Thailand has a lot of delectable dishes on offer. From Som tum to Larb to Pad Thai and many others, there’s a vast range of mouth-watering meals to try.
Alongside all the well known delicious meals, there are also those that are a little unusual for westerners; the kinds of meals that tourists either steer well clear of or try only for the sake of novelty. Some of these dishes might seem a little off-putting at first but if you want the full Thai cuisine experience you really should try them, some are even said to have medicinal value as well.
Here are eight such dishes that you should at least sample when staying in Thailand.
Kai Yiew Ma
In English, Kai Yiew Ma literally means “horse urine eggs”. This is because they smell a little bit like horse urine. Don’t let the smell put you off though; they’re definitely worth a try.
Forget eating peanuts in a bar, fried worms are the way to go in Thailand. These snacks are not only surprisingly tasty, they’re also nutritious.
Quite often it’s the most disgusting things in life that are the best for us. Ant eggs are high in protein, low in calories and are also said to be good for combating diarrhea.
Leaves on their own probably don’t sound all that appealing but when you add sadow leaves to a dish, they certainly enhance the flavor. They’re also packed full of iron, phosphorous and zinc and are said to be good for longevity.
When people think of rice, they probably don’t think of the colour blue, unless of course they’re colour blind. Rice=white (or possibly brown, perhaps yellow) rarely are any other colours associated with the grains. Warmer colours are said to appear more appetising to diners whereas cooler colours are said to inspire thirst. This is why you usually don’t see dishes with blue in them. This is Thailand though and the word usual doesn’t usually apply here. By mixing Thai pea flower into the grains, the rice becomes a lovely sky blue colour. There’s no real health benefit for this, it just makes the rice look interesting. So one might say that anything interesting is of some benefit to the mind, so in a way it is good for you.
The thought of eating bugs might not seem all that appealing but when you think about it, eating cows and pigs and chickens isn’t really much different. Locals in Thailand enjoy such things as grasshoppers, crickets, water beetles and silk worms. Their exoskeletons are a rich source of chitin and calcium. The taste is also surprisingly ok too. It’s kind of like eating potato chips, except with a little extra goo.
Raw Beef Salad
Thai food is great and eating from street vendors is something that all tourists should do. The meals are usually more delicious than in fancy restaurants, not to mention a lot cheaper. The only problem is that some places aren’t all that hygienic and they don’t cook their meats well enough. Raw Beef salad mixed with lime juice, mint, basil and shallots might sound delicious but be warned, anything that isn’t properly cooked might be a little risky. But hey, YOLO.
Fried Snakehead Fish
A title mentioning the word snakehead might lead you to believe that the dish involves a snakehead but that’s just the name of the fish. The freaky head is what gives this particular fish its snaky moniker. A lot of foreigners are scared off by this scary looking dish but there’s really no need to be put off. The dish tastes like catfish and is delicious with onions and garlic.