One true beauty of traditional thai food among many others are their street side stalls.
It's fast, good, cheap and fucking delicious. I personally could live by eating off thai street food alone for the rest of my life with an occasional wagyu sashimi and foie treat, I'm a big big fan of it and it's probably the thing I miss most abut thailand whenever I come back from my trips.
Many people are concerned about the safety, hygiene and quality of these road side treats but I personally have never refrained myself from patronising them (unless i really see cockroaches and rats nibbling on the food itself lah) and I have never gotten any food poisoning/ the runs (only from the chilli).
To those of you - minority people who shun street side delights and would rather eat unauthentic fare for ten times the price in an air conditioned franchised restaurant , you are missing out big time and you should eat lollipops for the rest of your life.
A couple of flies buzzing around the food isnt gonna give you an ebola infested life of misery, calm down people.
So C and I were in bkk alone before the rest of the group came to join us, and one typical kind of thai meal I love love love love to have are all the grilled meats/seafood with sticky rice (khao niao) , nom jin ( thai rice noodles) and som tum (papaya salad) which is a very traditional, typical styled dinner in most thai homes- the abovementioned coupled with grilled chicken (Gai Yang) and other dishes.
These dishes are usually pretty isaan styled. Issan is in the north-east region of Thailand, and I personally am a big fan of their fare.
Isaan food is usually more robust with strong flavours and the esarn people can really, reaaaly handle their chilli well. Esarn meals are usually not complete with the mandatory plate of sticky rice, Som tam pla ra ( Papaya salad with fermented fish sauce) and an assortment of raw fresh vegetables to either dip in their assortment of chilli relishes and/or to dull the heat (you're so gonna be needing those anyways)
Som Tam Pla Ra
a must eat everyday when im in thailand, Isaan styled som tum pu pla ra (papaya salad)
som tum: papaya salad
pu: salted crab
pla ra: fermented fish sauce
The som tam that we are all familiar with is the thai som tam, which is much sweeter, milder, and easy for most. I don't like the normal thai som tum because its too sweet for my liking and I prefer something more strong-flavoured.
This som tam pla ra uses fermented fish sauce (google pla ra) which most bangkok-ers can't stand, but I love it so much I even carried a bag home with me to Singapore.
I have to admit looking at it being scooped out of a jar with rotten guts and brown water, it isn't the most enticing thing your tastebuds would yearn for but this stuff really gets on to you.
Its super pungent, very flavourful and the isaan people usually use this as they would with the traditional bottled thai fish sauce (nam pla) we see in supermarkets. It adds a whole lot of dynamic to the dish with the strong flavours from the fermentation and it really gives it some depth. I once had it in a soup at a thai place in Sg and it was pretty good.
p.s: when the isaan people say its spicy, it IS really.fucking.spicy.
Grilled Pork Neck
Kor moo Yang
Too bad the one I had from this stall was tough and dried out. This doesnt really happen often though, most times like 8/10 the Kor Moo Yang i have in thailand are pretty satisfactory. Maybe that day the person forgot to remove it from the grill fast enough la hor? I hate overcooked meat though. Would rather eat overcooked seafood than meat.
What I love about this dish is that throughout bangkok, the chances of you getting a pretty tender piece of grilled pork neck is actually quite high. You know how in Singapore its always hit and miss when you get grilled items, how most times our piece of beef/chicken/fish or seafood even is over fucking grilled untill the texture is rubbery or leathery?
YES. I LOVE YOU BANGKOK. BECAUSE THAT HARDLY HAPPENS.
One way is by using a decent enough cut of meat which has ample fat , so that the heat of the coals during grilling would melt this fat which then lubricates and flavours the surrounding meat it is packed with. Fat = Flavour.
Secondly is to obviously to use the proper temperature and not to over cook it lah,
This is a shitty quality picture that I took from another trip to this same place (different stall though) but I just wanted to show you what I meant.
look at all the intramuscular fat. This is what makes your piece of meat flavourful, succulent, juicy, and helps prevent it from becoming a piece of leather.
i fckn love thai grilled chicken. Gai yang. omg. This is a very iconic kinda local thai food, its everywhere, its cheap, and it tastes almost , considerably the same from one end of thailand to another. It's like eating bar chor mee in tampines and in clementi, both might differ in tastes very specifically, but as a whole, both passes off as legit bar chor mee. This is gai yang. OK. THIS IS GAI YANG!!!!!!!!!
You can get this almost everywhere in thailand, its just so damn cheap and satisfying... just like the pork neck most times this is tender and juicy, but sometimes if you suay then you kena the hard overcooked one lah.
Their marinade is fantastic, untill now I'm still trying to decipher but Im guessing it confirm contains garlic, nam pla and lemongrass? Those are the only things I can distinguish la and of course black pepper. Anyone has a thai mom who makes good gai yang can share recipe please??
Grilled Salt Fish
This is one true beauty of all thai food. Crusted heavily with salt, stuffed with herbs and then fired on the grill, the entire fish comes out super juicy, with super succulent flesh. This is really beautiful I thank god for the gift of life when I eat a good pla pao.
The most important aspect of this dish is the freshness of the fish. With hardly anything to mask the natural goodness of the fish, the freshness of the fish makes or breaks this dish. The blanket of salt crust ensures that the inside of the fish is never dry from the insulation of the salt which acts like a barrier. Though they stuff herbs ( pandan leaves, lemongrass, lime leaf) In the cavity of the fish, it is super subtle and doesn't overpower the natural goodness of the fish. Good fish doesnt need heavy flavourings, all it need is just a bit of things here and there to impart a little bit of flavour. Thats why not every piece of fish cuts out to be steamed.. thats why got fish and chips la KIDDING kidding. most good fish and chips uses fresh fish anyway.
We had the snakehead fish because we wanted to try something different than the usual, and I think I'll just stick to tilapia from now on. This had sooooo many bones and also the flesh is much more firmer and bouncier. I prefer the softer tilapia...
Thai raw shrimp in fish sauce
goong chae nam pla
The first time I had this raw shrimp dish was at dindin leuk at Golden mile. I wanted to try because I was sibeh kaypoh wondering how thais eat this yucky grey prawn as sashimi?? Im so used to only eating pink/orange shrimp flesh raw and not grey ones.
Sad to say I wasnt impressed. Never ordered it again untill I went to thailand and decided to give it a second chance. Boy I wasnt disappointed.
Of course again, the most important thing is freshness of the prawn. The ones I had in thailand were super sweet, and never once did I feel like "eeeeee" when I was chewing it in my mouth. Din din leuk up your game hor, your food also not say damn cheap...
Stir fried morning glory aka Kang kong.
I believe this dish needs no introduction, its the normal stir fried kangkong.
By the way thai style kang kong is stir fried with garlic, salted beans and chilli. Dont be so sua ku like me thinking you will get sambal kangkong just cos u asked for more chilli. Afterall Sambal belacan is not really a thai thing...
I think we paid about 15- 20 each for a this meal excluding the raw prawn salad and kangkong (we had those another time)
20/person is not cheap obviously if youre dining by the road rubbing shoulders with strangers as you're trying to peel your prawn, but because this is in their town area with a shit load of tourists, I
guess that explains the kind of price.
This is just a convenient and fail proof place for me to get my fix but if you aren't willing to fork out that amount of money considering its not the only place in bangkok that does such fare, you can go to other areas near your hotel which has isaan food,
chances are they would most likely serve such dishes if they do grill too.
outside Central World shopping mall
It is also walking distance from pratunam- Platinum Fashion mall.
Just walk towards macs and past the stinky canal on the right,
and down towards the main road in the opposite flow of traffic,
soon you will see the rows of stalls by the road!