This entry is highly NOT recommended for reading during night due to high possibility of sudden hunger or food craving. But well, since it’ll probably make you want to visit us more, please go ahead LOL.
Today I’m going to dive into something a bit more specific. Actually, I’m going to let you know something that the usual guide books won’t ever tell you about. It’s about our FOOD!!
Our Signature Dishes
I’m pretty sure if you have any slightest bit of interest in Thailand, you’d probably know these dishes already.
Tom Yum Goong
Som Tum (Papaya Salad)
Spicy Vermicelli Salad
Pretty basic right? Okay, I’ll show you a little more not-so-commonly-known dishes then. These are not so common in Thai guide books.
Thai Seafood in Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Talay)
Stir-Fried Rice Noodle with Chicken
E-sarn Sausage (E-sarn = Northeastern region of Thailand)
Fried Sea Bass with Black Pepper
Barbecued Red Pork with Rice
Kale Fried in Oyster Sauce
Start noticing something? There are few dishes that look so similar to other countries’ dishes right? Our Thai food is so diverse that it overlaps with many other countries’ dishes. Actually, the basic foundation of our food is “Making as various types of food with our available resources”. That is why you’ll always see many dishes similar to each other all the time. But don’t worry, we all really savor the small differences here. Now let me bring you to the core point I’m trying to let you know.
If you’re Magic player, you probably already know what Altered Cards are. They are cards altered and/or redrawn to make it more appealing to the collectors. Thai food is pretty similar in concept.
If you’ve been to Thailand before, have you ever wonder what these food stalls sell? You won’t really see any of the above-mentioned dishes at all. They are called “Aharn-Tam-Sung” or Made-to-order food that I mentioned in the last article. Basically, the stall owner just stores all of the basic ingredients for basic to semi-basic dishes, and he/she just cooks whatever they are ordered. Half of the time, people will order basic dishes like:
Fried Basil Rice
Pad See Eew (Soy sauce stir-fried noodles)
But at other times, we start seeing a lot of small customizations to their dishes:
Fried Rice with Omelet
Seafood Fried Rice
Fried Rice with Basil and Fried Egg
Fried Rice with Shrimp and Basil and Fried Egg
Pad See Eew (using Thin Rice Noodle)
Pad See Eew with no Vegetables
There are actually hundreds of customizations we normally order such as not too spicy, less rice but more meat, please add this and that in, no this and that please, etc. You see, this is why we call them “Aharn-Tam-Sung”. Just like Altered Cards, the store owner will do their best to add in more customizable value into the products to favor the customers.
We’re not done yet. Let’s move to the noodle stalls.
This can get even more complicated. Can you believe all of these are served at the same price (or very similar)?
Yes, we can customize as much as we want (as long as it’s reasonable OR you are willing to pay a little more). I personally prefer “No veggies, no bean sprouts, more meat balls, more wonton, and add in sour red sauce” (this will probably come with extra 5-10 Baht, but I’m fine with that <3 ). Just the noodle itself, we already have 4-5 types of noodles we normally serve here. Let’s have a quick look:
Big flat noodle (Sen-Yai)
Thin rice noodle (Sen-lek)
Egg noodle (Sen-ba-mee)
Instant noodle (Sen-mama)
Actually, there are so many more, but let’s stop at that for now. Sounds confusing? It’s very common here. So don’t be afraid to try it too!!
We’re done here? No way~~~~~
Let me introduce you to “Khao Gaeng Restaurant”. The direct translation would be “Curry on Rice” but actually it’s more like “What do you want to eat with rice?”. Basically it’s a type of food stall that serves ready-made cuisine accompanied with rice. The more you want, the more it costs, but it allows you to have everything you want at the same time instead of having to order a lot of dishes. The price varies from place to place, but the average should be around 30 Baht ($1 USD) for a plate of rice with a side. Average additional charge per side can range from 5 – 15 Baht ($0.20 – $0.50 USD).
So after ordering, you’ll probably end up with something like this.
You see, almost everyone who walks from the stall will be likely holding a plate with different contents on it. This is why we call it customizable. This type of restaurant is very popular for office workers everywhere in Bangkok because it’s very easy and quick. You’ll normally see this kind of place very crowded during lunch time because they have to finish eating before the lunch break is over. I guess there should be one very close to Central Ladphrao (the venue of MF Bangkok) too.
Useful terms for ordering foods in Thailand (not applicable to every restaurant, but most of the street foods are okay)
(“Ka” is ending the sentence for female, and “Krub” is for male.)
Menu mee mai ka/krub? – Do you have a menu?
Menu passa angrit mee mai ka/krub? – Do you have an English menu?
Mee arry arroy bang ka/krub? – What do you have that’s good to eat?
Gin jay – Vegetarian.
Mai sai namtarn – No sugar.
Mai sai pong choo rote – No MSG.
Gin gung mai dai – I can’t eat prawns.
Gin talay mai dai – I can’t eat seafood.
Mai ped – Not spicy.
Ped mak mak – Very spicy.
Mai sai prik – No chili.
Khor Pised – Extra large dish please.
Aroi – Delicious.
Chob mak mak – I liked it a lot.
Im mak mak – I’m very full!
Hong nam yoo tinai ka/krub? – Where are the toilet?
Kob khun ka/krub – Thank you.
Sawasdee ka/krub – Hello/Goodbye.
Tao rai ka/krub? – How much is this?
Chick bin ka/krub – The bill.
If you have any special preference for a certain type of food, you can also ask if they do have such specific menu (most likely going to be the last few pages of the menu, but it doesn’t hurt to ask beforehand.) Vegetarian foods are quite easy to find in Thailand, but the level of variety may not be that high since it’s pretty minority group here. If there is any other special preference you want to ask about, please feel free to ask me on any channel below.
Well, this is probably all I could think of right now. Before I close this entry, please keep in mind that the price of each dish can vary from place to place. If you’re eating in a department store, don’t expect it to be as cheap as a roadside stall. Or if you’re eating somewhere in the middle of the city, expect your dish to cost more than outer rim of the city. Pretty common sense right? Personally, I highly recommend you try foods on side street more. They tend to be more delicious and friendly to customization than those in the mall or big restaurants.
If there is anything you’d like to know more about Thailand, feel free to contact me at any time! I’d love to help all of you. I may even put it on this blog further so that everyone could know it as well. Here are some channels you can get in touch with me:
Hope you all enjoy this article. Thanks very much for reading and see you soon in Thailand 🙂