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Top 10 foods to try in Thailand

Donna Toon



Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | The Thaiger

Thailand is known around the world not only for it’s breath taking scenery, beautiful hosts but also for their food. Fresh and vibrant, the local food in Thailand is cheap and it is amazing. On the street or in a fancy restaurant, it’s all good.

Be brave. Buy from the side of the road like the locals do, it will be the best meal you’ve had today. There is so much to sample and taste if you are willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone. Just remember one term “Mai Phet”, no chill please!

Here is, in no particular order, our Top Ten foods to try in Thailand….

1. Khao Soi Gai (Spicy Noodle Chicken Soup)

Khao Soi Gai originates from the cooler climate of the North, in the cultural city of Chiang Mai, therefore a hot and spicy soup is just the ticket. Without a doubt my favourite dish in Thailand, even though this is in no particular order, it sits at number one for good reason. The spicy broth, with the steamed chicken and the crispy noodles on top are delicious. The dish is traditionally served with lime, shallots, pickled mustard and chilli for individual taste and flavour.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

2. Durian

Buyer or should I say taster beware! Durian is the most popular fruit not only in Thailand but all over South East Asia, and beyond. It can grow up to 30cms long and 15cms wide and comes in a varierty of shapes and sizes, but I am dancing around the point: Durian has the most unpleasant (this is super polite) smell I think I have ever smelt. It is overpowering and has the stench of dirty socks which doesn’t do it much favours and it’s banned on most flights around Asia due to its pungency. The actual flavour of durian is quite pleasant and sweet if you can get past the smell as it approaches your mouth. Give it a go, be brave!

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

3. Phuket Lobster

Ironically Phuket lobster is more expensive than the Canadian lobster that has traveled half way across the world. If you can get past this fact then you must try the Phuket lobster because they’re sweet and fresh, juicy and worth the extra baht. One of our favourite places to try Phuket lobster is Kata Rocks, an ultra luxury resort in the South.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

4. Chai Yen (Thai Ice Tea)

You can’t travel to the land of smiles without trying Chai Yen, the local ice tea. I have two boys and if they had the chance, and I allowed it, they would drink this sweet tea daily. The secret ingredient that makes Chai Yen worthy of making this list is the fact it is sweetened by condensed milk which makes it thick and syrupy. Not recommended for a low calorie diet.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

5. Fresh Coconut on the beach

We are so lucky here on the island of Phuket to have access to fresh coconuts. Lots of them. Coconuts not only feature in many local Thai dishes but they also have numerous health benefits according to some health practitioners. Whether you are drinking yours from Makro or on the side of the street you are doing your body a huge favour. Click HERE to see The Thaiger’s Top Ten benefits of drinking coconut water….

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

6. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Green Chicken Curry)

Laced with Thai super stars of food – coconut, palm sugar, kaffir lime, fish sauce and green curry paste, the chicken curry served with steamed rice is mouth watering and stomach filling (and sometimes spicy unless you ask for “mai phet”. Super easy to also make at home, but steer away from “non Thai” versions. I can’t say it for sure but I’m pretty sure Jamie Oliver’s green chicken curry recipe isn’t going to be authentic!

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

7. Miang Khum (Thai Snack)

I was first introduced to this snack more than a decade ago, you don’t see it very often in “touristy” areas as it is a very traditional snack dating back to the court of King Rama V. It literally means “one bite wrap” whereby you grab a beetle nut leaf and place in it whatever takes your fancy from the plate, ginger, shallots, peanuts, chili, dried shrimp and lime. The beetle nut leaf itself is quite bitter so adding in all the flavours is a palate filling experience.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

8. Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)

Locals eat this dish every day, it is fresh and crisp and once again full of the flavours of Thailand. With shredded unripe green papaya, snake beans, tomatos, garlic, peanuts and dried shrimp it is quick and easy to make and often eaten on the side of the road. Once again be brave and buy from the local lady on the corner of the street making her living from Som Tum. But, again, it can be spicy so plead for a slightly less spicy version if Thai spices are too hot for you.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

9. Goong Sarong (Prawns wrapped in deep fried noodles)

Typically I’m not a fan of prawns but when these little puppies are wrapped up in noodles, deep fried then served with sweet chillie sauce, I must indulge. Served traditional as an appetiser along with table top friends chicken satay and spring rolls, be careful not to have too much as you will spoil your dinner. Thanks Mum!

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

10. Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup) 

The go to dish for me when I can’t decide what to order, the soup has all the flavours of Thailand – hot, sour, sweet and with the addition of fresh coconut milk makes the perfect balanced dish. Kaffir lime, lemongrass and galangal also add aroma and Asian flavours to finish off this beautiful soup.

Top 10 foods to try in Thailand | News by The Thaiger



Find restaurant and food listings around Phuket at Thaiger Bites.

Find more Thai Life top 10s and top 10s in Thailand on The Thaiger.

Originally from New Zealand, Donna Toon has been living in Thailand for the last 9 years with her husband Scot and their two boys Jackson and Oliver. After graduating with a Degree in Hospitality Management, Donna has travelled the world with a desire to develop her craft. A recent move from hospitality has seen Donna immerse herself into the media and radio industry, consulting for a number of media companies.

Food Scene

Pru gets Phuket’s only Michelin gong

The Thaiger & The Nation



Pru gets Phuket’s only Michelin gong | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Trisara

Phuket now has a Michelin star restaurant in its midst. The only restaurant in the Phuket or Phang Nga region to score a gong in the second Thai Michelin foodie guide.

Montara Hospitality’s farm-to-table restaurant Pru at Trisara has earned a Michelin star.

The guide whas expanded this year to cover the best dining venues in southern Phuket and Phang Nga provinces and in the greater Bangkok region -the cities of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan.

Pru chef de cuisine Jim Ophorst is touted as an inspiring voice of change for elevating the farm-to-table movement in Thailand.

29 year old Ophorst is originally from the Netherlands and renowned for his imaginative cooking style and innovative techniques. In 2016 he joined Montara’s Trisara, where his raw talent and conviction inspired the conception of Pru. He was also twice a semi-finalist for S Pellegrino’s annual Young Chefs Award, in 2016 and 2017.

Pru’s culinary concept, “Plant, Raise, Understand”, stems from Ophorst and his team’s close relationship with local suppliers and farmers, as well as the opportunities to forage and discover new ingredients from the restaurant’s own farm, Pru Jampa.

The farm sits among beautiful lakes on whose banks herbs, organic vegetable gardens, free-range chickens and ducks are raised.

“I’m excited to discover new ingredients all the time because it pushes my creative boundaries,” says the chef.

“We also want to strengthen the local farm community. This will yield better ingredients for better dishes at Pru. At the end, it’s all about the happiness in every angle – from the farmers to the restaurant team to the guests at our tables.”

In addition to Pru, Seafood at Trisara, which serves authentic southern Thai dishes based on treasured family heirloom recipes, was awarded a Michelin plate, the little red guide’s guarantee to a good meal.

Executive chef Kla Prakobkit presents a menu featuring local favourites made from scratch and showcasing produce that’s sustainably sourced.

Pru is open for dinner from 6.30pm Monday through Saturday.

Seafood is open daily from 6pm.

Pru gets Phuket's only Michelin gong | News by The Thaiger


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Food Scene

Hua Hin seafood sellers told not to overcharge customers

The Thaiger



Hua Hin seafood sellers told not to overcharge customers | The Thaiger

“Sea Write author Somchai Liewwarin complained that he was charged several thousand baht for just a few plates of seafoods.”

PHOTO: Downshiftology

Food-shop owners and street food sellers in Hua Hin say they will sign an MoU with the Hua Hin municipal office which will require them to strictly abide by trading rules and not to overcharge their customers, especially for seafoods.

Story about the over-charging food vendors HERE.

The measure to rein in the food sellers follows a recent social media post by a Sea Write author Somchai Liewwarin, aka Win Liewwarin, who complained that he was charged several thousand baht for just a few plates of seafoods when he dined with a few friends at a seafood shop about two months ago.

The post has drawn many online responses criticising the overcharging by seafoods restaurants and food-shops on the famous walking street. It has also prompted the district chief officer, Thanon Panphipat, to try and reign in the extortionate pricing.

Thanon held a meeting with food-shop owners and street food sellers at the district office to discuss the alleged overcharging problem and it was agreed at the meeting all the food sellers would be made to sign an MoU promising to not overcharge customers and to follow other trading regulations.

Regarding the author’s complaint, the district chief officer said the case was unclear as the author did not provide evidence to prove he was overcharged.  The author, meanwhile, said he didn’t want to press any charge against the food seller but merely wanted to warn the other tourists to be careful.

Thanon said the municipal administration have warned food sellers to show price lists and service fees to inform customers.


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Time for a street food makeover – Tourism Ministry

The Thaiger & The Nation



Time for a street food makeover – Tourism Ministry | The Thaiger

The Thai Tourism Minister says it’s time for an upgrade of Thai street food.

The Nation reports that Weerasak Kowsurat says he would hold talks with the Public Health Ministry and the BMA on how to upgrade the quality of dishes sold by street vendors in the capital.

He has revealed plans to bring together stakeholders to discuss how to ensure street foods are hygienic by offering advice on how to store ingredients and how to properly clean utensils.

Weerasak says his ministry will also work with local municipalities to boost the quality of street food in other provinces around the country.

He says the Tourism Ministry will launch an awareness campaign for tourists, explaining the characteristics of each dish to help them get the most out of eating on the street.

Weerasak says that, as of 2016, there were 103,000 street food outlets around Thailand, making up 69 per cent of all food outlets in the country.


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