What is Thai food like?
I thought it would be wonderful to throw a spotlight on a fantastic foodie Instagram account and to also get a Thai view on Thailand, it’s food and culture.
So I sat down and had a chat with the lovely lady behind the Instagram account Have a Feast. A native Thai born and bred who now lives in Denmark. Her ‘gram will have you drooling and hungry for delicious Thai treats and meals. The food is artfully presented and she regularly posts “how to cook” videos. If you’re interested in learning to cook real Thai food then this is a great place to learn.
I love Thai food. It was love at first bite. Oh, Thai food, you had me at tom yum. It was the first dish I tasted on that first sultry night in Thailand. Footsore and soul weary after a long flight I stumbled across a beautiful restaurant.
It was terribly romantic as all the best love stories are. The restaurant was by the river. Impossibly beautiful. A million candles flickered on the far bank – as if just for us. Those things and moments are beautiful but couldn’t hold a candle to the bold complex sassy beautiful flavours of the tom yum.
Much of the Thai food in Europe and North America is westernised. It was quite the shock to try an authentic Thai green curry for the first time. Spoiler: It’s spicy!!! Thai is one of the world’s great cuisines. There’s a lot that’s misunderstood about Thai food and Thailand itself.
So what is real Thai food like? Is all Thai food spicy? What about Durian? What foodie tips are there for visiting Thailand?
Let’s ask an actual Thai Native! Let’s ask a real Thai cook! Let’s go!!
Can you tell a little bit about yourself?
“I am an ex-office mouse who was working 9-5 jobs 5 days a week until I got pregnant and decided to put that on hold to take care of my baby. In end I didn’t feel like going back to the corporate world anymore so I decided to find something else to do that would make me happy and still have time for my baby.”
“After doing some pros and cons analysis, food blogging seems to be the best option for me because I like to cook, looking at food, taking photos, socializing with people and lastly (as my hubby pointed out) I like to be on the phone all the time.”
“I grew up in Thailand, the central part, Saraburi province which is about 1 hour from Bangkok. I moved to DK (Denmark) to study masters degree, got a job here and I have lived here ever since (around 15 years.)”
Is Denmark a good place to live?
“Denmark is very convenient. Life here is not complicated. Everything works. There are not that big of a gap in society. There would not be anyone who will die of poverty or because of health care they can’t afford. Those are things that would never happen in Thailand. Also, Denmark is also a great country to raise children for so many reasons.”
Food culture in Thailand?
“Thai people are foodie in general. We would travel hours to just go to a place for 1 meal and left, as it is a common thing people would do. The variety of foods, and ingredients freshness. Tasty and colourful. Thai people are very particular about their food.“
“My parents are great cooks and very picky with food, as they would be the best food critics you would ever meet So even with simple stuff they would pay attention to all the ingredients. So my palette is very spoiled! I know great food when I eat it.“
Why is Thai food so good?
“I think the taste of Thai food makes it so special because you can find all the tastes (sweet, sour, salty, spicy) in 1 dish. That makes it stand out from other cuisines where they mainly focus on the inner taste of ingredients (if you know what I mean) I think the key to good Thai food is the right amount of seasoning to make a perfect balance and fresh ingredients, of course!“
“And the balance goes even further because you consider the dishes that go together too It is all about balance and harmony for the dishes to serve or be eaten at the same mealtime.“
“The basic conversation at home would be… Ok, I want to eat Larb today. What else should I make? What type of soup? What about stir fried? And shall we have a grilled chicken too? That will be an everyday conversation at home????”
What thai food should I try beyond the typical thai food everybody knows?
“Thai noodle soups!“
“People only familiar with the more famous Pho, ramen or Chinese noodles but I think Thai noodle soups are much better. I like them too but I like Thai noodle soup more! Thai noodle soup has so many complex flavours in the broth I have a cookbook specifically for Thai noodles.”
What is misunderstood about Thai cuisine by foreigners?
“They think It is always too spicy I often met people who are scared of Thai food because they are afraid that it would be too spicy for them. It isn’t all spicy Thai food. Some Thai dishes need to have a spicy taste but There are dishes that are not spicy too.“
“They think getting Thai ingredients is difficult but some herbs can be replaced! Krapow and basil actually not that far off. Some things I wouldn’t replace. For example, ginger to replace galangal!“
What are the biggest misconceptions about Thailand?
“That we are a super 3rd world country. That we are as behind as Laos or Burma or Cambodia. (For people who never been to Thailand)“
“And sex tourism that actually is only in Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket or main tourist area. They assume that we (Thai) all have seen Ping Pong show! Then of course with all the extreme bad stuff they experience because they were a tourist and assume that is how overall Thailand is!“
The best Thai Street Food?
“Ok best Thai street food? Can I say everything?!“
“Be open-minded and try everything. Do you know why street foods are good in Thailand? It’s because there is very high competition and Thai people are very picky about food. So if you are not really good at what you make, you will be out of business in no time. They often sell a specific dish or menu and they usually excel it because they have been making it for many years.”
“If I have to be specific I would pick noodle soups.“
best night market in bangkok?
“Actually Night market is such a touristy place for my liking. Everything is overpriced and I could get better and cheaper stuff from other places.“
“But of course, for tourist with a short amount of time and knowledge about good places in Bangkok a night market is a great place to go because then you can experience things more!“
“Then Rot Fai market is the best to go, based on the options on the things that available there.“
“Like mentioned earlier about big competition. You have to be good to be in business and they usually been in the business for generations to perfecting the thing they do. So it is always safe to say it so rare that you would get bad food. Or don’t go to new established looking place.“
Durian. Can a huge spiked weapon fruit really be a food?
“Hey, don’t hurt my beloved fruit! You ask the wrong person. I am biased. I am a hardcore fan ???? My hubby doesn’t like it too but he loves me enough to sometime bought it home for me!“
“Ok you are not a real Thailand food or fruit fan after all!“
how to choose durian?
“The too ripe ones, those taste and smell stronger and are not good for beginners. Start with hard ones. If it still too young it will taste nothing but potato. But it will never be overripe.“
Best fruits in Thailand to try?
“Thai mango, but my heart also go to rambutan, mangosteen, guava, custard apple and durian.“
Foodie Tips when Traveling to thailand for the first time?
“Eat local where the local eats. Visit a 7/11 to check out everything there is to offer. Try at least 1 street food vendor, starting with noodle soup, and maybe try moo ping.“
A big thank you to the lovely lady behind the Have a Feast Instagram. I appreciate giving your generous time. It was great chatting with her and I may do more interviews in the future with other bloggers or Instagrammers.
The more we reach out and try to understand each other the closer we are. Much misfortune in this world is born out of the alienation of others or misunderstanding. In the end, we all want the same things. We want to be safe, to have food on the table, a roof over our heard, to be happy and be loved. All the rest is simply details. But those details, those differences, are rich and wonderful and make the world so brightly coloured.
Before you go, a little further reading. Below are some recommendations to start you off cooking the wonderful food of Thailand in your home. It’s much easier than you think!
Cooking Thai food at home: Books
For those interested in cooking real Thai food at home there are a couple of fantastic cook books that I recommend.
Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home – By Pailin Chongchitnant
“Pai” was born and raised in Thailand but later moved to Canada where she become a well respected Chef! She now works full time on her YouTube channel.
What I love about this book is that gives you the tools to understand and cook real Thai food for yourself. Fully half of the beautiful book is dedicated to explaining everything you could possibly want to know about cooking Thai food. It explores the ingredients, the flavours, the balance, and more. I’ve learned so much from this book and re-read it many times. If you really want to get started seriously cooking authentic Thai food then this is the book for you!
“Hot Thai Kitchen expresses perfectly all the reasons I fell in love with Thai food. It covers everything you need to know to get started cooking: how, what, where, and not to mention the beautiful recipes!”– Angus An, Chef/Owner of the Award-Winning Maenam Restaurant
Buy at Amazon US or Amazon UK but also available from other flavours of Amazon and other good book shops.
Baan: Recipes and stories from my Thai home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge
Respected food writer and cook Kay Plunkett-Hogge spent half her life in Thailand. She spoke Thai before she could speak English. In Thailand, she’s welcomed back as “na farang hua jai – the foreign-faced girl with the heart of Thai“
Another great Thai cooking book! This has over 120 authentic Thai recipes in it! It has all the classics: Green curry, red curry, pad Thai, masaman, tom yum, and som tam as well as many lesser known brilliant dishes like (my favourite) Pad Krapow.
The writing is clear and easy to follow. Each of the recipes are little love letters to a food that is clearly the food of home. Each recipe comes with some small explanation or history. There are also pages solely dedicated to particular food groups such as noodles, curries, soups, and so on. If you want to cook delicious real Thai food then you can’t go wrong with this.
‘This book is appealingly accessible for the Thai food novice…a breath of fresh air.’– The Daily Telegraph
You can buy it at Amazon or all good book retailers.
Cooking Thai curry at home: curry Pastes & coconut milk
Since Thai curry is so famous you might like to try one of these first. They are really easy to make too.
Best Thai Curry Paste
I recommend Mae Ploy curry paste. These pastes are popular and well respected in Thailand and used every day in people’s homes. Masari is another great brand for Thai curry pastes. I’ve personally only tried a couple of their products and mostly use Mae Ploy.
Best Coconut Milk
The best coconut milk is really important. There’s a lot of bad coconut milk out there. If coconut milk is the main ingredient then your final dish will suffer. So if you want a quality coconut milk for Thai curry I recommend Chaokoh coconut milk or Aroy D coconut milk. Out of the two, I prefer Aroy D but (at least here in the UK) Chaokoh is easier to find.
Thats all folks!
I hope you found this interesting. If you are already a Thai food fan then you hopefully found the interview enlightening. If you’ve never cooked or even never tasted Thai food before then I truly hope that this is the start of your very own love affair with Thailand’s amazing food.
You can find my own Travels with my Belly Instagram where you’ll find a lot of Thai food, food in general and travel photography.
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