Did I ever tell you how much I love food? Almost as much as I love travelling so when the two come together there’s nothing that can make me happier (except maybe some dessert and a cup of coffee!). I’m a big foodie so there will always be some culinary research and planning involved when I go on holiday because I want to learn about new cuisines and taste as many traditional dishes as I possible can. I have to admit that since I stopped eating meat it has proven slightly challenging in some countries but nothing a bit of perseverance can’t fix. Thailand was accommodating in terms of veggie food and there are plenty of traditional dishes that can be easily cooked vegetarian (as long as you make sure the pesky fish sauce stays far away from the pan).
If you prefer eating out at restaurants you will find quite a few have vegetarian options on the menu especially in the most popular areas. If you get more adventurous and try street food and food markets, you will be sure to find a few dishes to your liking. Food courts in shopping malls are also a good, cheap option but make sure you do a bit of research in advance and check if the have a food stall that is vegetarian or Jai (which means vegan food and with no onions or garlic).
But rest assured meat-lovers, there are even more dishes with meat!
Soups and Curries
One of the most popular recipes in Thailand, Thai Tom Yum Soup, is a spicy and sour soup with a powerful kick of lemon grass. The broth is traditionally made out of fish stock and has shrimp so if you want a vegetarian make sure you check how they cook the soup base.
I love coconuts so unsurprisingly the Coconut soup (Tom Kha Gai) was one of my favourites. It’s creamy and packs in the right amount of flavour from the lemon grass and spice from the chilly.
The Thai Steak Soup is probably one of the blandest soups I’ve ever had; it was a nice break from all the spicy food I had but I wouldn’t order it again.
Chiang Mai curried noodles (Khao soi gai) is one of the most famous Northern dishes. It’s a creamy, tangy coconut curried soup, topped with crisp noodles and pickles. I found a vegetarian version at the Ploen Ruedee Market in Chiang Mai. Speaking of Chiang Mai, we also had delicious food at the Saturday Walking Street Market.
I’m not a big fan of mock-meat products but the soup we had at Ming Kwan in Chiang Mai was absolutely delicious and really hit the spot after days of eating spicy and curried food. It’s a cheap, vegetarian restaurant and they cook a selection of foods each day so it’s great if you want to try as many dishes as you can (some are really spicy though).
We ate there a few times and I have to admit the food was very tasty and filling and I didn’t feel the need to eat meat afterwards.
I’ve been wanting to try an authentic Green curry for a very long time and I asked for “a bit spicy” but of course it was spicy beyond my ability to handle it and I couldn’t get even halfway through. Other yummy curries are Red curry and Yellow curry (a bit less spicy than the green one), Penang curry which also has peanuts and Masaman curry which is the sweetest and least spicy of all.
Here‘s a great article on the different types of curry you can feast on in Thailand.
I can’t say I’ve tried many curries, I tend to stay away from spicy food especially when travelling.
Pad Thai is probably one of the most renowned dishes outside of Thailand but in Thailand there are a variety of stir fry dishes in every imaginable flavour and level of spiciness, type of noodle or veggie combination.
Of course, I had to have a few Pad Thais myself before moving on to more adventurous options.
I genuinely don’t remember what I had here (pork with rice by the looks of it).
Apparently I had some stir fry myself.
Street food is very popular in Thailand with many locals opting for it rather than a home cooked meal. There are plenty of choices and you can snack all day whilst out and about which was of course one of my favourite activities. There are all sorts of meat on skewers like pork, chicken and sausages but you’ll also find egg omelet, mushroom or tofu.
Fruit smoothies, iced drinks and iced teas – a real treat in the high temperatures and humidity of Thailand. We had delicious coffees at Akha Ama Coffee in a friendly and youthful atmosphere.
If you’re not a coffee lover, there area variety of iced teas to choose from. The ones with black tea are the most commonly found but there are herbal ones too like the gorgeously purple Butterfly Pea Flower tea. We had these in Phuket Town at Kopitiam by Wilai (a really good place with loads of veggie options by the way).
I absolutely loved our time in Thailand and the food was delicious! I got the chance to try loads of different dishes and my only regret is that I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I did (but in my defence everything was tasty so by the time the camera was out, it was all gone). We’ll just need to go back and take some more pictures!
What do you think about the food in Thailand? Do you have any favourite dishes?