Jacquelin and I have traveled to over 15 countries but the overall food palettes of these places haven’t been too different. Thai food was a complete culture shock for us. The spices found in these dishes are intense. They love to mix sweet, sour, spicy, savory, and salty all in one plate.
We’ve been to plenty of Thai restaurants in the states, but none could prepare for the explosion of flavors we were to encounter on our trip. The Thai cuisine consists of different soups, noodles, rice, and seasoned meats. They love chili powder!
Our experience with Thai food was hands down the most ‘different.’ It’s spices are best compared to Indian spices, which makes sense given Thailand’s geographic location. In our book we deep dive into each of the dishes that we ate there, but for this week, we’ll simply go through what our individual favorite foods were.
I was very surprised by how powerful all the tastes were in the Thai foods. What stood out to me the most was that there wasn’t necessarily a distinction between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You pretty much eat everything at all times of the day.
Everything is so spicy! Not only from chili but also from spices like galangal and ginger. Your tongue is attacked by every single type of spice.
My favorite part of Pad Thai here in the States is how sweet and saucy it is, but over there it was mostly dry. If it was saucy, it was more savory than anything else. They did provide packets of chili powder and sugar, but overall it wasn’t what I expected. However, the best Pad Thai I tasted in Thailand was Pad Thai that was completely wrapped in a fried egg.
Mangosteen is a popular fruit in Thailand. There’s a little trick to opening it. First you have to squeeze it gently so that the skin cracks, then you’re able to tear away at it and get to the sweet fruit. By looking at the bottom of the fruit, you can tell how many pieces it’s divided into on the inside. Mangosteen mainly grows in Southeast Asia, Southwest India, and other tropical areas where the tree has been brought to such as Puerto Rico and Florida.
I’m a tea lover. I enjoy how it makes me feel inside. I usually prefer hot teas over cold ones, but Thailand has introduced me to some delicious cold teas that still provide me with the same warm feeling.The best way I can describe it is like a warm hug, that’s how a good tea makes me feel. The three that stood out to me were:
- Thai Ice tea
- Lemongrass Ice Tea
- Longan Ice Tea
They were all incredibly delicious and refreshing.
I am not an adventurous eater. I mean, I flip out when they add pickles to my cheeseburger plain! However, when we travel I always make it a point to try as much as possible. Thailand has been the most intense in regards to adjusting to the taste. The food was good, but just spiced in ways I wouldn’t have expected. Even when I tried to be slick and simply order a fried chicken, there was always the ever present chili powder.
The first few days, I tried it all, but after about day 4 I was craving American food! I’ve never understood people who traveled around the world just to eat what they ate back home. After this trip, I now understand them. Even in the midst of all the crazy spices, I was able to find a few dishes that hit really close to home. Dishes that if you had told me came from my island of Puerto Rico, I’d believe you.
The first thing that caught my attention was a type of rice pudding. It was wrapped in a banana leaf for flavor, and had been soaked in Brandy! My family makes great ‘arroz con dulce’ (rice pudding) but this one was incredible. I will definitely be experimenting with my families recipe the next time we go to Puerto Rico.
I love coconuts. Similar to Jaky’s obsession with tea is mine with coconuts. I could be anywhere in the world and you give me coconuts, I’m instantly transported back home. From typical ice creams to desserts I would have never imagined. We even got to visit a coconut farm while exploring one of Thailand’s authentic floating markets. When we got back from Thailand to New York, I went to a bodega for Coconut water. The brand I buy is from Goya, a popular brand amongst Latin America. Could you believe that when I read the label it said, “Made in Thailand!” This ‘Latin’ drink that I’ve known my entire life was in fact grown in Thailand!
Burgers. No, burger is not a typical Thai food, but it was my safe haven whenever I just wanted a meal that reminded me of home. I ate burgers for every meal some days. I’m telling you, Thailand was a culture shock! When you get to Thailand, try everything. It’s an experience you won’t forget.