One of the main draws for travelers to Khao Lak and Thailand as a whole is of course Thai food. No trip is complete without experiencing the local cuisine. But Thai food is very diverse and dishes with the same name might have different flavors depending on the region where they are prepared, but all equally interesting and most importantly delicious. You can try all of these according to the amount of spice you are comfortable with, mild, normal or spicy. Here in the Khao Lak dining scene, tastes are typical of southern Thai cuisine, which is spicy. However, you can always ask the server to reduce the spice.
The five flavors of Thai cuisine are salty, sour, spicy, sweet and creamy. It’s certainly the balance of these flavors that make Thai cuisine so special and so many different dishes so diverse but equally delicious.
So let us share with you some of our favorite Thai food dishes which you can order when dining in Khao Lak:
- Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
- Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup)
- Pad Thai (Thai-Style Fried Noodles)
- Massaman Gai (Chicken Massaman Curry)
- Khao Soi Gai (Curried Noodle Soup with Chicken)
- Gaeng Poo Bai Chaplu (Crab Curry with Betel Leaves)
1. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
Strongest flavors: Spicy, sour.
“Tom Yum” is a hot soup typically made with prawns (“Goong”). Mixed with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, chili peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs, Tom Yum Goong is full of flavour. Like all Thai food, Tom Yum Goong is meant to be shared. Pour a few spoonfuls of everything into a small personal bowl and then pour some soup, vegetables and prawns onto your rice and enjoy. For extra Thai politeness, pour the small bowls for everyone at your table, starting with the eldest person. Moreover, you can also show politeness by offering the last prawn in the bowl to the eldest person at the table.
2. Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup)
Strongest flavors: Sweet, Sour, Creamy, Spicy
Capturing all the flavors of Thai food perfectly, “Tom Kha” is also hot soup, but it is typically made with chicken (“Gai”). Ingredients include coconut milk, mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf and other vegetables and herbs. Depending on where it is made, Tom Kha Gai can be quite sweet from the coconut milk or a bit spicy from the chili peppers. In addition to the taste, the aroma itself is enough to whet your appetite. Enjoy Tom Kha Gai over rice.
3. Pad Thai (Thai-Style Fried Noodles)
Strongest flavors: Sweet, salty, spicy (to your own taste)
A classic international favorite, “Pad Thai” is made with stir fried noodles, egg, bean sprouts, peanuts and a meat, typically prawns (“Pad Thai Goong”) or chicken (“Pad Thai Gai”). Chili flakes can be sprinkled on top according to taste and squeezing a lime wedge will add that last extra burst of flavour. “Pad Thai” may differ slightly from region to region in Thailand, with some areas using thin noodles, other thicker noodles. In addition, you can also order Pad Thai wrapped in egg, for a special treat.
4. Massaman Gai (Chicken Massaman Curry)
Strongest flavors: Creamy, sweet, spicy
A favorite in cooking classes, Massaman Curry is aromatic and flavorful. The sweet curry is usually made with chicken, potatoes, carrots and peanuts. The sweetness comes from the coconut milk mixed with the curry. Once brought to a boil and allowed to simmer until the chicken is cooked with all the ingredients, Massaman Curry is ready to be served. However, be careful to not let it burn. Pour over steamed rice and enjoy!
5. Khao Soi Gai (Curried Noodle Soup with Chicken)
Strongest flavors: Salty, Spicy, Creamy
Hailing from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, Khao Soi Gai is a favorite throughout the country. It consists of curry, egg noodles, chicken, onion, and is topped with thin fried crispy noodles. Khao Soi Gai is usually served with a small side of chopped pickled mustard greens, sliced shallots, and coriander which can all be mixed into the curry. However, unlike other curries, Khao Soi Gai is best eaten directly from the bowl with a spoon and chopsticks. But watch out for the curry splash from the noodles!
6. Gaeng Poo Bai Chaplu (Crab Curry with Betel Leaves)
Strongest flavors: Spicy, Salty, Sour, Creamy
This Southern Thai specialty is a must-try whenever visiting Phang Nga or Phuket. Tender chunks of real crab are cooked in a savoury yellow curry with betel leaves. Served with thin rice noodles on the side (kanom jeen), the yellow curry and crab is poured over a roll of kanom jeen. The result is an explosion of flavor in your mouth that will leave you craving more. However, you should remember that this dish is meant to be shared.
You can taste all of this authentic Thai food in Khao Lak, Phang Nga. Visit us at one of Khao Lak’s best restaurants, Takola Thai Restaurant, mentioned as a Bib Gourmand in Michelin Guide 2021 and 2022, located in Devasom Khao Lak Beach Resort & Villas. Lastly, we look forward to welcoming you on what is certain to be an amazing food journey!