Mickael David – Author’s Image
Delicious Thai cuisine! It is certainly very spicy, but the spices are often offered before the end of cooking, it is up to you to taste so as not to exceed the dose. Try the common dishes (Pad Thai, Kanom Jeen, Kao Man Gai, Tom Yum) and, if your budget allows it, let yourself be tempted by the royal cuisine (old recipes) offered in the best restaurants.
A typical Thai meal is always composed of several dishes chosen individually and shared by all: a curry, a spicy sautéed dish, a frying dish, a vegetable dish, a soup and an omelet, accompanied by rice. We usually order a soup to accompany another dish, rarely alone. A fried rice can be a good alternative to a hearty meal. It will be served with vegetables or fried eggs, accompanied by beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or seafood.
Noodles can be eaten at any time, in soup, fried, steamed, sautéed, in sauce. There are several kinds, nearly a dozen. Here are some examples: Sen Yai are wide, flat and made from rice flour. The Sen Lek are fine. Sen Mee are like angel hair. Bamee are wheat noodles with eggs, a bit like our spaghetti, Woo Sen are mung bean vermicelli. You will also find Giew, for making ravioli, Guay Jab for spring rolls.
On the sidewalks of the city
According to the ILO (International Labor Organization) there are nearly 500,000 street vendors today, the vast majority of them women, who provide a meal at least once a day to 10 million people in Bangkok. In 1952 there were only 2,400, mainly from the Chinese community. This gigantic market is for a large majority of small entrepreneurs, the only way out. You can find everything, dishes based on noodles, rice, soup, dishes with sauce, grilled meats, snacks, sweets… The stands have become internationalized, Indians, Vietnamese, Laotians, Muslims have come to swell the ranks of its street cooks. There is even a French one, which has a small location on Yaowaraj and which arouses the amused curiosity of passers-by of all origins.
The different kinds of curry in Thailand ( kaeng ) are based on several possible preparations: mixtures of herbs, spices, garlic, shallot and peppers crushed between pestle and mortar. The use of certain spices, but also of coconut cream, was imported from India a long time ago: a curry without coconut cream in its composition will naturally be less sweet and less thick, with the consistency of a Soupe.
While some types of curry still display their distant influences, such as kaeng kari (sweet and yellow) or kaeng matsaman (“Muslim curry”, with potatoes, peanuts and often beef), others have been suitable for Thai cuisine, such as kaeng khiao wan (green and sweet), kaeng phet (red and spicy) and kaeng phanaeng (thick and salty, with peanuts). As for kaeng som , it usually contains fish and gets its sour flavor from the addition of tamarind or, in the northeast, okra leaves. Traditional cool season dish, kaeng liang uses more bland vegetables as ingredients, but its aroma is amplified with very spicy peppercorns.
Eaten simultaneously with other dishes, and not just as a starter, Thai soups often have the tangy taste of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, and are sometimes made very spicy by the addition of chillies. . Favorites include tom kha kai , a creamy coconut-based chicken soup, and the famous tom yam kung , a tangy and sour shrimp soup, this time without coconut milk. Khao tom , a starchy rice soup usually eaten for breakfast, is rarely a hit with foreigners, except to recover from a severe hangover!
One of the lesser-known delicacies of Thai cuisine is yam , or salad, which brings together the four fundamental flavors in perfect harmony. Different combinations of yam are possible – with noodles, meat, seafood or vegetables – but at the heart of each recipe, a zest of lemon juice and a good dose of chilies are essential. Particularly recommended salads are yam som-o (with pomelo), yam hua plee (with banana flower) and yam pla duk foo (with fried catfish).
Desserts are the too often forgotten parents of Thai cuisine. Faced with tough competition with fruits, which are numerous and succulent, they too deserve to be experienced. First of all, Khao Niew Mamuang, the most popular dessert among Thais. It is composed of sticky rice, pieces of mango, all sprinkled with coconut milk. Kanom Bueang, kinds of small crispy tacos made with rice flour, they are filled with coconut cream and sweet or savory fillings. The Bamee Wan, is a dessert based on egg noodles, with an assortment of fruits in syrup, all topped with crushed ice. Khao Mao Tod, fried banana and grilled rice, Sangkaya Faktong, a flan cooked in