Our 5 Favourite Thai Dishes
Bristol Thai Food Festival was a mouth-watering treat last weekend. Bursting with light, fresh flavours accompanied by a serious kick, the delicacies on offer have got us all fired up about Thai cuisine.
Alongside Muay Thai boxing demonstrations, Thai massage and traditional Thai dance, visitors to the festival were able to feast on the famous Thai delicacies they know and love, like pad Thai, Thai green curry and massaman curry.
But the tastiness didn’t stop at well-known favourites – there was also an inspiring range of Thai dishes which are still little known outside of this vibrant Southeast Asian country. Although some of Thailand’s more exotic dishes (such as the chilli water beetle dip; namphrik maeng da) didn’t make it to Bristolian plates, a wide selection of dishes was on offer, from hot spicy tom yum, to the refreshingly crisp zing of yum woon sen.
If you’re feeling inspired to try more Thai, we’ve cooked up a ravishing list of our favourite, lesser known dishes from Thailand. ทานให้อร่อยนะ!
Hailing from Northern Thailand, Gaeng Hang Lay is a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly curry. The stewing of the pork belly makes it irresistibly tender, while the inclusion of tangy pineapple gives this dish a pleasingly fruity note, supported by a light tomato flavour. The base of tamarind, turmeric, garlic and ginger underpins this rich – yet not overwhelming – concoction and hints at its Burmese influence.
Sausages may not be the first thing you think of when you picture Thai cuisine, but you seriously need to try sai oua. These sausages are packed with traditional Thai flavours, characteristically held in a delicate balance. Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coriander, garlic, ginger and more infuse the sausage meat with more flavour that your frozen Richmonds could ever dream of.
Popular at weddings, thanks to its “lucky” name, this delicious jackfruit curried soup is a showstopper. Many recipes call for pork, but this soup can easily be made vegan by simply omitting the meat – it will be just as divine! The young jackfruit adds texture and absorbs the rich palette of flavours found in kaeng khanun.
The morning glory plant is a very popular ingredient in Thailand – widely eaten thanks to its healthy credentials. This veggie and vegan-friendly recipe is a true Thai favourite, which combines the fresh greenness of morning glory (water spinach) with the strong flavours of fermented bean paste and garlic. Supplement the fish sauce for soy sauce, if you’re meat-free.
This is the perfect recipe for enjoying Thai flavours while using up all of the pumpkin flesh you scrape out to make spooky faces this Halloween! Pad fuk tong is eaten year-round in Thailand. The sweetness and softness of the pumpkin works wonderfully when stir fried with traditional Thai ingredients.
What’s your favourite Thai dish? Do you have any vegetarian alternatives to fish sauce and oyster sauce? Share your recipes and tips with other readers below.