Thai dishes are popular all over the globe. From Pad Thai to Thai Green and Red Curry, Thai dishes are loved by one and all. But this has also led to another problem – the problem of duplicity. If you, just like us, want to taste only authentically delicious Thai dishes, read on to find out how can you can separate from the genuine and ingenuine.
Thai menus have their fair share of appetizers. Many restaurants think that they can get away with fried cheese triangles, but even though fried appetizers are common in Thai cuisine, thanks to the Portuguese influence, fried cheese triangles are nowhere near to what Krathong Tong is supposed to be. This tasty fried treat is made with delicately fried shells that are typically filled with chicken, corn, potato, carrot, and a tangy cream sauce. It can be found at fancier restaurants in Thailand.
GAI HAW BAI TOEY
A rare find, Gai Haw Bai Toey is marinated chicken that has been fried wrapped in aromatic pandan leaves. This dish can be found in very few restaurants because it requires pandan leaves, an essential ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine and something that is not always readily available everywhere. The leaves are wrapped around chicken that marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and coriander roots. When fried, the leaves perfume the chicken, imparting a grassy, herbal flavor to it. If a restaurant offers this dish, you can be assured that you are in an authentic Thai restaurant.
GAENG KEAW WAN
The Thai green curry, known to locals as Gaeng Keaw Wan, is sweet, spicy, and salty, and made up of a unique combination of fresh herbs. Thai green curry is usually eaten with steamed jasmine rice, but if a restaurant offers fermented rice noodles with the curry, you can expect to be eating as you would in Thailand. This curry leads with a sweet flavor, followed by a little heat from chilies and salty umami from the fish sauce. You must know that all Thai curries start with different curry pastes made up of entirely different combinations of fresh herbs and spices.
A comforting plate of Lad Na should not be too sweet, and ought to be served with different condiments. Thai people love this dish because it’s warm and wholesome. Lad Na is essentially noodles in a gravy. The gravy gets its flavor from fish sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster sauce and isn’t too sweet. Authentic Lad Na is always served with condiments like dry chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce and sliced hot chilies in white vinegar.
While ordering Pad Thai, make sure your restaurant doesn’t skip the necessary ingredients. There is just no way to make Pad Thai without all the essentials, and there are plenty of restaurants out there hoping that you don’t catch them skimping on the bean sprouts, dried shrimp, Chinese garlic chives, crushed peanuts, and pickled radish. No shortcuts must be allowed. If you see carrots or peppers in your Pad Thai, protest. In Thailand, some prefer to use vermicelli instead of the regular pad thai noodles and serve it wrapped in a thin egg crepe. One thing that will always be present, though, is traditional Thai condiments.
This fragrant curry is usually served over jasmine rice and has a pungent aroma. You will find potatoes, roasted peanuts, and chicken thighs in this fragrant curry. Mussaman in Thai means “Muslim.” Unlike green curry, Gaeng Mussaman is not served with fermented rice noodles but over jasmine rice. The curry must have a pungent aroma from the combination of cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, and ginger. The flavors of this curry are slightly sweet and sour because tamarind sauce is used for flavoring as well.
PLA RAD PRIK
Devour this whole fried fish with traditional sweet, sour, and spicy sauce. This dish is done right when the fish is fried whole, along with the head and tail. Striped bass and grouper are the preferred candidates for this dish. It is topped with a traditional sweet, sour, and spicy sauce made from plenty of herbs and seasonings. Do not miss on munching the head because it is delicious!
PAD KRA PRAO
If you wish to enjoy this dish, look for a street vendor that serves traditional Pad Kra Prao with a crispy fried egg. Most commonly called basil chicken, beef, or shrimp, this dish is genuinely a Thai favorite. In Thailand, street vendors serve it over steamed jasmine rice. An authentic shop will usually top it with a fried egg, crispy on the edges with a runny yolk. The condiments that accompany this dish are chopped chilies and fish sauce.
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