The 8 must-try dishes in Bangkok, Thailand

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Flight Network Foodie  

Thai food holds many different forms and can sometimes be rather intimidating to the Western mind and palate. However no trip is complete without at least trying all off the following dishes. Forget about the infamous pad Thaï and try your luck with the following dishes.

1. Crispy Pork (Moo Kgrob)

Crispy pork with rice
Crispy pork with rice

This is a dish that can be found cooked differently in many different parts of the world. In Thai cuisine, pork belly is blanched, then the skin is pricked, and then it’s flash-fried in fat, which creates a symphony of textures. It’s salty and porky, of course, but the skin is super-crunchy, the fat melts in your mouth and the meat is just chewy enough. It’s used many different ways, including stir-frys. Try it plain, or dipped in Thai chili sauce!

2. Noodle Soups

A Thai soup
A Thai soup

There are many different noodle soup stalls everywhere around Bangkok. In most of them, the customer selects from a variety of different possibilities to create a unique dish. First, different types of noodles are offered: all rice noodles, but of different thickness and chew. Then the fun begins: dark or clear broth (usually chicken); bean sprouts; fish balls; different cuts of pork; several types of herbs; pickled, dried or fresh chilies; thinly cut beef tendon or loin; congealed pig blood… make your own!

3. Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum)

Tom Yum
Tom Yum

There are many different versions of this soup: it can be eaten with shrimp, chicken, squid, cockle, pork… but they’re all very well balanced. It’s hot, because of the use of chili peppers; it’s spicy thanks to the galangal; it’s sour because there’s lemongrass and lime juice; it’s sweet since some of the versions include coconut flesh or coconut milk.

4. Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

Som Tam
Som Tam

This is one of the most iconic dishes of all of Thailand. Locals will refer to it as “Papaya Pok Pok” for the tourists. It’s a salad that’s crushed in a mortar and pestle. It has thin strips of unripe green papaya, hot dry chilies, fish sauce, lime, and palm sugar. Don’t dive in it thinking it’s going to be a refreshing salad to go with your spicy dishes: it’s probably the hottest dish of all Thai cuisine!

5. Basil Pork (Moo Pad Kaphrao)

Holy Basil
Holy Basil

This is one of the dishes that might not by striking by its looks or style, however it’s cool textures are an interesting experience in itself. It’s a simple stir fry of ground pork and holy basil. It’s easy to make, too: ground pork, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and a whole bunch of holy basil!

6. Green Curry

Green Curry
Green Curry

If Basil Pork is easy to make, Green Curry certainly is not. The green curry paste has up to 15 ingredients. This paste is then added to coconut milk, a protein (mostly chicken in Bangkok), palm sugar, fish sauce, and sometimes a few veggies. It’s then served with a side of rice. It’s incredibly fragrant and aromatic and the mandatory balance of the five tastes is obvious in a good green curry dish.

7. Mango and Sticky Rice

Mango on top of sticky rice
Mango on top of sticky rice

This is one of the only staple dessert dishes in Thailand. It’s very, very simple: ripe, slippery, juicy mango is coupled with sticky rice. The combination of the two flavours is a surprising match and the textures of both ingredients are rather similar. It can sometimes be coupled with grated roasted coconut or banana slices.

8. Thai pork jerky (Moo Dad Diew)

Moo Dad Diew with dipping sauce
Moo Dad Diew with dipping sauce

This dish is a sure-fire hit with any North American farang. While it might look unappealing while hanging in the sun on a hot and sticky day, this is pork jerky at its finest. It’s way better than the convenience store version available at home! Even its flavour is similar to the sweet-and-sour combination of our jerky. The pieces of meat sold on street carts outside are usually cooked on a charcoal grill once you select the ones you want to buy, and finally sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds for added crunch. Grab yourself an ice cold Singha and munch away!

About the Author: Cedric Lizotte

Bilingual freelance journalist. Tech, food, travel, photo. Twitter: @CedrikLizotte

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