Thai food is outstanding. It is everywhere in Thailand and offers an amazing way to understand the culture. Different places have different local dishes and flavours. There are also the classics which always go down well no matter where you are. For me it felt like eating out every night, I was able to try new flavours, new foods, and new styles. I enjoy my food; and Thailand let me enjoy it a lot.
When we travelled to Thailand, like the majority of travellers, we flew to Bangkok. In Bangkok we stayed near the infamous Khao San Road. Although this road may be starkly different from the majority of Thailand it does have its pick of excellent street food. Street food is a saviour in Bangkok and something you have to try, if the place has a big queue then its probably something tasty. We started out just dipping our toes in with a simple pad thai with egg, a basic meal to help settle our stomachs and it only set us back 40B (~80p) for a nice big portion. With your pad thai you can add sugar, chilli flakes, crushed nuts, sweet chilli sauce, all to help balance the spicy, sour and sweet flavourings of the dish. Pad thais were certainly one of our staple meals in Thailand, they are available almost anywhere and provide a good nutritious and tasty dish. Another amazing dish, although it doesn’t look too nice is Joke Moo Sub, this is Thai comfort food at its best, rice soup with pork (and the usual spices). We tried this at a street food restaurant near the State Tower in Bangkok, it was the nicest pork I have ever eaten. However be aware that it often comes with pork intestine and stomach too (which are also very good). Another seeminly less appetising street food delicacy is the range of insects on offer. Trying one was on my to do list, so on the penultimate night I stepped up and ate a locust, it was surprisingly nice and I value the experience. Also (after a few more drinks) I was coerced into eating a frog, this again was surprisingly good, albeit like a very very chewy smoky bacon crisp.
If you fancy some good traditional Thai curry, be it red, yellow, green, or massaman, and are in Chiang Mai then head over to Ratchadamnoen Kitchen. This little restaurant served us up some great Thai food, whenever we went in it was always packed even though we were in Thailand’s low season. The food was top quality and also nice and cheap. Personally I’d recommend the red curry and the vegetable spring rolls, which are to die for! Then for desert try their mango, sticky rice and coconut milk; it’s Thai pudding at its best. As for the western part of the menu I can’t really comment I just wanted to eat as much Thai food as I could during my stay. Again in Chiang Mai, just out of the centre, near the night bazaar are some good street food restaurants, which serve a whole variety of Thai food.
When we headed south to the islands our first stop was Koh Samui. Fortunately despite the large tourism to this island it is still possible to find some amazing street food and restaurants. As a mid-afternoon snack we had an omelette with some fresh vegetables in it in a bowl of rice with some spicy sweet chilli to pour over the top. This in some restaurants was labelled as a Thai breakfast however we got ours from a lovely lady at a street food stall who also ran across the road to where we were sat eating giving us both cups of tea. A filling meal for just 30B! Another little gem on the island is near Chaweng Beach, the nightlife hub of the island. However this little restaurant which becomes heaving every night feels like original Thai food, it is cheap, basic, and it is good! Ninja Crepes, if you can pardon the weird name, will serve you some amazing dishes. The spicy soups, especially the Tom Yum, are really tasty and the curries are also pretty good.
Me relaxing at the idyllic My Way restaurant on Haad Salad.
Whilst on the island of Koh Pha Ngan we stayed on the idyllic Haad Salad, where yes we had a salad. It was a very nice papaya salad from the My Way restaurant right on the beach. This restaurant has BBQs of fresh catches every night, they also do amazing fried chicken (a local spicy specialty). However their one dish which overshadows the rest is their massaman curry, I would almost consider going all the way back to Thailand for one of those curries again, they were incredible. The type of meal you thing about all day long. The pad thai was also different to ones I was used to but very tasty none the less. To finish your meal here, try their banana pancakes with condensed milk, these will send you into sublime satisfaction. Everything here we tried on the menu was amazing and even better as you eat you are pretty much on the beach listening to the waves lull onto the sand. Amazing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we did all three! This was my favourite place to eat in Thailand and if I ever go back to the islands I will be sure to make a trip to Haad Salad just to have a few meals back there again, and definitely a chicken massaman curry!