Five Thai Dishes You’ve Never Had Before
If you’ve ever been to a Thai restaurant, chances are you ordered the ever popular pad thai or a red curry dish. While these menu items are all well and good, there is a whole array of Thai dishes that you probably haven’t heard of. For the Urban Mantra sisters, coming home to Thailand is like entering a glutton fest. It’s all about feasting on dishes that are truly authentic in taste and go beyond the typical fare that one finds in Thai restaurants in the U.S. Here are five Thai dishes you have probably never tried…and should.
1. Thai Noodle Soup (Kway Tiew)
Kway Tiew noodle soup is a popular street food in Thailand. While it might be reminiscent of Vietnamese pho, Kway Toew is spicy and tangy, available in a variety of soup flavors and meats, perfect as a light lunch that opens your nasal passageways. Our favorite is tom yum-flavored kway tiew with fish (vegetarian are options also available). Unfortunately, we’ve never seen this dish offered in restaurants abroad and making it at home never quite cuts it.
2. Fried Papaya Salad (Som Tam Thod)
You may have tried som tam, the spicy and lemony shredded papaya salad. But have you ever had fried papaya salad? It’s definitely the less healthy cousin, but oh-so-good! The papaya is fried like a tempura and mixed with chili, minced garlic, lime juice, and shrimp (vegetarians can order this without the shrimp). It’s the perfect appetizer to enjoy while you wait for your entrée.
3. Chicken Wrapped in Pandan Leaf (Gai Haw Bai Toey)
We had completely forgotten about this dish until we saw the folks on the table next to us eating it at a recent dinner out! Seasoned chicken pieces are wrapped and slowly cooked in pandan leaves that keep the juices inside. The end result? Soft, succulent, and flavorful pieces of chicken that leave you wanting more!
4. Fish With Black Pepper Sauce (Pla Pad Prik Thai Dum)
If you’re a fan of fish, I definitely recommend trying this stir fried preparation of fish with vegetables. The dish is a perfect balance of spicy (black pepper), greens, and fish, keeping it low cal and delicious!
5. Miang Kham
Miang Kham, Thailand’s answer to India’s paan (our fun writeup on paanhere), is a popular snack where vegetables, shallots, ginger, and other spices are wrapped in betel leaves. The essence of Thai flavors are packed into this bite-sized snack. Like paan, the magic is in chewing all the ingredients together to reveal the rich spices and flavors inside.
So the next time you visit Thailand or enter a Thai restaurant in your city, give these dishes a try and let us know what you think!