You can find Thai restaurants and Thai food in most cities. We even have a few favorites in our suburbs but I’m longing to visit a few floating markets and try some local dishes in Thailand. The experience and the novelty of buying food or fruits from a passing boat are hard to beat.
Another reason I’m longing to visit Thailand is to try the quality of mangoes – I hear that there is nothing quite like the sweet, golden mangoes produced in the Land of Smiles. I grew up in India enjoying the mangoes in summer. India produces some amazing mangoes too, so a taste test is in order 😉
Best Floating Markets in Thailand
Thailand is famous for its Floating markets, some of the best floating markets can be found near Bangkok. Whether you are looking for some Thai street food and traditional Thai dishes or local fruits, these floating markets in Thailand are worth checking out.
Damnoen Saduak floating market in Damnoen Saduak District is the largest and most well-known floating market among Thai and foreign tourists. It is located in Ratchaburi Province, about 100 km southwest of Bangkok.
The market is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm at Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand
Tha Kha Floating Market is smaller than that of the nearby Damneon Saduak market. Not as touristy, it is known to be popular with local Thais, you will find them in their rowboats selling fruit, vegetables, local Thai dishes, and sweets. With a canopy of coconut trees and plants, it’s protected from overdevelopment, so its modest size and local atmosphere are likely to remain.
The market is open Sat & Sun from 6 am to 3pm at Tha Kha, Amphawa, Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand
Amphawa is another popular floating market in Thailand. It is small, authentic and located 90 km south-west of Bangkok. It has little wooden houses neatly lined up along the canal, selling souvenirs, snacks and sweets.
Taling Chan is a favorite floating market among locals and visitors. Located near Bangkok (only 12 km from downtown) it has just enough boats to be called a floating market, plus has a large local market attached to it. Taling Chan market is open all day.
Khlong Lat Mayom is a much smaller floating market located really close to Bangkok.
While Bangkok has many floating markets, Pattaya is said to have the best floating market in all of Thailand. The Four Regions Floating Market is close to the Pattaya Underwater World and, at a staggering size 100,000 sqm in size, it is considered the largest Floating market in Thailand.
Pak Khlong Talad flower market located just south of Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is another place that is on my travel wishlist.
Now on to our list best Thai food and dishes to try in Thailand!
Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)
This is my favorite Thai dish! When most Thai dishes can be meat-heavy (especially seafood) or have a dash of fish sauce in them, the Green Papaya salad loaded with shredded papaya, carrots, green beans, garlic and chillies is perfect for vegetarians when travelling to Thailand.
Som tum is also a nice starter or side dish for almost any meal and can be found in many Thai street food shops.
Thai Minced Chicken Salad is a light salad that is found in Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Called larb, laab, larb, or laap, it is loaded with fresh herbs, spices, and lime juice and usually served with sticky rice. Laab Gai is a must-try Thai dish when visiting Thailand.
Spring Rolls & Chicken Satay
Another favorite among locals and visitors to Thailand, spring rolls and chicken satay can be found at almost every street food vendor in Thailand.
They are cheap, delicious and take very little time to prepare. Try this easy recipe for making your own Chicken Satay at home.
Tom Yum Soup (Goong for Shrimp)
Hot and sour, Tom Yum soup is made with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal (a close relative of ginger but has a different flavor). The soup is usually made with Shrimp or chicken, you can occasionally find vegetarian versions of the Tom Yum soup.
Try this vegetable version of the classic Thai Tom Yum soup at home. The recipe does call for fish sauce (it is up to you if you want to add it). If you can’t find the kaffir lime leaves, you can add extra lime juice to taste
Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Coconut Soup)
Lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, broth, coconut milk, and chicken come together in this aromatic soup. It is one of my favorite Thai dishes when it is cold. I get mine with mushrooms and minus the fish sauce. The kha here stands for galangal, which is a totally different flavor profile from ginger. But oftentimes ginger is used in making the Tom Kha Gai Soup.
See a great recipe by Bon Apetit here
Kai med ma muang (Chicken with Cashews)
The soft, moist chicken meets the warm crunch of freshly toasted cashew nuts or, as they are called in Thai, the “mangoes of the high forests of India” for this popular Thai dish. Often mistaken for a Chinese dish, you probably have tasted Kai med ma muang (Cashew Chicken) in your favorite Asian Restaurant.
See an authentic recipe here for Thai Cashew Chicken by Thai Food Master
Pad Thai, the National Dish of Thailand
Invented in the 1930s by a Chinese-Thai chef, this dish of thin rice noodles stir-fried with egg, tofu, chicken or shrimp, and seasoned tamarind, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, dried chilli and garnished with cilantro and chopped peanuts is the most popular Thai food and considered the national dish of Thailand!
Phat Kaphrao Gai (Basil Chicken)
Rich, peppery, spicy, and loaded with the exotic flavor of Thai holy basil, Phat Kaphrao Gai is a must-try Thai dish and a staple in the street food scene. This Thai food staple combines meat flash-fried with holy basil (kaphrao) and a generous helping of fresh chilli and garlic. Served over rice and often topped with a fried egg, it’s the epitome of the Thai-style one-dish meal.
Make your Thai Basil Chicken by following Inquiring Chef’s recipe. Keep in mind, you cannot use Italian basil as a substitute for Thai basil in any Thai recipes.
Kaeng Khiao Wan (Green Curry)
Curries are an essential part of Thai cuisine, the green curry being one the most famous and sought-after Thai dishes. Red and yellow curries also have an important place within the Thai tradition. Ask for Kaeng khiao wan when you want Thailand’s famous Green Curry.
Green curries have a vibrant green color thanks to the additions of Thai basil, cilantro, makrut lime leaf, and coconut milk. This popular Thai dish is made with Shrimp (kung, khung, or goong), but you can substitute with tofu, fish, chicken, beef, or dumplings. Enjoy it with a plate of jasmine rice.
Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry)
Creamy coconut milk again is the base for this delicious and classic Thai dish. A little spicer than the green curry, it is made with finely ground coriander, peppercorns, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, cilantro, shallot, garlic, you can choose anything you want to it, including tofu, chicken, seafood and vegetables.
The whole thing is then topped with kaffir lime leaves and served with jasmine rice.
Get yourself a Sweet Thai Tea to washed down all that spicy food. Brewed black tea sweetened with sugar and sweetened condensed milk, and served over ice is another Thai staple you can’t miss!
Mango Sticky Rice: my Favorite Thai Dessert!
Don’t leave Thailand without trying their sweet golden mangoes. Better yet, try it with some slow-cooked coconut sticky rice, and decadent coconut cream. The perfect combination to those delicious mangoes. Look for – khao niew mamuang on the menu. if there is in only one Thai dessert dish you are going to eat, make it the Mango Sticky Rice! Savor every bite!
See Rachel Cooks Thai’s Recipe for Mango Sticky Rice or this one that calls for Black Sticky Rice
If you’re seeking something more adventurous, look for coconut sticky rice with slices of fresh durian in place of the mango.
A friend invited me to a Thai wedding which was scheduled for April last year and it got postponed to this year and now to 2022!! 😢
Have you been to Thailand? What other Thai foods should I try when I go?
Images from Pixabay
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