Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All ‘Thai’ ed Up

Decoding Thailand through it’s Food
Me: (holding up a garment) Do you have a big size in this?
Shop Lady: (exasperated but in sing song voice) No madaaame, Only 1 sigh, free sigh
Me: Ok. How much for this?
Shop Lady: Cheap Cheap Madaam! 1 piece for 150 baht if you buy 3 piece 100 baht
Me: (mustering the Sindhi Indian in me) Give me 1 piece for 120 baht
Shop Lady: Cannot Madaame! (waving her hand at me)

My reaction ranges from paying 150 baht if I really like it and walking off if I don’t. But the very dominant shopaholic in me makes me opt for the 1st option most of the time!

This was my seventh visit to Bangkok. Yes 6 trips before and this was the seventh time we were going to this land of massage parlours, prostitutes, shopping and thai curry! My love for this country and particularly this city Bangkok goes much beyond the shopping though. This time I realized that it’s the food. The spicy flavours, soupy  and sticky textures and most of all the sumptuous quantities are some of the reasons why Thailand comes No. 1 on my list of Uber Delicious. Simply put I love the food there! The use of condiments and spices makes it very close to Indian Food but something that takes it a notch above is the freshness of the ingredients. You can’t help but note the crunch in the vegetables and fruits when you eat. And what more it doesn’t even pinch your pocket, the food is really very cheap. Yep I would not exactly ‘haven’ for the vegetarian, Thailand still remains my choice when it comes to food.

Let me now list down dishes that you must try when in Thailand –
Green Thai Curry

1)      Red & Green Curry: But Obvious? Not quite. I know we’ve had a an overdose of the thai curry specially since the the Thai Pavilions & Tamanak Thai’s but people who have tried Thai curry in Thailand will agree that the one found in India, even in the five stars is no match! The flavours and smell that fresh ingredients like lemon grass, kafir leaves, bird eye chillies and spicy berry (gundha as the gujaratis call it) conjure are pure divinity. Add to it the Shrimps or Chicken and eggplant and couple it will Thai version of steam sticky rice and your on Cloud No.9. The dish is available at all street food stalls, restaurants and food courts in Thailand and costs anywhere between 40 baht – 80 bahts approx Rs 60 to 120 for a huge bowl

Steamed Sea Bass

2)      Steamed Sea Bass in Lemon Sauce: Now this has to be my most priced seafood find! An entire steamed trout sea bass cooked in lemon juice gravy with finely sliced garlic, lemon zest and the Thai bird eye chilly. The taste? Imagine a spa in your mouth! The dish is available at  most street food restaurants and costs anywhere between 350 – 400 baht approx Rs 525
Chicken in Holy Basil

3)      Stir Fried Chicken/Seafood in Holy Basil: Another ambrosial dish from the Thai kitchen this dish consists of minced chicken or seafood cooked in light soy sauce and the holy basil leaf (tulsi). The  balmy dish is simply marvelous and can be had by itself or with steamed rice. The dish is available at all street food stalls, restaurants and food courts in Thailand and costs anywhere between 40 baht – 80 bahts approx Rs 60 to 120.



Raw Mango

4)      Exotic Fruits: Apples and oranges are passé. Try these yummy sweet and juicy Thai fruits and you would know what it feel like to live in heaven. The Mangosteen is personal favourite. Deliciously sweet and sour you can never have just one of this soft squishy fruit. The next is the rambutan, quit similar to litchi, only better. Even their raw mango is yummy. Must be had with their sweet and spicy masala. These are available at street vendors in Thailand and cost anywhere between 30 – 60 baht per kilo

Mama Noodles

5)      Mama Noodles in Dark Soy Sauce: These are basically curly noodles tossed and fried in dark soy sauce with pakchoy and green peppercorns. You can also have a soup version but I prefer the stir-fried one. At some places its more spicy due to use of a lot of peppercorns. All I can say the spicier the better! This is available with street vendors and all food courts. I had it at the Platinum Food Court and MBK mall food court, the latter being tastier and costs between 40-60 baht approx Rs 60
Noodle Soup

6)      Noodle Soup with Bean Curd Dumpling: This dish reminded of Kung Fu Panda  - Po’s father the Crane making yummy delicious gigantic bowls of the soothing noodle broth. The soup comes in the same huge China bowls, it’s a clear with mild flavours of juices of the vegetables and bean curd. Talk about Noodle Soup for the Soul. The dish is available at all food malls and street carts ans cost between 80 – 100 baht  approx Rs 120 - 150

Chicken in Cashewnuts
7)      Chicken in Cashewnuts and Vegetables: The dish is made of chicken cooked with diced veggies likes peppers, babycorn, mushrooms and cashews. Kindoff edulcorated, the dish is still yum. The dish is available at most restaurants and costs Rs 80 – 100 bahts approx Rs 120 – 150
Khaw Soi

8)      Khaw Soi: Not very frequently found in Bangkok, this dish seems to be a staple of Northern region of Thailand specially places like Chiang Mai which are home to the Lanna (Burmese) tribe. Traditionally a Burmese dish, the Thai add their own touch with a broth a of medium consistency not too thick and not to thin with egg noodles and obviously accompanied with the usual condiments.

Thai Shrimp Fried Rice

9)      Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp: Short grain rice tossed up in a lot of vegetables and thai bird chillies, this can make a sumptuous meal in itself. Stuffed inside it you will find large chunks of Shrimp

Other food that you could try are –

Smoked Sausages

Sticky Rice with Mango

Not only is the food in Thailand great, so is the humility and hospitality of the people. Simple gestures like folding their hands and greeting you with ‘Swadika’ (thankyou & welcome), an equivalent of the Namaste everytime you enter a restaurant or pay them just adds a very personal touch and makes you feel welcome

Quicktip: Eat at the street food carts and street restaurants, its very hygienic the ingredients are always fresh. You may have a bit of problem with the language but most of the restaurants come with photo menu’s so all you need to is point out and then plop in!


  1. wat a fantastic recipe ...absolutely delicious..
    new to your space..wonderful space you your presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..

    Tasty Appetite

  2. Wow.. feel like just completed a culinary tour of thailand... so beautifully written...
    Event: Healing Foods - Banana

  3. @ Jay Thanks but this is not a recipe its more like a review
    @ Krithi Yep totally thankyou so much for the compliment!

  4. oh wowee- that's a treat and am feasting my eyes on a few dishes there !!

  5. yup priya! thai food is the awesomest!


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