What makes Thai cuisine special is that it is created to wow the senses from its presentation to its taste. It also provides a means of experiencing the culture of the kingdoms of Thailand before it became one. As you travel each region of Thailand, you will find that the dishes you only know as Thai change their form as you travel from one region to the next. You will also see how the influx of tourists and expatriates has changed the food scene in the Land of Smiles. Get ready to experience the tastes of each region by going through our guide for 2 weeks in Thailand for food lovers.
The cosmopolitan city of Bangkok has a bit of everything and the food scene here can be rather daunting with its grand fusion of American, European, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and local dishes. You will find most of the local dishes in the restaurants and stalls of Khao San Road, like the staple Pad Thai, Mangoes with Sticky Rice, and the tangy Som Tum, fresh papaya salad.
To get more out of your food tripping journey, you might have to go the extra mile to find the finer versions of these dishes. At Som Tam Nua, which is located on the 4th Floor of the Siam Centre, the Som Tam is served with sausages and cracklings. This is best eaten with their chicken wings. At Kum Poon on the 7th floor of Central World, you will find an unforgettable version of Som Tam with its intense flavours and the small crab that is added to the mix.
For the not so usual Pad Thai, head to the Pad Thai Thip Samai (also known as Pratu Pee) at 313 Mahachai Road. The oldest Pad Thai restaurant in the city, they serve generous portions of their signature egg Pad Thai for 60THB. Get them to throw in some large prawns for 200THB and you will probably need some help getting out of your seat. As for the best Khao Niew Ma Muang, popularly known to the Farangs as Mango Sticky Rice, head to Mae-Varee, which has been around for almost 20 years.
If you are feeling adventurous, head to the food stalls just opposite Platinum Mall. Here, you will find some grilled creepy crawly things, intestines, and all those things that aren’t usually served as food. And, if you want something closer to your comfort zone, cross the skybridge to Soi 19 and you will find SabX2’s Wonton Noodles and Pork Leg Stew more to your liking.
Closer to home, just off Khao San Road, in a tiny alley called Bang Lamphu, you will find the lesser known fermented noodle dish called Kanom Jeen at Kanom Jeen Naam Ya, which is owned by Pa Puan.
Around 6 hours from Bangkok, the city of Sukhothai holds the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai. It is also here that you will taste the famous Sukhothai noodles, a delicious sweet-savoury blend of rice noodles, pork slices, dried shrimp, and crushed peanuts in a chicken or pork broth. The most raved about location is known as Poo Restaurant (Jarot Withithong 24/3, Sukhothai, Thaialnd), unfortunately named but easy to remember.
Once part of the Lanna Kingdom, it is in Chiang Mai that you should try the Sai Oua, a sausage made of fatty pork seasoned with kaffir lime, coriander, lemongrass, chili, and galangal. Here, you can also try the famous Khao Soi, a noodle dish cooked in a coconut curry broth and topped with crispy egg noodles.
The less touristy region in northeastern Thailand is said to serve the best Som Tam. It is also home to Thailand’s version of the Laab, a spicy salad made of juicy minced meat soaked in lime juice, chili, and fish sauce, that came from Laos.
Close to the neighbouring country of Malaysia and predominantly Muslim, this is where you find the best curries in all of Thailand. The baddest boy of the bunch is the Gaeng Tai Pla, the spiciest and saltiest curry which consists of fish entrails, aubergine, and bamboo shoots.
The simplest is the super spicy Gaeng Kua Kling which is basically curry paste and meat. Slightly milder is the orange-coloured Gaeng Som which is made of shrimp paste, tamarind, shallots and chilis.
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