No adventure is ever complete without its culinary counterpart. After all, a country’s flavors are very much a part of its character. When you’re visiting a country with a long history and rich culture like Thailand, appreciating cuisine is not only a part of an unfolding feast for your senses. It is a delicious way to learn about your destination’s heritage.
When visiting Thailand, there are different ways and places for enjoying the local gastronomy, each of them offering a unique taste of the Southeast Asian kingdom’s creativity and way of life. To make the most of your Thai culinary adventure, here are a few ideas to make your gastronomic experience truly unforgettable and satisfying.
Start With The Street Food
Bangkok is usually the starting point of any Thailand adventure and if it’s a gastronomic adventure you’re after, street food is definitely the way to go. As you roam around the capital city, you will find and taste street food in different places—a stall, a cart, or a shophouse.
When the night falls, the street food hub to visit is Yaowarat in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here you can have your fill of treats like barbecued seafood dim sum, oyster omelettes, and flat noodles in a pepper broth among others. To have a truly satisfying experience of Bangkok Chinatown, it is recommended that you take the lead of the locals, move around, and have a bite of as many dishes as possible.
Another street food haven is at Bangkok Old City or Rattanakosin, home to several street food restaurants like Pad Thai Thip Samai, where you can taste one of the most delicious pad Thai, in Bangkok. Pad Thai—an essential part of any gastronomic adventure in Thailand—is a stir-fry dish that combines sautéed rice noodles, shrimp, chicken or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg and bean spouts tossed in rich pad thai sauce.
Then Go For The Restaurants
Once you’ve had your fill of Bangkok street food, enjoying a dining experience in the city could be your next step. When choosing which restaurants are worth your visit, the ones with raving reviews should be worth experiencing. If you want to splurge a bit, restaurants with MICHELIN stars are the destinations for you.
One of the top recommendations from Conde Nast Traveler is Bo.lan, a restaurant which is also included in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019. Here, you can feast on traditional Thai dishes that use tasty and organic products. The menu changes per quarter depending on available produce. Up to the month of September, Bo.lan will be serving dishes like Ocean fish salad with passionfruit dressing, assorted flowers and pak wan. Another dish that’s part of the current menu is Stir-fried pork with squid, santol and Krabi shrimp paste.
Outside Bangkok, there are other MICHELIN restaurants that are worth your visit. Like Bo.lan, Pru in Phuket is known for sourcing local and organic products. Among the restaurant’s current offerings are cured cobia fish and water asparagus from the Andaman Sea. Other items in the restaurant’s menu are Carrots cooked in the soil they came from and river prawn from the rivers of Surat Thani.
Where Else To Find Great Eats
Aside from restaurants, other hotspots for delectable Thai cuisine are night markets. These include Cicada Market in Hua Hin, where an open-air food court in a garden setting lets you have your seafood fix. Chiang Mai Night Market, on the other hand, lets you indulge in dishes like Khai Pam, an omelet in banana-leaf plate whose various toppings include ant’s eggs, shiitake mushroom, or crab stick.
Another way to elevate your gastronomic experience in Thailand is learning to prepare dishes yourself, which you can do through community-based tourism. This experience immerses you in a rural community’s culture, way of life, and cuisine. Preparing kanom, a dessert usually made of coconut, flour, and sugar, is a common activity in these communities.
These are some of the ways and places where your Thai gastronomic adventure can unfold. When going on a food trip, safety should always be a priority. If you have allergies, be mindful and don’t hesitate to find out the ingredients from those who are preparing your food. Once you’ve had your fill, never forget to pay your compliments to the chef.