33 years. That’s how long I’ve been a vegetarian–my whole life. As a vegetarian, sometimes the most difficult part of traveling can be finding a decent, protein rich meal. For others, eating is the highlight of their trip. So I don’t necessarily get as excited for the food when vacationing. Sure, I have dream destinations where everything would be so easy AND delicious, but it doesn’t happen often. That’s why I enjoyed having my brother with me on one of my more recent trips to Thailand. He is a meat eater and a chef and I got to live vicariously through him. Pork floss- no problem. Fish sauce-yes, please! And that was just the start. He even ate the crispy critters found at the night markets. So in honor of my carnivorous big bro and all foodies out there, I’m having him present 3 not to miss dishes of Phuket.
Hello my name is Ravi and I am the carnivorous big brother chef!!
As soon as we touched down, the first thing right off the plane were tigers! No breakfast, just tigers, hot sweaty skin, and melting heat. We hadn’t planned on petting baby tigers, but you know what they say…when in Thailand. Soon after we headed out into a very mountainy area with big buddas, twisty, windy roads, beautiful beaches and the loudest insects on the planet. But before any of us could even think about all of that we had to have our hunger curbed. And to be honest we didn’t stop there. We ate and ate often, all trip, regardless of whether or not we were hungry. So I’m going to share some of the must try dishes in Thailand.
1. Fried cilli crab
This is a must! We had this at the Tunk Ka restaurant of Thailand. They pull all the crab meat out and fry it nice and crispy. It’s covered with a chili garlic sauce that’s kinda of savory sweet with hints of ginger and a nice spicey kick to it. Not to be confused with Singapore’s famous chili crab, this has flavors that are much different and is prepared without the egg thickener.
2. Som Tum
We had this in Koh Phi Phi from a street vendor, no more than 200 feet from the boat we took island hopping.You can find this in different variations all over Thailand. It’s a green papaya and mango salad with a spicy sugar salt combination and fish sauce. The flavors are magnificent- salty, sweet, pungent and fishy, a true umami. It’s crisp, crunchy, cold, refreshing and oh yeah did I say spicy. This dish may have been my number one must try BUT… eater beware because it’s FIERY!! And Koh Phi Phi is already a hot and humid place. It was 90 degrees when we got off the boat but and it made the temperature climb even higher. So maybe try this one at night.
3. Khanom Bueang
Pronounced Kanom Bwen, these are small pastries that look like tacos but are actually Thai crepes. They are made savory and sweet usually with some sort of cream and fish powder and are thin and crispy. I found these tasty little morsels at one of the many night markets in Phuket. They look extremely difficult to make but the lady making these was obviously a professional! One was filled with a sweet coconut cream and topped with lemon zest and the other was a sweet cream with ground shrimp on top. Its a must try not only for the taste but for the performance in the cooking processes. Its indeed an art you wont see anywhere else.
Night market photos