Even when you’ve had your fill of the Thai food classics; there are plenty of other delightful spicy dishes to try during a vacation in what is one of the world’s most celebrated culinary destinations – just ask your private chef.
Thanks to its perfect blend of sweet, sour and fiery flavours, Thai food is wildly popular across the globe, but there is nowhere better to savour the authentic taste of traditional Thai dishes than in the country itself.
On popular islands like Phuket and Koh Samui a plethora of top class restaurants boast “must-eat” menu items, while a good number of local eateries also offer authentic treats.
With a busy schedule of on-island or off-island exploration, there are also likely to be days when you really don’t want to leave the comfortable surroundings of your private villa, even to enjoy some tasty Thai food.
Fortunately, the resident chef will be more than happy cook up one of the spicy favourites below for a delicious dinner at home.
Fresh Fish Favourite
Thailand’s seas are a rich source of delectable fresh seafood, with everything from barracuda and tuna to red or white snapper on daily display at the fresh market. If you’re in the mood to sample the fruits of the sea, consider asking your villa’s resident chef to whip up a sweet and spicy fish dish rather than the standard chicken and cashew nuts. Chu chi pla
is one of the creamiest, riches Thai fish dishes and uses a meaty white fish as the base ingredient, which is slowly cooked in a mouth-watering mix of coconut milk, curry paste, chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Shrimp paste and galangal bring an extra flourish of flavour, and served over a bowl of steaming coconut rice, this dish will leave you wanting a repeat performance before you leave.
Local Style Soup
If you’re searching for a light lunch after a morning of sunbathing by the pool, a spicy bowl of Thai soup can be particularly refreshing. Options such as Tom yam gung
(sweet and sour prawn soup) and Tom kha gai
(coconut milk chicken soup) are the most well-known to foreigners, but Gaeng som
is actually one of the most popular soup choices amongst locals. The sour flavour of this soup is something of an acquired taste and tends to dominate, but there are a number of regional variations that mean the dish is always a surprise. The flavour base features ground chillies, fresh turmeric root and a generous helping of garlic, all of which bring their own powerful flavours to the dish.
If you thought that Thailand’s egg-based dishes only stretched to fried rice and minced pork omelettes, think again. Pongali
is one of the creamiest curries you will ever taste and the sauce is thickened up with egg. The main spicy flavour of the sauce comes from yellow curry powder, in addition to chopped onions, chillies and celery. If you’re having the dish cooked at your private villa, your chef will be able to add a meat of your choice before adding the egg that transforms the dish into a rich and decadent delight – crabmeat is a particularly delicious choice.
Spicy Dry Dish
Most people associate Thai curries with meat and sauce served over a bed of rice, but in Thailand this isn’t always the case. In fact, for spice lovers, the Kingdom’s array of dry curries often provide more of a chilli kick than those watered down with coconut milk. Kua Kling
originates from southern Thailand, so islands like Koh Samui and Phuket are the perfect places to try it. Minced meat (usually pork or beef) is combined with an array of Thai spices, diced chillies and peppercorns. The resulting dish offers an explosive blend of flavours that is perhaps not for the faint hearted.
For those with a penchant for fresh fish dishes, Pad phet pla duk tod
is well worth a try. Freshly caught catfish is one of the most popular and enduring ingredients in Thai cuisine and in this case the meat is chopped into small pieces before being fried until delectably crunchy. The pieces are then stirred in sweet chilli sauce and garnished with kaffir lime leaves before being served with chillies for a little extra spice.