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Blazing Through Bangkok's Spicy Side
Hot & Spicy Thai Food
My two passions in life are traveling and eating so when I recently went on holiday to Thailand, I couldn't get there fast enough!
Not only do I love food, Thai food happens to be one of my favorite world cuisines. I find the complex tastes of salty, sour, sweet and spicy appealing and excites my taste buds like nothing else can.
If you're not a fan of spicy-hot food, there are many options for you as well. But for me, a Thai spread without at least one fiery dish feels like there's something missing, somehow incomplete. I'll take a Som Tum Salad over a plain salad of leafy greens any day.
Come on a culinary journey with me as I brave my way through everything that's spicy in Bangkok.
*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.
Thai Cuisine at Home
A guide to authentic Thai cooking from the chef and owner of the popular Pok Pok restaurants. He shares his most popular recipes from Thailand and his restaurants-ranging from Som Tam Thai ( papaya salad ) to Khao Soi Kai ( Curry Noodle Soup with chicken ). More than just a collection of recipes, this book is a master course in Thai cooking from one of the most passionate authorities on the subject.
Som Tam and Other Evil Dishes
For one week, I feasted on some of the best foods I've eaten in my life and that meant a whole lot of chilies in my stomach. As I alternated with less spicy meals and sweet Thai Milk Teas in between, I tried my best to eat like the locals.
One of my favorite Thai dishes has to be Som Tam, a spicy salad made with sliced green papaya, raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, nuts, dried shrimp, chilies and lime.
It's refreshing, unbelievably delicious and one of the spiciest dishes you can eat in Thailand. Som Tum is usually eaten with sticky rice and paired with some Gai Yang to make the meal more substantial.
Bangkok is famous for their terrific food courts, which lets you sample a variety of local Thai cuisine in air-conditioned comfort. You can have a pretty good meal including a drink for less than $5 US. The price for an entrée usually cost between 40 Baht ( approximately $1.20 US ) to 100 Baht ( approximately $3 US ). And although food on the streets are cheaper, I find that eating spicy food in intense humidity wears me out too quickly.
The Spicy Food CollectionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Aromatic Curries and Spicy Soups
Curries and soups also make up a large part of the Thai meal and they are the highlight of any Thai holiday. A Thai meal should always be about balance of flavors and textures that enhance and compliment each other.
For instance you could choose a soup or a curry ( but usually not both as they are both similar in consistency ) to complement a few other dishes. With curries or soups, you would almost always choose plain rice over fried rice, which is usually eaten by itself.
A bowl of soup or curry would complement a refreshing salad, followed by a deep-fried dish, a savory stir-fried dish and some steamed rice. Desserts are usually fresh fruit but most often, not necessary. Of course that's if you're anyone else but me. After each meal I always made sure I got myself something sweet to keep me happy.
Curries and SoupsClick thumbnail to view full-size
So Tell Me...
Do you prefer your food to be spicy or mild?
A Few Pounds Heavier But So Much Happier
Unfortunately for people with sensitive stomachs like myself, spicy food can do all sorts of funny stuff to your body. There were a couple of days where I literally writhed in pain as I found myself running to the nearest toilet in the middle of shopping for some Thai silk. Other days, I managed to get away with minor discomfort. Having said that, I didn't have to resort to taking meds and the extra spice somehow invigorated my senses.
Even though I've focused on spicy foods here, I did manage eat many non-spicy meals during my week-long food frenzy. As mentioned above, I love my desserts and I made sure I got my fill of everything sweet. From decadent cakes to traditional Thai sweets-the sweetest mangoes to a bowl of ice cream that made me weep with joy, I ate, devoured and savored until the last minute of my food holiday. Needless to say, I came back from my holiday a few pounds heavier.
Bangkok never fails to amaze and excite me. With so many wonderful sights to see and the variety of things to do, I never manage to do it all on one single trip. And although I've made more than a couple dozen trips to this exotic city, I have yet to experience everything this diverse, exotic and chaotic city has to offer.