For a number of us, Thai cusine seems like the healthier, lighter option to Chinese food. While some Chinese influences can be found in Thai food, the options in Thai food have a unique spin. Instead of deep-fried spring rolls essentially bathed in lots of oil, you can opt for a raw and fresh version of the entrée classic. A spicy peanut sauce is a wholesome choice; undoubtedly more so than a few of the greasy Chinese gravy sauces. Thai soups like tom yum rely significantly less on sodium than Chinese egg drop soups, plus there is a better use of healthy ingredients like lemongrass and cilantro.
But there are many booby-traps on the Thai menu as well. Many Thai starters are deep-fried with a super sweet dipping sauce. Be careful of any fancy variations of rice (such as coconut rice), and iced tea as these are generally made with serious dosages of sugar. However, whether it’s juicy bits of grilled pork on a satay stick or a fiery bowl of ‘Tom Yum’ soup, most of us have to begin someplace. And what better place than our carefully chosen Top Five Thai Foods, which spans from staple backpacker favourites through to a classy meal at a St Albans restaurant. Once you’ve attempted all of them, please let us know which one really delighted your taste buds… Visit this website to get more insight into what a Thai restaurant is like.
Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
The most well-known Thai aroma! A striking, refreshing mixture of fragrant lemongrass, chilli, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce creates the base for this traditional soup, giving it its famous natural kick. Succulent fresh prawns and straw mushrooms give it body. A flexible dish that can accompany practically any food, with a distinctive smell that reminds you of travels in Thailand, while its invigorating sour-spicy-hot flavour just screams ‘Thailand!’
Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)
Hailing from the Northeast region of Isaan, this outlandish dish is a great divider – some can’t get enough of it, and some can’t manage it. Garlic cloves, chilies, green coffee beans, cherry tomatoes, vegetables and shredded uncooked papaya get significantly pulverized in a pestle and mortar, until they unleash a sweet-sour-spicy flavour that isn’t easily forgotten. Regional variations toss peanuts, dried shrimp or salted crab into the mix. The dried shrimp and crab often takes many first-timers by surprise, but then they find themselves hooked!
Tom Kha Kai (Chicken breast pieces in Coconut Soup)
A gentle, tamer twist on Tom Yum, this iconic soup infuses fiery chilies, thinly sliced up young galangal, smashed shallots, stalks of lemongrass and soft strips of chicken breast. However, unlike its more brothy cousin, lashings of coconut milk soften its spicy blow. Topped off with fresh lime leaves, it’s a sweet-smelling creamy and compelling concoction.
Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry)
Made out of small cuts of meat, red curry paste, creamy coconut milk and topped off with a sprinkling of finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, this rich, aromatic curry always gets those taste buds tingling. At its best when the meat is stunningly tender. Perhaps best described with a likening to a lovely female: it is lovely, gentle and delicately fragrant. And like all real love affairs, a lack of it makes the heart grow fonder.
Pad Thai (Thai style Fried Noodles)
From the Phi Phi Islands to Khao San Street, the default international Thai dish! Dropped in a searing hot wok, fistfuls of small, slim or wide noodles execute a steamy minute-long dance alongside crunchy beansprouts, onion and egg, before disembarking onto the nearest dish. An interactive eating experience, half of the fun (and flavour) is based on then utilizing a quartet of associated condiments – fish sauce, sugars, chilli powder and finely ground peanuts – to wake it from its slumbers.
Khao Pad (Thai style fried Rice)
Fried rice, egg, onion, a few herbs – nothing more, nothing less. A favourite lunch dish offered typically with a wedge of lime and pieces of cucumber. The trick behind the unpretentious dish is based on its simplicity. The idea is this: you’re the main one devouring it, and that means you dress it. To take action, Thais use prawns, crab or chicken breast, basil, chili, and left-over vegetables, along the way turning an unremarkable pauper into a gastronomic prince!