A basic guide to typical thai food

Thailand is known for the beautiful landscape, amazing beaches, great shopping, smiling people (beautiful women?!)..and ofcourse for the food! Just by thinking of thai food my mouth is watering!

Thai food is known worldwide and many of you have problably taste some dishes before going to Thailand for the first time. But once you are in Thailand you will be surrounded by so much thai food that you will ask yourself  What is this??

All this food that you are surrounded by are food that you have never seen, smell and taste before. Food that looks delicious and food that looks…strange. Food that smells good and food that…stinks!

But in this post I am not going to write about strange dishes for you guys !

In this post I will simply separate typical thai food and add them into categories to make it easier to navigate and for you to easier understand what you have to deal with.

  1. Khao gaeng
  2. Noodles
  3. Isaan food
  4. Namprik
  5. BBQ
  6. Dessert


1. Khao gaeng


Photo HERE

Khao gaeng are main dishes you normally eat with steam rice. Often in food court or at the food stalls you can chose between 1-3 dishes to go with your rice. These main dishes can be from red curry dishes to stir fry vegetables.

The most known khao gaeng dishes for tourist have to be the curry dishes such as green and red curry, Massaman curry and Panang curry.

Massaman beef curry. Photo: Here with the recipe

Other khao gaeng also very popular among tourist (and thai) are the thai soups tom yum and my favorite tom kha.

Tom kha gai. Photo: Here with the recipe

And there are stir fries dishes in Khao gaeng category that are also very common for tourist. Some examples are stir fry chicken with thai basilchicken cashew nut and sweet and sour chicken.

Stir fry chicken with basil thai. Photo: Here with the recipe


2. Noodles

If we Thais don’t eat Khao gaeng we eat noodles!

You can order your noodles stir fry like the famous pad thai or you can have a bowl of noodle soup. But the most famous thai noodles you know must be the instant noodles you can buy cheaply in all the grocery stores or the gas stations all around the world!😂

The famous Pad thai. Photo: Here with the recipe

For more details about thai soup noodles dishes please check this blog post Luckypeach!

Photo: Here

My favorite noodles dish? They so are many but if I have to chose I would chose Wonton soup and noodle with fish curry (khanom jeen namja).

Wonton soup. Photo: Here

 

3. Isaan

So, when Thais don’t eat khao kaeng or noodles what do they eat? They eat Isaan food, the thai northeastern food!

Isaan food is known for it’s bold flavors. Sweet,salty, sour, very spicy and often “stinky”😂.. as we love it! Another good part with Isaan food is you normally eat the food with the hands.

The most known Isaan food among the non-Thais has to be sticky rice and papaya salad

Sticky rice. Photo: Learn more about sticky rice. Great post!

Papaya salad. Photo: Taem Laek

The meat salads “Laab” or “Nam tok” are aswell very known worldwide.

Porc salad, Nam tok moo. Photo:Taem Leak

My favorite isaan food is sticky rice with bamboo shoot salad.

Bamboo shoot salad. Photo: Here


4. Nam phrik

Nam phrik. Photo: More about thai hot chili sauce here. Great post!

The least known for the visitors but yet a very popular food in Thailand is Nam phrik = hot spicy sauce/paste ! (My own translation!!!)

There must exist atleast 10000 different kind of nam phrik. I can name some: chili paste with rotten fish, chili paste with shrimp paste, chili paste with grounded fish, chili paste with giant water bug.…and the list goes on.

Giant water bug can be one of the ingrediens in nam phrik. Photo: How to eat giant water bug. Intressting reading!

Our nam prik are not only hot sauces to be added to the main dishes. In thai food culture nam phrik can be eaten as a main course simply serve with boiled/fresh vegetables, and rice or sticky rice. Simple, healthy and so darn good if you ask me!

 I can’t think of any nam phrik that are eaten alot by tourist?!? Unless ofcourse you have a thai gf/bf or are married to one..but then you wouldn’t need this guide.😊

My favorite nam phrik is nam phrik pao. 

Nam phrik pao. Photo: More about what you can do with nam prik pao. Great post!


5. BBQ

The whole Thailand smells like BBQ! That is because we Thais love to eat grilled food. You must have seen a bunch of food stalls or wagons where they sell grilled sauges, meatballs, fish and meat on a stick, everywhere and on every hour of the day.

Grilled sauges and meatballs. Photo: Here

Grilled squid. Photo: Here

Something grilled that is ordered very often by tourist has to be the Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. 

Grilled chicken Satay. Photo: More about the delicious satay here. 

Grilled chicken satay. Photo: Here with recipe

My favorite from the grill is grilled skewer porc with sticky rice and nam phrik!! If you have not try it…don’t wait!

Grilled skewer pork. Photo: Here with recipe


6. Dessert



So much dessert to chose from but alot of tourist has atleast tasted once thai pancake aka roti, right? 

Roti

So so so much different kind of dessert! So complicated to explain.

So I am just going to link some good blog posts about thai dessert.

Enjoy!

Migrationology.com
Live-less-ordinary.com 

Bangkokbits.com


Please let me know if you think something is missing or just let me know your favorite thai dish or dessert. Do you prefer eating noodle, isaan or khao kaeng? 







Bang Bao bay, Koh Kut

I have already been in Thailand on high season so many times before so I know that most of the islands and beaches will be packed with people. It’s really not my kind of vacation but if it was not for visiting my thai family I would have gone to Indonesia…

This is not what I was looking for. At Kamala beach, Phuket.

So months before going to Thailand I was reading alot of blogs and forums to find an unspoil beauty, quiet and less devolopped island to visit. I came across Koh Kood or aswell known for Koh Kut. It’s Thailands fourth largest island and it is close to Koh Mak and Koh Chang. 

According to blogs Koh Kut has beautiful paradise beaches with crystal clear waters, several waterfalls to enjoy, good hotels and best of all…not much tourist! 

Once we decided for koh Kut  I then had to chose a beach. And once again thanks to blogs for helping me making my decision, Bang Bao bay beach was our final destination!

From Bangkok it tooked us around 8 hours to arrive to our bungalow at Bang Bao bay. ( I will write a complete guide of how to get there in another post and about our accommodation). Unfortunally we had bad weather for two days so the water was looking rather greyish and dirty than crystal clear bleu!

It was grey for two days and then on the third day when I woke up Bang Bao bay beach was finally looking as I was hoping for, if not even better!  

Can you see the differences between the photo above and this one? Same same but different, right?

The beach is around 1km long with  6 hotels and we stayed at Siam hut for 1300bath/night. (More about the Siam hut in another post)

Look how emty the beach is!! Bang bao bay beach, Koh Kut

What I really love about Bang bao beach is not only for it’s turquoise blue waters and fine sand, I really appreciate the calm sea and the shallow water aswell. You can walk out quite far before it’s getting to deep. It was the perfect beach for us since we are a small family with a toddler. 

Bang bao bay beach, Koh Kut

The sunsets were not the best sunsets but they were was acutally not bad! 

Since we were travelling with a toddler we didn’t get to se other beaches so I can’t say if Bang Bao bay beach is the most beautiful beach of the island but I can say it was perfect for us. 

Other things to do than swim and sunbath on Bang Bao beach is kayaking, having a massage, snorkling and diving. There is a dive center on the other end of the beach. 

We were lucky that my cousin came over for a night and helped us look for our daughter while she was napping so we could sneak out…kayaking!! She was staying at Natural beach resort and kayaks there were for free for guests. But there are kayaks for rent somewhere at the middle of the beach.

And once we managed to get a massage while our daughter was napping! I had a good oil massage 1hour/400 bath while David had ordinary thai massage 1hour/300 bath. You can find the massage hut at the end of the beach at Siam beach resort.

We had five nights at Bang Bao bay beach at Koh Kut and we really loved it!  Just to bad our little daugter was not on her very best mood! Next time we would love to visit the other beaches and waterfalls!

Have you guys been to Koh Kut? Can you recommend other beach on the island?


What Thailand made me miss about being home.

Yes, I still have Travel hangover and yes I am still crying over to be home. But when I was in Thailand I missed alot of things about being home. To move on with my life and to get over this depression I am now trying to focus on those positve things I missed with home when we were away.

It is important that you understand that I am comparing being away in Thailand and not being away in generally because each country is different.

1. Walking

Lumbini parc in central Bangkok is a good place to walk.

My husband and I love to take long spontaneous walks and in Thailand (mostly in Bangkok) we missed walking alot. Yes you can walk mostly everywhere in Thailand but I wouldn’t call it enjoyable. Here are the reasons why.

  1. It’s to hot! You have between 6-9 am and 4-6pm to walk if you don’t want to melt of the heat.
  2. There no sidewalk! If there is one, it is often occupied by street vendors, dogs, parking cars and bikes.
  3. Traffic! People are driving like crazy and people are driving where they don’t suppose to. I am constantly looking over my shoulder when I am walking.
  4. I have already mention dogs! They are everywhere and they can be nasty!
  5. People! To much people!


2. Eating healthier food

Crispy porc is my favorit!

This is more a problem for a health freak like David but one of the thing we missed was eating healthier food ! When you are in Thailand you are surrounded by food everywhere, 24h! It’s easier and cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. The problem is we thai people (included me) love our food very greasy, sweet, salty, sour and spicy and we put meat in mostly everything. It is so delicious but not always very healthy! And when we ate out we had zero control of what they have put in the dishes. Once I ordered an ice tea without sugar. But the ice tea came very sweet. The vendor explained to me that he have put sugar in it beacuse without sugar the ice tea wouldn’t taste good! And we bought once fresh sliced pineapple where the vendor marined the pineapples with sugar to sweeten them. I have no proof but the pineapples cleary tasted like white sugar!

At home we like to buy our food organic and we eat less meat. Don’t get me wrong, in Thailand there are alot of fresh veggies and fruit everywhere but what we missed was a simple home cooked quality meals.


3. Crazy drivers and traffic jam

A fully loaded tuk tuk.

It’s aweful to be in a car jam with a toddler who hates being in a car. I can survive a car jam, but always having fear for my life everytime I am in a car beacause people are driving like I-don’t-care-about-my-life-neither-yours…that it’s so stressful! There where times we had crazy taxi drivers so we asked to change the taxi. We are happy be to back safely!

 

4. Baby chair

How we missed Mirabelles tripp trapp stokke chair!

Without a baby chair she would constantly jump up on the table. Switch between David and I. Go down on the floor and then up on our knees again. Bon appetit!

What we really missed was Mirabelles hight chair! At home she would sit nicely eating in her high chair. Many restaurants in Thailand have chair for baby but so many more don’t have them. For us it was a problem because without the chair Mirabelle would act like a ape by the table jumping around. We had no peace by the table. It was impossible to make a conversation because one of us always have to look after her. Every meal was a disaster!


For those of you who have been in Thailand, do you agree with me? What do you miss when you away from home?  


 

Airport beach, Phuket

In december 2016 we were visiting good friends living in Phuket. We came by plane and was about to land when we flew over a long beautiful beach. Down on the beach some people were waving and some others were swimming in the sea like nothing -big -is -flying over their head. I wanted so bad to be the one down there waving up to the plane! 

How happy wasn’t I when the very same afternoon my friend proposed us to go to Mai khao beach where we could see planes slowly land onto the phuket airport. 

When arrived to the beach my friend pointed out the best spot to have a good glimpse of the planes. If you dare, you can even stand just right under the planes. Just beware of the noices from the engine! Or worse, something falling down?!?

Photo credit: Mai Ronsyn

Photo credit: Mai Ronsyn

If you want to know the arrival time of the next landing plane you can download the app Flightrada24

Mai khao beach, Phuket. 

It’s rarely fun to wait for something but sitting there by the beach waiting for a plane to land…it was fun! 

Warning!!! My friend in Phuket told me that since 2017 for the safety and security reason it is now forbidden to stay around the area where the planes land. Please make sure that it’s allowed if you decide to go there! 


After holiday comes the travel hangover

Yay, you just booked your flight tickets and nights at a hotel by the beach and you are walking with a huge smile everyday till the day.

And when you arrive to the paradise your smile is even bigger because this place is even better than you imagined. For two whole weeks you are happy and you are living to the fullest and are enjoying every minute.

The day comes when you have to pack your bags and take the flight home. And you are still smiling.

You open the front door to your home and you immediate feel it’s good to be home when you lay your head on your pillow.

But for me this feeling of “feels good to be home” normally doesn’t last very long. And this time I didn’t even got the chance to feel “it’s good to be home” because it was blown away by the biting cold wind when we stepped out of the plane. 

We got home last night after spending two month in Thailand. The bags and things are spread out all over the floor. My daughter is all over the place. My head is banging of headache from jetlag. Both my daughter and I got a cold. It doesn’t help that the flat is freezing cold because my husband turned off the heater and forgot to close two windows before he took his plane (my daughter and I left a week before him). And I had to go to the grocery store. It was so cold outside that if I started to cry the tears would freeze into icicle. Then cook…after two month.

There is no place like home…right? If you ask me, I hate beeing home..atleast for now! 

White winter wonderland!

This feeling is normal. It is called “travel hangover”. 

Koh Kood

I get it everytime we come back home from holiday and the feeling is worse than the ordinary hangover. Travel hangover is pain in your soul and heart…almost like a hearthache when you separate from someone that you love. Like having a broken heart, travel hangover feels like it will last forever. But the truth is like everything else time will heal. I will slowly get back into the daily rutin, get use to the cold and the jetlag  will be gone ect. 

Other than time, there are actually ways how to cure your hangover. I will write about that another time. For now, I will just cry my ached heart out. Crying is by the way one of the cure…

When your fussy toddler ruined the vacation.

Imagine a beach with the nicest stretch of white sand, coconut trees swinging and the sea so blue that blends in with the sunny sky. Imagine yourself laying on a hammock listening to the waves hitting the shore. Imagine yourself floating on the warm sea and you are feeling so light and so free. 

For me that is a great vacation!

Photo taken from a restaurant while our little one was whining. At Bang Bao bay beach, Koh Kood.

My vacation photos might seem great but my vacation is not great …far  from great! Imagine yourself walking on that beach but add a whining, crying and a screaming 1 1/2 old who always wants to be carried. Imagine yourself lying on that hammock but instead of hearing the waves  you are hearing your kid whining. Imagine yourself floating on that warm sea while your kid pulls your hair and screams or anything to get your attention. Imagine a sunset dinner by the sea and all you do is to try to keep your child happy. Imagine waking up at 5 am by your toddler who is sitting on your head. 

That is how our five days vacation was at Koh Kut in Thailand! Some people get their vacation ruin by the bad weather, bad service or bad stomach flue. As parents you can get your vacation ruin by your own kid! 

There was no way she wanted to be in the picture! Bang Bao bay beach, Koh Kood.

All the kids are so sweet…most of the time. And the other time they can turn into a little monster. Unfortunally for us our little monster chose to come out during our five days at Koh Kut. As parents we know that our little one is having her teeth growing, that she has a tiny cold, she might be tired, she could be thirsty or hungry, she might be bored or overstimulted…or she is in one of her many phases. The reason for her fussiness are many. We parents just try as best as we can to make her happy or atleast less unhappy  and hope that she will soon wake up one day and the “little monster” is gone. 

And it did! The day we left the beach and was heading back to Bangkok our daughter was smiling again. Finally her happy old self again! Now the vacation can begin! 

Update! After alot of critism from readers I want to add that before we came to Koh Kut we were a week in Bangkok and she was fine. And before Thailand we have been on vacation with our daughter. We have been a week in Santorini. We have been camping and done alot of hikes. And she has never been this complicated before. As I was trying to say at the end of the post, as parents we understand her and we try to do our best to make make her happy. 

It was just so comfortable laying there relaxing but ofcourse she was screaming to get out of the ring. Bang bao bay beach, Koh Kood

General Thai massage course at Wat Po

In 2013 when I was visiting my family I had some time over so I decided to join a week long Thai massage course at WatPo Thai traditional massage school. Just note that the school is not located in the Wat Po temple.

Here are some basic informations:

Course starting : 6 days a week from Monday to saturday for Watpo School and Chetawan TM School

Course duration : 5 days (30 hours) or Pre-arrangement

Class hours : 9.00 am. – 4.00 pm. Monday-Saturday

Course fees : 9,500 Bahts

Methode of payement: Cash , credit card ( Visa and master card) or Money Transfer

Required documents to bring on your first day : 3 pictures of you by 2 inches size and a copy of your photo passport.

If you want to enrol you can do it by emailing: watpo.ttm@gmail.com.

The school offers short courses and professional courses. There are many massage course to choose from. For instance there are foot massage, oil massage and even infant and child massage. 

I remember that the inscription was hassle-free. Even in my case as I am original Thai. I asked for a reduced price but I wanted aswell to take my course in the foreigner group. Luckly they accepted my wish without any problem.

The course starts every morning with a little prayer before all the rubbing began.

In my group we were about 10 students with a good mix of ages and nationalities.

Students practice in pair after demonstration with teacher’s closed supervision. Your massage buddy and you will take turn. The massage has to be done steps by steps. Starts with the feet and ends with the head. About 102 steps, one by one, eight hours for five days.  

Before joining the massage class I have never liked getting a Thai massage as I think Thai massage is more like a torture than a relaxation. I knew it was going to be a physical challenge but I still wanted to have the certificate done.

After the first day at the massage class I was all bruised, I didn’t know what I hated the most. To give the massage or to get the massage. It was exhausting and my thumbs were so numb from giving the massage. And when my massage buddy was giving me the massage I was often biting the pillow of pain!  It was torture! I can’t say how many twist and turns it took me but I eventually got used to the pain…just a little bit.

Inspite of the seriousness of the school the teacher were all very easy going. Joking and laughing around with the students. It made the course more fun.

On the last day = the test day, each student will be able to give a complet massage within a time frame without peaking into the manual-text book or asking your neighbour. Don’t worry and belive me, you will pass! 

Yippie the certificate!

I really recommend this school! Everybody can do it, even an amateur at massage like me. Unforunally I have not done any practice since the course so now after four years I have completely forgotten all the steps. 

Next time if I get another occassion I would like to take a foot massage course.

When it cames to accomodation there are alot of hotel nearby to choose from. I was sleeping at Arom d hostel just down the road not far from the school. 

I was sleeping in a clean and cozy womens dorm for four persons. Normally a bed cost 800bht/ night but since I was there on a low season I got my bed for 400bth and I was the only one there for four nights. I highly recommend this hostel. 

The view from the roodtop of Arom D hostel. 

Does anyone of you like to learn Thai massage? Or do you even like Thai massage? 


A small family of three trying to create a life full of travel and adventure. We love the mountains, the forest, the sea and everything in between! @familyearthtrek

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