If You Live to Eat, Bangkok Is Your Ultimate Destination to Chomp till You Drop
Some people eat to live, some live to eat. If you fall in the second category of people, you need to plan a trip to Bangkok asap. An impeccable paradise for foodies, the Thai capital, in a true sense, has everything to offer for every different taste. It is a unique place which offers food from various cuisines of the world, as well as a wide variety of lip-smacking Thai food.
There are an immense range of options, designed to suit every palate, and more importantly every budget making it such an exciting place to test your culinary limits. Consider taking a Bangkok food tour and explore the gastronomical delights of Thailand. While traveling the country I tried as much as I could and couldn’t have been happier!
Below are some of my favorite dishes that I tried while in Bangkok. They are some of the most exotic (but still tourist friendly) dishes Bangkok has to offer, which will leave you spellbound.
Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum soup is a delicious spicy hot and sour soup which is cooked with and plenty of seafood, the most fragrant spices and herbs such as kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed red chili peppers in a rich broth. The soup normally contains a large amount of seafood such as shrimps, prawns, locally caught fresh fish, and sometimes squid, clams… you get it. You can also order it vegetarian style in many restaurants. Either way you can be assured every spoonful of it offers a rich taste of the seafood for a perfect flavor, making it an absolutely essential addition to your Bangkok food tour. Although traditionally it is made with a ton of seafood, modern version of it often use chicken, pork, beef, processed meat etc. to add a different taste.
This one you have proabbly heard of before as it is one of the most famous dishes from the Thai cuisine. Lip-smacking Pad Thai is a popular street food, which consists of stir-fried rice noodles, with eggs, chopped firm tofu, tamarind pulp, strong locally made fish sauce, dried shrimps, red chili pepper, palm sugar and an assortment of herbs and spices. It is often served with lime wedges, chopped roasted peanuts, bean sprouts and picked radishes. It is a rich and filling food which you can have on the go. It pairs wonderfully with a glass of chilled beer which makes it such a popular street food sold by local open-air hawkers.
This dish is not originally from Thailand, but actually Indonesia. But the preparation of meat is insanely popular in Thailand as a street food snack so I had to add it. You’ll also sometimes find satay listed as a starter or even as an accompaniment with meals.
Satay consists of meat which is marinated in a variety of spices such as sweet soy sauce, palm margarine etc. strung on a skewer, made of bamboo or palm fronds, and grilled over charcoal embers. It is usually served with spicy peanut sauce dip, gravy, or sometimes with soy sauce. It could be made with a variety of meats such as chicken, goat, mutton, lamb, beef, venison or offal such as liver, intestine, tripe or even made with seafoods such as sea fish, shrimp or squid. It can also be made with tofu or exotic meat. So many options!
Meat on stick
An extremely popular snack of Bangkok, you can find several baked, grilled and fried meat, offal, sea food, meat or seafood balls and sausages on a stick. Popularly sold by roadside hawkers all over the city, these are extremely popular, delicious and pocket friendly snacks. If you are traveling on a budget you’ll be eating lots of these. You can find these snacks for a mere 50 baht and only need a couple to fill up. Popular vegetarian friendly varieties include batter fried quail eggs, grilled tofu and veggies on stick.
Difference between this and satay? Meat on a stick is generally baked or grilled with no sauce (or can be battered and fried), while the satay is marinated first.
Mango and sticky rice
No Bangkok food tour is complete without finishing your meal trying the traditional dessert of mango and sticky rice. Made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, palm sugar and fresh ripe mango, it is absolutely delicious. Traditionally this dessert is served wrapped in a banana leaf but you’ll increasingly see a number of vendors have opted for store bought Styrofoam plates. Personally, I prefer the traditional version with the banana leaf but I’m told by locals the taste is the same regardless. Anyway, the mildly sweet sticky rice and the fresh mangoes go perfectly together, especially during the summer months when the mangoes have just been harvested.
Another version of this dessert is made with banana instead of mango. It is amazing as well and if you can stop eating mango sticky rice for a moment you should give it a try as well.
Durian and durian chocolates
While Bangkok is rapidly developing, one thing remains constant and that is its love for durian. You’ll see many signs around Thailand (often in hotels) that durian is not allowed inside your room and that is because of its unique strong smell. But don’t be afraid of the smell! This fruit is often referred to as the king of fruits because it tastes excellent. It is immensely popular around all of Thailand, so it is only fair to give this unique fruit a chance.
Peeled cleaned and packed durian is available for tourists to try at most fruit markets around the city. Definitely try eating it this way. It takes away most of the hassle. If you are still unsure about giving the durian a chance, there are a number of durians chocolates that can try without dealing with the raw fruit.
Coconut ice cream
The perfect dessert to suit every taste and palate, coconut ice cream is rich, luxurious and definitely worth drooling over. Made with fresh coconuts, it is so creamy and thick that one serving is just not enough. You’ll find it served in cups, cones and bowls and you can choose a variety of garnishes like fruits, coconut shavings and tons of other toppings. Personally I think the best way to eat it is with the ice cream served inside a soft green coconut.
Final Thoughts on Food in Thailand
Food is often more than just sustenance, it is an emotion, a love, and a passion. Bangkok awaits you with its treasure trove of gastronomical delights which are unique, absolutely delectable and offer a wide variety which truly has something for every taste. It is a pure heaven for foodies.
Let me know if I missed any of your favorites by leaving a comment below!
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a Bangkok travel guidebook along with you. I always use Lonely Planet's pocket guides since they fit in my ...... pocket.
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