Thai culture is heavily focused on social gatherings and what could be more crucial to successful gatherings than delicious food? Given this fact, it is no wonder that Thai cuisine is some of the most amazing on the planet.

During our time at Moevenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach we had the chance to sample so many wonderful Thai dishes. The hotel has a very good selection of restaurants that offer the most scrumptious delights. We highly recommend OrientAsia Restaurant for great Thai food.

So what can one expect to see on the menu in Thailand? Here are a few of our top picks.

 

The Best of Thai Cuisine - Tom Yum Soup

 

Tom Yum Soup

Made of a combination of broth, lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce, and other aromatics, this sweet and sour soup makes an excellent meal. Rice is a traditional accompaniment for a steaming hot bowl of Tom Yum soup, but the dish will occasionally be served plain. Many regional varieties are available for visitors to Thailand to sample, including ones with chicken, fish, pork, shrimp and/or various types of seafood. Shrimp is the more popular choice among travelers to the region, but firm fish types that can withstand boiling are a much more traditional ingredient. Some variations of the soup also include coconut milk as an ingredient.

 

Satay

Despite the fact that the origins of this cooking style are unclear and several places claim to have come up with the concept, satay is a delicious way to prepare meats. This dish consists of meat that has been seasoned with turmeric, skewered on sticks, and then grilled. Satay is often served with a peanut flavored sauce or peanuts themselves. Dipping sauces served to customers may contain pineapple instead of the peanuts and cucumber relish is a popular accompaniment to meats served satay style. Historically, coconut palm frond skewers were used, but in modern times bamboo has become more common. There are quite a number of variations on the traditional dish, so be sure to sample widely when you’re in Thailand.

 

The Best of Thai Cuisine - Pad Thai

 

Pad Thai

Michael and I are obsessed with this classic Thai dish. This noodle based meal is usually served with either chicken or prawns and is tossed together with bean shoots, green onions, fried egg with tamarind and fish sauce. You can order it with a bit of a kick if you like that sort of thing, but we love it without chili. There is a lot of flavor to a well made Pad Thai so it doesn’t need chili to add flavor. If you are a vegetarian you can replace the chicken/prawns with tofu.

 

Fried Insects

Crickets (Chingrit thot) and silkworm pupae (Tua mai thot) are quite often fried and dished up hot as wildly popular edibles in Thai. Grasshoppers, bamboo worms, spiders, water beetles and occasionally scorpions are often enjoyed in this fashion as well. These crunchy bugs are often enjoyed by all classes of Thai people with drinks as a quick and easy snack.

 

The Best of Thai Cuisine - Massaman Curry

 

Massaman Curry

This curry commonly utilizes beef as a meat source but is not limited to its use. Goat and pork are also readily available, though the latter is forbidden to the Muslims for whom this curry is named. Vegetarian versions of this curry are also popular. Along with the meat, traditional Massaman curries are comprised of roasted peanuts or cashews, tamarind sauce, coconut milk, potatoes, bay leaves, star anise, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili, cardamom and cinnamon. Accompaniments for this dish include rice, pickled ginger, and a mixture made from cucumbers, vinegar, sugar, and chilies known as “achat”.

 

Glass Jelly (Chao kuai)

A common dessert in Asian countries, this dessert is made by boiling stalks of the mesona chinensis plant with potassium carbonate in order to produce a substance that is similar to jelly. Mesona chinesis is grown in Thailand orchards as a secondary crop, perhaps due to the popularity of this dessert. The flavor is somewhat like that of lavender, but with sharper undertones. Glass Jelly is served in Thailand with natural brown sugar and ice. This dessert is also served with various fruits and in other Thai dishes.

 

The Best of Thai Cuisine - Drunken Noodles

 

Drunken Noodles (Pad kee mao)

This Chinese style dish is also popular in Thailand. The main ingredients include fish sauce, meat of some variety, rice noodles, vegetables, garlic, chili, unripe peppercorns, and holy basil. Theories abound as to why it is called drunken noodles when there is no alcohol present in the dish, but speculation as to why probably will forevermore remain the subject of mystery and debate among consumers.

 

Chim Chum

Thai’s answer to the Crock pot, this one dish wonder typically contains vegetables, meats, noodles, and mushroom all of which are simmered in lemongrass broth containing lime leaves and galangal until done. This dish may also contain chili and holy basil. It is quite often served with dipping sauces.

 

The Best of Thai Cuisine - Tom Kha Gai

 

Tom Kha Gai

This soup is made from coconut milk, chicken, galangal, lemongrass, and kefir lime leaves. It is delicious and soothing not only for those who have a cold, but everyone else as well. Some cooks use shrimp or seafood in place of the chicken, which doesn’t detract from the tastiness of the dish.

 

What have we left off the best of Thai Cuisine list?

 

Photo credits – Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, Mussaman Curry, Drunken Noodles & Tom Kha Gai

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