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Friday, October 18, 2013

13 MUST-TRY Street Food in Bangkok, Thailand

I am sure by now Bangkok has a portrayed image on everyone's mind as a cosmopolitan city with busy markets and vibrant nightlife and definitely for all shopaholics - a shopping haven, but do you know that the 'land of smiles' has a lot of amazing street food? Well, what you have to do is to walk on the streets. I am not even joking, they got authentic Thai delicacies lined up all across the roads. For starters, head to Chatuchak (only opens on weekends) and experience Thailand at a gastronomical level.

Without furthur ado, here are 13 must-try street food in Bangkok. My words? Do not leave Bangkok without putting all these into your belly.

1. THAI TEA (cha-yen)
Scoring the top spot of the list is Thailand's version of iced milk tea. The distinct sweet and creamy taste would leave you begging for seconds. Moreover, it doubles as an effective thirst quencher in Bangkok's hot weather.

Here we have my bestie, Putri Melati snuggling her cup of iced tea

2. PAD THAI (phat-thai)
A stir-fried rice noodle dish that can be commonly found on the streets and restaurants. Here's an interesting fact: During the late 1930s, due to the overwhelming demand of rice in Thailand, former Prime Minister Luang Phibunsongkhram named this dish 'pad thai' as part of his campaign to decrease rice consumption. Since then, pad thai has become popular and is recognised as one of the national dishes.

A lesser known delicacy to foreigners, this savoury dish is made up of primarily Thai basil, curry fish paste and garnished with coconut cream and lime leaves. It has a soft chewy texture which resembles otah-otah

4. GREEN MANGO SALAD (som tum mamuang)
What is a better appetiser to warm up your taste buds other than a plate of authentic mango salad? This refreshing dish promises no less than a burst of flavours - fruity, sour, spicy, salty and sweet, you got it. If anyone happens to be allergic to mangoes, opt for the papaya version instead.

Fresh seafood grilled on a barbecue pit is not something to be missed.

We were charged 450B (S$18) for a plate of around 8 prawns. Something we learnt that day: ask for the prices first.

Quail eggs are cooked in cast iron pans until crispy and thoroughly cooked. This dish is served with lettuce, hot sauce and a dash of sea salt. As Chef Roger Mookings from foodnetwork says, "not everything needs to be extravagant to be great." Well, it definitely applies to this simple, heart-warming dish.

7. GREEN CURRY (kaeng khiao wan)
What better food is there to represent Thailand, other than tom-yum soup and green curry? For myself, I prefer the latter, as the combination of Thai basil and green chilies, together with coconut milk produces a far richer and sweeter soup. Well, that's personal preference anyway.

Perfect thirst quencher for a hot and humid day. This dessert made up of well.. coconut milk literally is topped with shaved coconut flesh and your selection of assorted fruits, like nuts, pumpkin and cassava.

9. STIR FRIED GLASS NOODLES (pad woon sen)
A variation of pad thai, this dish utilises glass noodles instead of rice noodles. Texture-wise, the noodles tend to be drier and stickier, as it absorbs the black sauces very well. Oh, if you are on a low-carb diet, opt for glass noodles instead, as it contains more protein than carbohydrates, unlike most pastas and noodles.

Prepared by rubbing salt extensively on the fish exterior and stuffing lemongrass into the interior, it is then grilled thoroughly, preserving its freshness and most original flavour. Dipping sauces are usually provided. Eat the skin at your own risk.

11. GLASS NOODLE SALAD (yum woon sen)
Salad made of glass noodles and sliced vegetables and fruits. Similarly to the mango salad, it packs a texture and flavourful punch as an appetiser.

12. MANGO STICKY RICE (khao niaow ma muang)
Where did mango sticky rice go? Some of you might ask. So here it is, on Number 12! I am pretty sure, this dish is no stranger to most of you all. After all, what is better for desserts than the sweetness of fresh mangoes paired with salty coconut-milk sticky rice?

You saw that right. The last must-try street food in this list is an exotic feast of insects in Bangkok. Ranging from silkworms to meal-worms, from crickets to beetles, you just got to try them all. I mean YOLO (you only live once), right? Again, I don't see any differences between chips and these delicacies, they are fried, crispy, greasy and oily, and they are best eaten over a drink or two.

Don't know which insect to choose? Check out this link from Yahoo!:

Crickets in our mouths. Om nom nom.

That is all for the 13 must-try street food in Bangkok! Stay tuned for more travel guides brought to you by none other than yours truly. Peace out.