The richness and variety in Thai food has made signature dishes like Pad Thai and Tom Yam popular all over the world. Adding a little culinary exploration to a holiday in Thailand will reveal even more fabulous dishes and tastes to savour.
Whether you prefer the spicy tang of Tom Yam soup or the multi-layered taste of Pad Thai noodles, there’s little doubt that Thailand boasts some of the world’s best cuisine. In the last twenty years, an increasing number of Thai restaurants have opened in countries around the globe, while visitors to the Kingdom that want to make the most of its unique flavours are literally spoilt for choice.
Thai cooking classes are also widely available around the country, which lets you delve a little deeper into the secrets of this delicious and diverse cuisine. Guests at a private villa can even learn a few top tips from a personal chef in the comfort of their own kitchen.
Below are some tasty holiday tips.
Cooking is an important part of Thailand’s rich and vibrant culture and cooking classes offer a fascinating insight for visitors who want their vacation to be an authentic window into the country’s culinary tradition. Holiday hotspots like Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui are peppered with reputable cooking schools that offer day classes or longer courses for visitors to learn the basics of Thai cooking. If you like the idea of a day in the kitchen, look out for classes that include a visit to the local market to source fresh produce. This way, you can build key knowledge of true Thai flavours from the ground up.
There are few things more divine than a sumptuous home cooked meal following a day of sightseeing, or even an afternoon spent lounging by the side of your villa’s private pool. Many guests in Thailand’s private holiday villas choose to hire the services of a private chef to fully enjoy the delights of Thai cuisine without having to leave the comfort of their chosen holiday home. A chef can offer insider tips on how to cook Thai style and will also be able to explain the foundations of Thai cooking – from the core flavours to the delicate seasonings. Watching a chef at work is also a sure fire way to glean inspiration for when you arrive back home.
No trip to Thailand is complete without a few street food treats. Sampling the local specialities provides visitors with an authentic insight into how the locals eat on a day-to-day basis. Guests staying in one of Thailand’s private holiday villas will find their villa manager a wealth of information on the best local dishes worth sampling, and which places cook the best. Street food is also the perfect option if you are dining on the go and in the mood for a few mouth-watering snacks rather than a full sit-down meal.
Eat Like a Local
As well as guiding guests on the best places to eat street food, villa managers are also a mine of information on the best local restaurants. To avoid tourist traps, savvy visitors follow the locals when searching for a memorable Thai feast. On Koh Samui, Krua Chai Baan is a seafood favourite situated near popular Lamai Beach where specialities include plah nueng manao
(steamed fish with lemon juice and chilli). On Phuket, Laem Hin Seafood, a few miles north of Phuket Town by the ocean, is the place to go. Even salads at this restaurant pack a mighty punch of flavour, and dishes like Tom Pret (pictured) are a rare treat.
Staying in a private villa that comes with a fully-equipped kitchen gives guests with a flair for cooking the chance to try their hand at a few Thai dishes while they are on holiday. A trip to the local market to buy essential ingredients like lemongrass, lime and fresh chilli can be an entertaining local experience. For this in search of an easier approach, Blue Elephant’s selection of cooking sauces offer a simple way to achieve tangy Thai flavours with a high degree of success. Four sauces – fish, chilli, oyster, and sweet chilli - are indispensable in authentic Thai cuisine.
by Wayne Hue