Thai cuisine is a delightful fusion of aromatic spices, vibrant colours, and a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours. What's especially exciting is that each region in Thailand has its own culinary traditions and signature dishes. Luckily, you don't need to travel far to experience the rich variety of flavours—Bangkok boasts a wide selection of regional specialities that will satisfy without the need to wander kingdom wide. Let's explore the deliciousness that awaits.
Nam-Ngiaw is a traditional noodle soup originating from Northern Thailand. The dish is known for its rich and flavourful broth, which typically includes tomatoes, pork or beef, and various aromatic herbs and spices. The soup is often garnished with bean sprouts, cilantro, and green onions, providing a fresh and vibrant contrast to the savoury broth. The dish is believed to have its roots in the Shan people, an ethnic group that resides in the Shan State of Myanmar and also in Northern Thailand. The Shan people cast a significant cultural influence on the Lanna region, including its cuisine. Nam-Ngiaw is beloved for its hearty and comforting qualities, making it a popular street food and local delicacy in Northern Thailand. In Bangkok, for a dining adventure inspired by Northern Thailand's rich culinary traditions, head to North restaurant. Their signature dish, “Lamphun” pasta dish, Ravioli with Wagyu Beef Filling, accompanied by Lamphun Black Garlic Sauce, blends authentic flavours with contemporary elegance. It creates a symphony of textures and tastes that embody the essence of Northern Thai cuisine. At North restaurant, you're in for a treat, as you embark on a culinary journey exploring the diverse flavours of Northern Thailand. Don't miss this chance to experience true delight in every bite!
The food from North Eastern Thailand, also called Isan or Isaan, has a unique character influenced by the area's geography, weather, and cultural background. Isan cuisine is renowned for its strong and fiery tastes, often highlighting local ingredients like sticky rice, fish, herbs, and different types of chilli peppers. It seems everyone’s favourite is somtam, papaya salad with crab and fermented fish, a popular traditional dish originating from Isan. Over time, it has gained popularity throughout Thailand and internationally. The main ingredient in somtam is shredded unripe or green papaya, which is usually pounded with a mortar and pestle to enhance its flavours and mixed with other ingredients. The origins of somtam can be attributed to the Lao people who also inhabit the Isan region of Thailand. It is believed that the dish has its roots in traditional Lao cuisine. Somtam likely evolved from a similar Lao dish called "tam som," which means sour pounded salad. Somtam is well-known for its vibrant and intense tastes, bringing together a delightful combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements. To experience this delectable dish, head to Khao Niao, where they offer an extensive a la carte selection with a range of casual Isan flavours. Pair it with grilled meat skewers, sticky rice, and a glass of Thai iced tea for a truly satisfying Isan feast.
If you're a seafood lover, take in the coastal flavours of Southern Thailand. While Bangkok may not be exactly on the coast, it offers an array of seafood dishes that capture the essence of Southern Thai cuisine. One must-try delicacy is the Dog Conch (Sea Snail), known as "Hoy Chak Teen," which is a type of shell. In Thailand, Hoy Chak Teen can be found in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea such as Krabi, Phuket, Phang-Nga, Trang and Satun. The name 'Hoy Chak Teen' comes from its unique shell characteristic, resembling a brown nail sticking out, which is used for walking. The villagers refer to this part as 'Teen.' When eating this clam, they must pull the 'teen' part to remove the shell, giving it the name 'Hoy Chak Teen.' 'Hoy' means shell, and 'Chak Teen' refers to the action of pulling the 'Teen' part. Served alongside zesty dipping sauces, this treat will transport you to the beaches of Southern Thailand, even within the city of Bangkok. For an authentic experience, head to Rern restaurant, where they serve Dog Conch on Garuda leaf. Their mission is to curate a culinary adventure that celebrates the valuable treasures of Southern Thailand and proudly displays the diverse cultural heritage of the ingredients from various provinces.
Let’s not overlook the central region! Bangkok itself is situated in the central plains of Thailand, where you'll find a blend of flavours from all corners of the country. Let’s celebrate Nam Prik Ka Pi, a traditional Thai chilli paste that has delighted palates for centuries. Featuring shrimp paste as a key ingredient, the exact origins of Nam Prik Kapi remain shrouded in mystery, but its presence in Thai cuisine has stood the test of time. Shaped by regional and cultural influences, Nam Prik Kapi varies in preparation and usage across different parts of Thailand. "Nam Prik" refers to a Thai term used for various types of chilli pastes or dipping sauces, and "Kapi" refers specifically to the shrimp paste used in this particular version. Nam Prik Kapi is made by combining shrimp paste, chilli peppers, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, lime juice, and sometimes sugar. This combination creates a rich, salty, and slightly sweet taste, making it an essential condiment in Thai cuisine. Supanniga Eating Room, offers Nam Prik Ka Pi, which comes with whole mackerel and local vegetables, providing an authentic and flavourful Thai culinary experience.
With your adventurous foodie hat firmly in place, the streets of Bangkok are yours to explore, brimming with a myriad of regional Thai delights. From hidden gems nestled within neighbourhoods to upscale establishments, the city offers an array of options to satisfy your culinary curiosity. Remember, regional Thai cuisine is not solely about food—it's a reflection of culture, history, and the captivating landscapes that define Thailand. So when in Bangkok, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of flavours that await you.