A trip to Thailand is full of many incredible experiences, from the luxury spa life and stunning wilderness to pristine beaches. But, one of the first things that comes to mind when most people think of Thailand is the food.
Aromatic spices, and a distinctive blend of sweet, sour, salty, and savory flavours characterise Thai cuisine. A cuisine culture that takes your senses on a journey from the streets of Bangkok to the tourist towns of Phuket & Phang Nga and hottest new fine dining spots in Chiang Mai.
The variety of cuisine available in Thailand is simply mind boggling. From tried and tested to trendy and new, common and convenient kuai tiao (noodle soup) to popular khao man kai (chicken and rice) and spicy som tam (papaya salad), Thai streets and restaurants are a foodies dream.
Thailand Street food
Thailand’s markets and street food are a huge part of Thai food culture. Good Thai food can be enjoyed anywhere, but it’s said that if you are after real authentic food, you should hit the streets of the major tourist cities first.
A basic meal of rice or noodles, meat, and vegetables from a street-side vendor can be just as delicious as the Thia restaurant on the corner. The common types of Thai street food you will find include Noodle soup filled with aromatic spices and abundant flavors; Satay delicious skewers of pork, beef, or other meats, accompanied by peanut sauce make a great meal or snack; and spicy salads which can include a selection of green papaya, grilled chicken, and an ample supply of spices.
The locals are friendly – and while you may have to dodge a scooter or two – street food is an ideal place to sample it all.
Thailand Micheline dining
Although there is a ton of incredibly cheap and delicious street food available, cities such as Bangkok, and increasingly Chiang Mai have some of Southeast Asia’s best restaurants.
To highlight this trend in fine dining, Thai tourism authorities have teamed up with century-old France-based Michelin renowned the world over for their restaurant star rating system. The partnership produced the first Michelin Guide Bangkok. The inaugural Bangkok guide highlights 98 restaurants including international, Asia and mostly Thai with 28 Thai street-food stalls. A first for Michelin.
The Michelin Guide Bangkok, Phuket and Phang Nga 2019 edition has recently been released and includes 217 dining locations, as well as lodging. Three restaurants in Bangkok that previously had stars kept theirs even with new chefs running the restaurants. They are Elements, Nahm, and Saneh Jaan. On Phuket, PRU restaurant was award a star. Located at a luxury resort, it uses fresh ingredients grown on its own 96-hectare organic farm.
In 2020 Chiang Mai will be added to the guide. With its thriving food scene, this major tourist attraction offers an enchanting blend of the old and the modern, including when it comes to the city’s fantastic culinary scene. The diversity of food and eateries is impressive, ranging from high-end restaurants catering to the fine-dining crowd to small local joints serving Lanna-style dishes full of flavours and aromas.
For the millions of tourists who visit this incredible country each year, the impressive range of food spots and flavours has something on offer to suit all tastes and budgets.
Read more: A Culinary Tour of Thailand