On a short trip to Bangkok I decided to make it all about food. Since I was leaving Bangkok soon, I tried to enjoy as much Thai food as I could. So as a way to remember all the food I ate, as well as make you run off to your local Thai restaurant, here’s a list of all my favorite Thai food.
This is the quintessential Thai dish, but it’s often ruined in restaurants around the world, as they standardize it to the point where it becomes generic. Yet I love a good pad Thai, and when you veer out of the tourist destinations, it’s easy to find it in Thailand. On Sukhimvit 33 in Bangkok, there’s a pad Thai stall so good. I bring every visitor to Bangkok there. Pad Thai may be standard fare, but it’s oh so good.
I love eating spring rolls as a quick street snack. You get five for 50 cents. Throughout the streets of the main cities, you find little stalls around, and for a quick midday or late night appetizer, nothing beats a spring roll draped in sweet chili sauce, of course.
Pad Kra Pao:
Minced pork or chicken stir fried with basil and chilies and served over rice. This dish is a favorite of mine but only when I’m looking for something with a little kick. Even if you get them to make it “not spicy,” for a Thai that only means two chilies, and I end up trying hard not to breathe fire. It’s a common dish, but I prefer mine from the night markets and street stalls, where they tend to mince and chop the meat a little more finely than in restaurants.
This dish is a staple of Thai cuisine, and you can’t throw a stone without hitting a dozen som tam sellers. Shaved papaya is tossed in a mortar and pestle with carrots, peanuts, tomatoes, string beans, palm sugar, fish sauce, and a whole lot of chilies. It’s as delicious and amazing as it is fiery. It’s so spicy, I simply don’t get it made with any chilies. As it’s used throughout the day, the mortar is coated with chili pieces and seeds, so when they make mine, the residue coats my dish with enough spice for me. But I often put up with the fiery taste, because it’s just so delicious. You want to stop eating it, but you can’t.
Often associated with backpackers due to their love of this dish, it’s actually found in a lot of Thai food markets. I usually have mine at the famous Thong Lor market in Bangkok. Fried dough filled with bananas and topped with sugar and condensed milk (you can also get it with chocolate), this is a sweet explosion in your mouth. One of my favorite snacks. It’s usually one of the first dishes I make my friends try when they come visit me.