Adventures of an English teacher living and teaching in Thailand.
Published May 18th 2016
What on earth am I eating?
When I start talking about the famous street food of Bangkok, I invariably get a mixed reaction. The response could be anything from sighs of ecstasy to shivers of horror and lips curled back in distaste. My personal experience of Thai street food has taught me that both responses are well-founded.
Before venturing out into the streets of Bangkok on a culinary safari, it would be advisable to do some research on what you are likely to encounter. Yes, you will most probably run up against a bowl of deep-fried crickets, the odd scorpion or grilled frogs on a stick at some point, and if you are an adventurous eater, I would recommend you try it, but there is also a veritable smorgasbord of delicious dishes at every street market that will have your taste buds screaming for more. The trick, as I said, is to know what it is you are looking at. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
I highly recommend Pad Thai, it is delicious. It is made with rice noodles stir-fried with eggs and tofu, and flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, chopped peanuts, palm sugar, chili powder and shrimp.
Another good choice is Pad Kra Pao Gai, which is chicken cooked in basil, and Kaen Khiao Wan, or green curry, both dishes served with rice. If you do not like spicy food, please tell the street vendor, 'Mai phed,' or 'Not spicy,' when you order. Each dish will be served with a separate little bowl of chilies to add to personal taste.
A wonderful side dish, or a meal on its own, is Som Tam, or papaya salad. Beautifully made and very refreshing, Som Tam is always an excellent choice in the heat of Bangkok.
Every street market in Bangkok will have at least one stall selling a variety of food on sticks. They can be quite daunting, as it is often difficult to guess exactly what the ingredients are. For the most part, the little balls are pork, wrapped in either potato or rice flour and deep-fried in oil. There are also sausages ranging from very spicy to mild, and pieces of sweet and sour chicken, whole squid and pork, barbequed right there on the sidewalk.
There are plenty of choice delicacies to satisfy the sweet tooth on the streets of Bangkok. A firm favorite among the locals is Khao Niao Mamuang, or mango and sticky rice. Available everywhere for between 35 and 50 baht, it is the perfect complement to a wonderful meal. One of my personal weaknesses as far as desserts go, is Khanom Buenang. They are small crêpes made from rice flour and filled with coconut cream and either a sweet or savory topping. These little confections are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are available at every street market, as well as at MBK Shopping Center.
Photo by techistoria -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons
Photo by Susan Slater -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons