Thailand Food Exploration: Kra Pao Kai/Moo Kai Dow

Our Thai host ordered a very enticing-looking dish for dinner recently, and the next day, we followed suit.

kra pao kai kai dow

Kra pao kai (pictured) or kra pao moo (if pork) translates as chicken (kai) stir-fried with holy basil. The kai dow on the end means fried egg, a popular addition to the dish, but you can leave it off when ordering if you don’t fancy it. The egg aside, it is a light, clean-tasting dish, inexpensive and seemingly very common.

Thailand Food Exploration: Nang Let

The same small restaurant that serves the gaeng jued tam luang also sells packets of Thai sweets. This includes nang let, a delicious crispy snack.

nang let

They are made from cooked sticky rice that has been formed into patties, dried, fried and topped with a swirl of palm sugar caramel. A sprinkle of black sesame seeds is mixed in with the rice, which adds a subtle nutty flavour.

Thailand Food Exploration: Khanom Krok

On a previous visit to Thailand nearly 5 years ago, while out with our hosts we suddenly screeched to the side of the road and shortly afterwards were the proud owners of a box of khanom krok. Hot, crispy, soft and coconutty, the little half-spheres were sublimely delicious.

khanom krok cooking

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Thailand Food Exploration: Gaeng Jued Tam Luang

Having rashly quit our jobs and sold our house recently, my boyfriend and I are now spending a few months outside the UK, our first stop being Thailand.

My boyfriend’s dad has retired here and is married to a Thai lady, which makes all food experiences much easier and more varied. They are based near Pattaya, which is notorious for many things, but has a lot of excellent places to eat for all budgets.

On our first morning, feeling a little jet-lagged, we picked up some drinks at a small coffee shop. I opted for a Lychee Blitz, which is a fruit and ice blend, although I suspect it included some syrup as it was sweet and had a pink tinge to it. We returned to the car for a brief trip onwards to a small road-side restaurant, bringing our drinks with us.

Our hosts outlined a few of the more popular dishes, and we plumped for the “gaeng jued tam luang” (phonetic representation!) which I was advised translates as “bland soup with coccinia grandis leaf”.

bland soup with coccinia grandis leaf

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Documenting food finds for fellow food-lovers