkok accommodation have restaurants, there are eateries on the pavements, and even on the most insignificant streets. Everywhere you go in this sprawling metropolis of over ten million people, delicious aromas follow you.
But there is more to Thai food and cuisine than the green, red, and yellow curries the West is familiar with. To begin with, there is an unbelievable variety to choose from and no part of anything edible is ever wasted. Do not be surprised if you come across some really bizarre dishes such as boiled chicken feet or deep-fried water roaches, grilled and skewered 'Parson's Noses' (chicken rear ends), or even pork intestines in a broth. Thai food is delicious, exotic, and made with various fresh herbs and spices like sweet basil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and always, chillies - lots of chillies. You might get to taste preparations that are so spicy-hot that they will make your eyes and nose run, but not all Thai dishes are that spicy. Besides, Bangkok restaurants usually keep in mind that you are a foreigner when they prepare food for you.
Thailand offers an unrivalled culinary adventure, so make sure you are ready for new and un-tasted experiences when eating out in Bangkok while on your Bangkok travel holiday. You might be tempted to learn some Thai style cooking yourself. Not the sort you come across back home, but the authentic kind. And there is a way you can capture the real flavours of Thai food and cuisine -- take a one or two-day cooking class or a foodies walking tours of Bangkok.
Bangkok dinner shows
For a glimpse of Thailand's cultural heritage, attend a classical Thai dance show which comes with a Thai dinner served in the traditional manner. You will find a lot of other tourists at these shows, but the dancing is worth seeing. While some Thai dancing is very elaborate with mesmerising slow movements, Thai folk dancing has a lively rhythm.
Food and Cuisine in Koh Samui Thailand
The Koh Samui lifestyle is a laid back one, with little fuss. The cuisine too is simple and includes ingredients that can be obtained easily and locally. Seafood is a natural favourite, with octopus and sea urchin eggs being popular seafood ingredients. During high season, however, the demand is often too high to be fulfilled by the local supply alone.
Other popular and local ingredients are fresh herbs, a local seaweed, and of course, plenty of coconuts. Tasty coconuts are available everywhere in Samui.
International restaurants are quite easy to find on the larger Koh Samui beach areas - they are often owned by Thai-farang couples. Bophut is reputed to have excellent international restaurants.
Samui Local Delicacies
Yam khai men is a salad of sea urchin roe, and Tom som waay is a sour soup made of waay, a small octopus found offshore. Both these local specialties go well with Khao man thua khiaow, which is a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with dried beans and salt.
A fresh seaweed dish is another local favourite. Seaweed is known as saraay khor and it is collected locally, washed, par-boiled, cut into thin slices and then mixed with other ingredients. The result is a spicy and sour Thai salad.
Food & Cuisine in Chiang Mai
Thai food is similar in nature to Thai culture - a harmonious blend of influences from several countries. Its flavours are a pleasant mix and match of Indian and Chinese ingredients. Northern Thai cuisine shows some Burmese influence, giving it a distinct flavour that is very different from the rest of the cuisine.
Thai food in general has a strong, spicy flavour. You could try having Somtom, which is an interesting papaya based salad with peanuts, tomatoes, shrimp, peppers, and lime thrown in. Then there is Tom Yam, a spicy, sour meat based soup. There is the ubiquitous Thai curry in its many forms too. These are just starters. Chiang Mai restaurants have many enticing dishes on the menu, capable of taking visitors on a delightful gastronomic journey.
Minced pork, tomatoes and pepper sauce are the ingredients used in Nam Prik Ong, a popular Northern dish with a spicy, sweet and sour taste. Barbecued peppers and anchovies are used to make Nam Prik Num. Fresh vegetables are served with Larp Koi, which is made using minced pork or beef, peppers and spices. Khow Soy is an interesting Chinese-Muslim egg noodle marvel. The chunks of beef and chicken are interestingly flavoured with coconut cream and garlic, and served on a bed of crispy noodles. Hang ley, a Lanna-style pork curry, is a local speciality that visitors love. Eating out in Chiang Mai is a must to to experience this destination to it's fullest.