Pad Thai | Recipe
You can’t visit Thailand without eating Pad Thai, plain and simple. It’s almost become a cliché, but it’s delicious, as cheap as chips, and you can find it on every street stand and in every restaurant you come to so it seems ridiculous not to indulge. This noodle based dish is served with whichever meat you choose (I like prawns with everything so this was my favourite), beansprouts, nuts and a range of vegetables and seasonings.
Where to eat it:
Cashew Chicken | Recipe
Cashew Chicken was hands down my favourite dish on my travels in Thailand and I quickly hunted down the recipe and have cooked it many times myself since I returned home. With lightly toasted cashew nuts, chicken the trick is to not cook it for too long so the nuts and vegetables stay crunchy… turns out overcooked cashew nuts are pretty rank. Get your chicken cooked properly and then put everything else in for a few minutes just to heat up and serve immediately.
Grilled fish | Recipe
In most night markets and street food stalls in Thailand you can buy a large fresh grilled fish for around 200 bhat (around £5) and it will easily serve two people. In north Thailand we found it was served with a big basket of lettuce, coriander and Thai basil. However, if you want this in the South be sure to carry a picture of what you want as they will look at you like your mad! The fish is covered in a salted crust and then barbecued. The crust ensures the fish inside doesn’t dry out and stays delicious. Peel the skin off and dig in.
Pad Kra Pao | Recipe
Thai holy basil is the main ingredient of Pad Kra Pao and it is served with the meat of your choosing. The recipe linked is made with chicken as that was my preferred choice. This is a very spicy dish so I like to eat it with rice to soak up some of the heat, but it has a sweet edge to it as well. I haven’t yet managed to find anywhere near where I live that sells Thai basil but as soon as I do I will be serving this up at home.
Morning Glory | Recipe
Yes I found this a strange name for a dish as well and I never did find out why it was so called. This is a lovely crunchy green veg dish with lots of spice. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of green vegetables, but this dish won over even me. We ate it most evenings as a shared side dish, but it could easily be a main course too, particularly for a vegetarian.
Sticky rice | Recipe
Sticky rice can be eaten with your meal or as a snack and is sold in little bags as nice lump of tasty rice. It is generally only available in the north of Thailand and we enjoyed it every night in Bangkok with our meals. Originally it was designed as a snack for people working in the fields as it is easy to carry and filling for an empty stomach.
Tom Yum Soup | Recipe
Tom Yum Soup is the favourite breakfast of my travel buddy in Thailand and he had it most days (although it was nearer lunch time most days!). it is a thin soup made with chillies, lime, prawns and evaporated milk. On every ordering he was asked “You like it spicy?” and replied “yes very”. The hottest bowl he had was at the Lucky Restaurant in Nathon, Koh Samui and he only managed half the bowl before his lips had turned red and his eyes were streaming. If you like spicy, Tom Yum Soup is the perfect remedy for you.
Don’t go to restaurants, they are expensive, the service is poor and the food is always second rate. Night markets and food stands are all you need. We tried larger restaurants on a few occasions and were disappointed every time.
Don’t expect your dishes to all come out at once. At night markets your food is cooked to order and kitchen space is limited. This means there are often big gaps between dishes arriving, so don’t stand on ceremony and wait, dig in before it gets cold.
Try new things, try Thai dishes. In tourist areas, particularly Koh Samui there are an abundance of restaurants sellings “European” food, pizza and burgers. Don’t be tempted to eat the same old rubbish you eat at home, live a little and expand your horizons. I fell in love with Thai food and have been cooking it as much as ingredients availability allows back in the UK.
These were my favourite places to eat in Bangkok and Koh Samus. They are all very good value, have excellent service and the food is delicious.
New Om Nut Market | Bangkok | Location
This was my favourite place to eat while in Bangkok and we were fortunate that it was virtually opposite our hotel. We even ate here on Christmas Day and had an absolute feast for about £4 a head! The language barrier is avoided by using a fishing rod to point to what you want on the board and the staff are efficient and friendly. The grilled fish was particularly good here, as was everything in fact. Plus, it was my favourite place to get sticky rice. It’s worth making the trip along the BTS to Om Nut to dine here.
Nana Market | Bangkok | Location
Nana Market is actually located by Mon Chit along the BTS rather than Nana, all though it is within easy walking distance. We referred to this place as “The Hangar” as it is located inside a massive hangar. There are two vendors here and they will vie for your custom but we went for the red side each time as my travelling buddies had said they had eaten on the blue side before and the food wasn’t as good.
Chaweng Night Market | Koh Samui | Location
Chaweng Walking Street is choc-a-bloc full of overpriced restaurants with sub-par food. Look for the big star above the pavement, opposite the Tapas bar and step off the main strip and into Chaweng Night Market. Here there is a wide range of stalls to pick from and much better value selection of dishes to choose from. The staff are super friendly too. Just avoid using the toilets unless you’ve got your own tissues and you can’t wait!