Everyone that’s ever eaten Thai food worldwide knows about pad Thai, green curry and tom yum soup but today we want to introduce you to some local Thai dishes that you won’t find on the menu in your average Thai restaurant to help you eat like a local on your next trip to Bangkok.
Noodles: Kuay Tieow Kua Gai
These fried noodles are nowhere near as popular worldwide as their more famous cousins, pad Thai and pad see-ew but trust us, they are equally delicious. They use the same wide rice noodles as pad see-ew and are cooked traditionally in pork fat over a high-heat charcoal flame which gives the noodles a rich, smokey taste. Chicken is the meat of choice for these noodles but you can go for seafood and ham.
Where to find them: Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai, Luang Road.
Curry: Khao Soi
Khao soi is northern Thailand’s most famous dish. It’s made up of flat egg noodles in a spiced coconut curry broth, topped with fried egg noodles and served with roasted chilli, shallots and fresh lime on the side. Khao soi can be found on every street corner in Chiang Mai but finding a decent version in Bangkok can be a little trickier. Don’t worry, though, as always, we’ve got you covered!
Where to find it: Dara Dalay @BKK, Pichai Road, Dusit
This spicy and sour soup is similar to tom yam but the dish’s sourness does not come from lime but through the use of tamarind juice. It’s strong on flavour and usually comes with poached fish, seafood, mushrooms and tomato.
Where to find it: Lung Restaurant, Thanon Arun Amarin (behind Wat Arun).
Salad: Yum Makeua Yao
A classic Thai salad that’s packed full of contrasting flavours. It’s made up of smokey grilled eggplant/aubergine, shallots, chilli, lime juice and fish sauce, topped with crispy fried shallots and served with boiled eggs. Yum Makeua Yao is a traditional dish that is becoming less and less common on restaurant menus.
Where to find it: River Tree House, Nonthaburi.
Deep Fried: Larb Moo Tod
If you’ve eaten Isaan food, you’ll be familiar with the laap salad, made up of boiled minced meat, thai herbs, toasted rice, shallots, fish sauce and lime juice. To make larb moo tod, they simply take the raw salad mixture, roll it into balls and deep fry it to make the ultimate Thai meatballs.
Where to get them: Baan Somtum, Silom
Dessert: Bua Loi Kai Waan / Kai Kem-
This colourful Thai dessert is made with glutinous rice flour balls in sweetened coconut milk and served with a sweet or salted egg yolk. The balls are coloured using natural ingredients such as pandan, pumpkin and taro making this a very eye pleasing dessert indeed! If you really want to go local, go for the Kai Kem (salted egg yolk).
Where to find it: Bua Loy Kai Kem, Khlong San Market