If you’re on holiday in Thailand and the temperature is soaring, seek out one of the delectable, refreshing local desserts that combine a sweet treat with a quick way to cool you down.
The common belief that Thai cuisine is limited to spicy curries and fiery soups couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Land of Smiles has plenty of dishes in its impressive culinary repertoire that are light, refreshing and great for cooling you down in the tropical heat.
With Thailand now a truly international destination, icy, thirst-quenching dishes from other Asian countries have also become firm favourites at restaurants across the country.
Below is a selection of sweet dishes that are sure to cool you down on a balmy afternoon.
Thai Twist on a Summer Classic
Available in a plethora of sweet, rich and fruity flavours, could there be anything better to snack on when you’re hot than a bowl of ice cream? Actually, the answer is yes. Thai ice cream, known as ‘itim’, is lighter and sweeter than its Western counterpart. Made with coconut rather than cow’s milk, this colourful local treat comes in an array of delectable flavours, which include exotic fruit such as custard apple and jackfruit. There’s even a local Thai tea flavour. Served with a drizzle of syrup, fresh fruit and kernels of boiled corn on top, you simply can’t leave Thailand without trying this cooling treat.
This traditional Thai dessert was originally made as an exclusive dessert in the royal palaces, however, when something tastes this good it’s never too long before everyone wants to partake in the culinary experience. The dish is made using water chestnuts dipped in red food colouring and tossed in cassava flour before being served up in a dish of ice and creamy coconut milk. Many local restaurants will season this with salt for an extra punch, demonstrating the exquisite balance of sweet and salty flavours in traditional Thai food.
Dessert on the Go
If you’re hot, peckish but you haven’t got time to sit down and eat, Thai milk tea is the perfect choice. You can find this local favourite at pretty much any coffee shop or roadside drinks vendor in the country. First of all, a strong black tea is brewed with boiling water, often flavoured with spices such as crushed tamarind and cardamom. A blend of condensed milk and dairy milk is then added to the brew for sweetness, before the mixture is poured over a cup of ice.
Contrary to popular opinion, not all icy, thirst-quenching dishes have to be sweet – as proved by the traditional Korean noodle dish, naengmyon
. Chilled savoury broth with ice forms the refreshing base of this dish, while buckwheat noodles bring the sustenance. Fresh pear, cucumber, pickled radish and thinly sliced beef pack in the rest of the flavour. This summery dish originated in the Northern part of the Korean peninsula, and its popularity has spread far and wide since then. Thailand is home to a wealth of excellent Korean restaurants, so you’ll never have to look to far to get your hands on a chilled bowl of naengmyon
Taste of China
Chinese communities are spread throughout Thailand, which means plenty of wonderful dishes from the mainland can be found at local and high-end restaurants across the Kingdom. When it comes to refreshing tastes, one of the local favourites is sago soup, also known as sai mai lou
. This Cantonese dessert is made from coconut milk and evaporated milk, with tapioca used to add substance. Other fruity ingredients such as mango, durian and pumpkin can be added to give the dish extra flavour and the dish is the perfect choice when you’re in need of a modest sweet treat after indulging an Thai feast.