Thai Foods From the South
Southern Thailand is home to a number of stunning beaches, bays, and religious temples. It is an ideal spot for tourists and a beautiful place to call home. However, it is important to not overlook its cuisine, which is a distinctive feature of the area. Southern Thai food is typically spicier than the food from other regions in Thailand and has its foundations in fresh seafood and delicious curries.
A lot of southern Thailand’s cuisine borrows aspects from Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s cuisines. This connectedness is due to Thailand‘s geographical proximity to the two countries. Despite these strong culinary influences, southern Thailand is home to a cuisine that is unique and should be appreciated on its own.
Although the entirety of southern Thailand’s rich and diverse foods can’t be thoroughly covered in one post, it is worth exploring some southern Thai foods in the detail that they deserve.
Southern Thai food is worth trying on your next visit to Thailand or even attempting to make on your own! Here are 4 Thai foods from the south to increase your exposure to southern Thailand’s unique culinary environment.
Pad Kapi Sataw Goong
This dish’s base is the sataw (stink beans). Stink beans, which can be likened to pungent-tasting green beans, grow in the climate of southern Thailand. Their texture gives this dish an added crunch. The remaining components of the dish include fried prawns and shrimp paste, which is a common fermented condiment used throughout Southeast Asia. This dish’s combination of distinct sour and spicy flavors can be overpowering for a novice to Southern Thai food, but it is certainly a taste worth acquiring.
Khao Yam Nam Budu
This dish has its origins as a health food. It is a type of salad consisting of rice, vegetables, herbs, and fish entrails. It is then tossed in budu, an anchovy sauce common in southern Thailand.
While ensuring that the ingredients complement each other can be challenging, this dish offers a lot of freedom and experimentation. Locals often use whatever they have on hand, and the dish is never made the same way twice. Ingredients can be chosen based on preferences for texture, smell, color, or general appearance for the plate presentation. A few of the many ingredients that are often included in this dish are sour mangos, ground roasted coconut, carrots, and kaffir lime leaves.
Gaeng som is southern Thailand’s take on gaeng leuang, which is a curry that is popular in other regions of Thailand. Gaeng som is a thin, water-based curry. It has a distinctive orange coloring that is a result of the dish’s inclusion of turmeric, a plant from the ginger family. This dish often includes the consumer’s choice of meat, whether it be fish, prawns, or pork. In addition to the vital tamarind, a sour legume, gaeng som can include pineapple, palm sugar, papaya, and bamboo shoots.
This dish is relatively simple to make. It is also very versatile, as it isn’t restricted to solely breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Hoi Chak Teen
This dish remains consistent with Thailand’s heavy reliance on seafood. Hoi chak teen are wing shells belonging to the mollusks family and are similar to clams. They are most commonly harvested and consumed in Krabi, a province in southern Thailand, as a local delicacy. The harvesting process is a bit time consuming, as the shells have to soak in salty water prior to boiling, but the process is well worth the end result.
Hoi chak teen is often served with toothpicks and eaten as a casual snack. It is common to dip this snack food in a green sauce made of garlic, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, and lime juice.
Southern Thailand’s food is unique, and eating any of these dishes is an extraordinary experience for adventurous eaters. The eclectic ingredients might turn off those with picky appetites, but going in with an open mind is guaranteed to give you a remarkable dining experience you’ll remember forever.