Many people the world over enthuse about Thailand’s delicious food. With a heavy focus on rice and noodles, it is also well-known for being pretty hot and spicy. Many places are more than happy to adjust the chilli levels though, making traditional favourites suitable for kids.
If you want to make sure that a dish is not spicy, you can tell your server “Mai Pet” to be on the safe side. Common table condiments usually include dried chilli flakes, so you can always add a little bit of a kick to your meals after they have been cooked. If something is a bit too spicy for your family’s preferences, however, a top tip is to look amongst the condiments for sugar … Thais use sugar to calm down hot flavours!
There’s also no need to be concerned about how to eat your meal – most dishes are eaten with a fork and spoon. Chopsticks are considered foreign utensils in Thailand, and so generally only used with dishes that have a foreign heritage, often noodle soups.
Some popular Thai dishes for your family to sample include:
One of the most famous Thai dishes the world over, Pad Thai is not an overly spicy dish. (Chillies are usually not mixed into the dish, but served on the side instead.) It consists of stir-fried noodles with egg, garlic, tamarind, and a salty fish sauce. Soy sauce can be used in place of the fish sauce if requested. It often also includes peanuts and may also contain different white meats or seafood, like chicken, crab, and shrimp, or vegetables such as bean sprouts, radishes, chives, and coriander. Quick and easy to prepare, this is often seen on street food carts.
Pad See Ew
Another noodle-based favourite, Pad See Ew is usually made using wide rice noodles and soy sauce. It usually has a selection of green leafy vegetables and either chicken or pork.
Thailand is known for its different types of curry – red, green, yellow, Penang, and Massaman, to name just a few. Thai curries are usually more like a soup consistency and are served with rice. Green curry uses coconut and basil and either fish balls or chicken. Red curry is fairly spicy – don’t be surprised to see whole peppercorns floating around in the bowl! It can be made with chicken or seafood. Yellow curry is the least spicy of the coloured curries. It usually contains chicken and potatoes. Massaman curry has influences from India, using spices that are not commonly found in other Thai fare. Penang curry also has Indian elements. There are various regional curry dishes too, such as the northern Gaang Yuak, which uses banana, Gaang Fak Khio, also from the north, with chicken and melon, and the southern Khua Kling, which is very spicy and has lime leaves mixed with pieces of various meats.
Khao Man Gai
A typical Thai comfort food, Khao Man Gai consists of a bed of steamed rice topped with greasy slices of chicken and drenched in a flavourful chicken broth.
A favourite from the north east of Thailand, Laab is a refreshing minced meat salad. It contains mint and chillies, and is served with sticky rice and fresh vegetables. Usually made with minced beef or pork, it can also be made with duck and lamb.
Tom Kha Gai
This soup is great for kids as it is usually pretty mild. Chicken is the most used meat, and it also contains coconut milk and galangal. Mushrooms may also be used.
Often eaten in the morning for breakfast, Khao Tom is a rice-based soup, almost like a porridge. It comes in a clear broth, often with pork, fish, or chicken.
Kai Jee Ow
Although you can find a variety of fillings, such as pork, mixed vegetables, crab, or mushroom, this is essentially an omelette. It can be great for children that want to try Thai food but aren’t feeling all that adventurous. It is usually served over rice and accompanied by a small pot of sweet chilli sauce. Tomato ketchup may be provided in some places.
There are so many tasty dishes to try in Thailand! Your kids can learn more about Thai cuisine in the Kids’ Travel Guide – Thailand, recording everything new that they try, learning food related vocabulary, and more!