Tom yum goong is one of the most popular soups in Thailand. It translates to ‘sour soup’ in English, thanks to the sharp and tangy flavours. It’s usually a clear-coloured broth and comes with mounds of lemongrass, king prawns, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, red chillies and tomatoes. You’ll be able to order this tasty dish in most Thai restaurants but the best way to experience it is from an authentic street food stall. Make tracks for Koh San Road in Bangkok, for example, and you’ll be able to pick from tonnes of glorious-smelling food stalls. Plus, you’ll get a real taste for Thai culture if you sit among the locals as you sip your soup.
If it’s your first trip to Thailand, you have to try som tum. This fiery Thai salad really packs a punch in terms of spiciness – but don’t be put off by this, it’s really delicious, too. This small but mighty dish is the ideal afternoon snack when you’re exploring places like Takua Pa’s old town in Khao Lak, where there are plenty of stalls selling it. The salad’s crammed with freshly-picked papaya, tomatoes, garlic, tamarind, fish sauce, chillies and dried shrimp. And you can drizzle a helping of Thai sweet chilli sauce over the top if you’re feeling extra brave.
Want to try a classic Thai dish? Look no further than a Thai green curry. This mouth-watering and aromatic dish is one of the most renowned in the Land of Smiles, so you won’t have any trouble finding restaurants that serve it. This green-coloured curry is made from coconut milk, fish sauce, chillies, basil leaves, tofu and turmeric, and it’s served with sticky Thai rice, too. If you want to add some meat to your plate, you can pick from chicken, pork or shrimp. Also, this dish is reasonably mild in terms of spiciness, so it’s ideal for first timers.
A holiday to Thailand is incomplete unless you sink your teeth into a massaman curry. Thanks to southern Thailand’s position in the Andaman Sea, there’s strong Malay influence when it comes to the cuisine, here. And this is where the flavoursome dish originates from. There’s a variety of ingredients which include red curry paste, shrimp paste, cumin seeds, coconut milk and jasmine rice. Most Thai restaurants serve this exotic-tasting dish, and it usually comes with a traditional spicy salad, too.
If you’re after a creamier and milder meal while holidaying in the Land of Smiles, a penang curry is the ideal option. This dish is sweeter than most Thai curries, so it’s very popular among tourists. The orange-coloured sauce is made from the four staple ingredients of Thai cooking: fish sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sweet soy sauce. On top of that, you’ll also taste Thai basil leaves, deep-fried chicken, peanuts and chillies on your plate. Plus, you can always add in an extra helping of palm sugar if it’s too spicy. Fancy trying this dish? Here’s where you can find out about our Thai cooking class excursion in Khao Lak, where you’ll get to prepare and taste the dish, while learning about Thai cooking as you go.
Pad thai (serves 2)
100g flat rice noodles
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of chilli powder
2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
25g preserved salted radish, chopped
200g firm tofu diced
8 raw king prawns shelled
2 eggs, cracked but not whisked
4 spring onions chopped into 4cm lengths
50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Garnishes, to serve: chilli flakes, peanuts and coriander
Soak the rice sticks in plenty of boiling water for 10 minutes until softened but still slightly al dente. Drain and rinse thoroughly in cold water to ensure all grains are separated. Set aside.
Make the sauce by combining the fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar, lime juice and chilli powder in a bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.
Measure out and prepare all of the ingredients and have them within easy reach of the hob and in the order you will use them.
Put a wok on a high heat and add the oil. When the pan begins to smoke - add the tofu. Stir fry until it begins to colour. Add the garlic and radish and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Push everything to the side of the pan and add the prawns, cooking until they have turned pink on both sides. Push aside and add the cracked eggs, piercing the yolks and allowing the whites to partially set before lightly scrambling. Combine everything in the pan, then add the noodles and the sauce. Toss well and cook until the noodles are softened and the sauce has thickened, for about 3 minutes.
Add the spring onions and fold under the noodles, allowing them to soften for a minute. Then do the same to the bean sprouts and finally add the peanuts. Stir until well combined, then serve and garnish.
You’ll have two lake-like pools overlooking ice-white sands at the Le Meridien Khaolak Resort & Spa in Khao Lak.
Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa is the perfect spot for a peaceful getaway. There’s a rooftop restaurant, infinity pools all within a tropical and tranquil setting.
The Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort sits on a white sandy beach with unobstructed views of the Gulf of Thailand.
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