We will be celebrating Songkran this April. It is the biggest and most prominent Thai festival given that it is Thailand’s New Year’s Day. Featuring massive parades, pageants and their legendary water festival, Songkran perfectly showcases the essence of the Thai culture and the unique sense of fun they have. One of the biggest things people look forward too during the festival is, of course, the food. Here is the top 5 Thai dishes you must absolutely try if you want to taste the vibrant culture of Thailand.
Tom Yum Goong
Tom yum goong was birthed sometime during the 1700s in Thailand. The name was derived from two Thai words. ‘Tom’ refers to the boiling process while ‘Yam’ means mixed. This flavourful mixed boil is made with stock, shrimp, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and pepper flakes. The perfect harmony of these ingredients creates a bowl tasty of hot and sour broth. The dish is also popular in neighbouring southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Brunei as they possess a love for hearty spicey dishes like the people of Thailand. Paired with a steaming bowl of rice, you can never go wrong.
Another dish that upholds the traditional Thai flavours is the Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that is well known as it is jam packed with traditional flavours and can be quickly put together. The dish dates back to the ancient Ayutthaya kingdom when it was brought over by Vietnamese traders and adopted by Thailand. It is made by creating a harmonious combination of eggs, tofu, tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, red pepper, sugar, and roasted peanuts. It gained its popularity by being a cheap and widely available street food from the roadside stalls in Thailand and now, chefs spice things up by adding pork or seafood such as crab to elevate the dish. It really does not matter how Pad Thai is made, as long as the basis of the recipe stays true to the original, it is sure to please.
Mango Sticky Rice
What’s a great meal without a first-rate dessert? The mango sticky rice is often featured round the globe in meals exhibitions and cooking shows and is arguably the most well-known of all Thai desserts. Made with cooked sweet coconut milk, the sticky rice is placed aside glistening bed of mango- making for a delectable and great healthful treat. This dish is historically served during the summer in Thailand during the months of April and May (while mangoes are in season), simply in time for Songkran!
In English it is called green papaya salad, the dish is enjoyed widely in Southeast Asia and is believed to have been originated from Loas. Out of all the variations of the dish, Thailand’s Som Tam is the most famous. It has even been listed in CNN’s compilation of most delicious dishes in the world back in 2011. The Thai dish is characterized by its combination of the five main tastes of local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savoury fish sauce, and sweetness from the palm sugar. Having said that, it is also normal for customers to prepare the dish according to their own taste, so go nuts!
The last dish I would like to talk about is a Thai interpretation of a Persian dish, massaman curry. The humble dish has also acquired a name for itself, wining the spot in the CNNGo’s list of Most delicious foods. Originating in Central Thailand during the 1600s, the dish is mainly made out of coconut milk and a unique blend of ingredients. The blend usually is crafted with meats (beef, duck, chicken), onion, peanuts, potatoes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, star anise, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili sauce, and tamarind sauce. It can be enjoyed with bread, or a warm bowl of jasmine rice similar to the curry we have here in Singapore.
Now that you know the ‘must try’ dishes of the Thai cuisine, wipe the drool of your mouth and get out there to celebrate the flavors of Thailand and the Songkran festival. If you need a list of deliciously cheap Thai food as well, don’t worry, just click here.