Flat noodles with egg …it sure does pass the muster of our ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet. Along with flat noodles coated in a dark sauce, which I assumed was soya sauce, the dish had loads of green leaves and some off white blobs, which I assumed was some egg preparation. I filled two bowls, gave one to Ankur and went ‘chomp chomp’ with my grub. Ankur was half way through his portion when he bit something hard… a little piece of bone. Sorry! We thought that we were having flat noodles with egg.
Na na na! We were chomping on flat noodles with chicken shreds, that we had dished out at the buffet assuming them to be egg noodles as they looked just like the egg noodles that we had on the previous day. Eating in Thailand can sometimes be challenging!
Ankur and I have been to Thailand four times. While I love Thai cuisine, Ankur is still trying to acquire the taste of coconut milk and struggles if he has to down more than five spoons of Thai green curry. No stress…I can eat a bowl full of this flavoursome dish and ask for more. Ankur and I have found our favourites in the Thai cuisine that comply with our ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet. Yeah…we know that it sounds kind of fussy. For all our readers who are primarily vegetarian, here are five recommendations that we have that you must sample when you are in Thailand:
Raw Papaya Salad (Som Tam):
It you are looking for a dish that sets your tongue on fire, this is it! Shredded raw papaya, french beans and tomato strips are laced in a dressing of lemon juice, garlic and cane/raw sugar. Crushed peanuts add the crunch. Oh! I missed the hot red chillies that make your nose and eyes water. It’s perfect for those on a diet – low fat, high fibre content.
If you want to load some carbs with the dish, try it with come sticky or steamed rice – it tastes great!
Thai Green Curry with Steamed Rice:
Fiery…spicy….hot….and yummy! Thai green curry is my favourite dish on any menu in Thailand. The fragrance of lime and lemon grass that emanates from a steaming bowl of green curry make me hungry, even if I have had a couple of pizza slices an hour earlier.
The coconut milk based curry is loaded with vegetables (snow peas, Thai brinjals, broccoli, greens) and served with a bowl of steamed rice – a complete meal in itself.
Flat Thai Noodles (Pad Thai):
Authentic thai noodles are flat, unlike their Chinese cousins. Typically, they are made using rice flour…Thais love their rice! You will find ‘Pad Thai’ on the menu in every Thai restaurant. Simply tell the waiter that you do not need any seafood or meat added to it and that he should add some tofu and vegetables instead.
Voila, another complete meal!
Stir Fried Vegetables:
I like the way the Thais make their stir fried vegetable. The vegetables are cooked, yet have their crunch. It is pretty common to add oyster sauce or fish sauce while cooking the dish. Just let the waiter know that you would prefer soya sauce instead. I particularly like the combination of pineapple and cashew nut in dark soya sauce, along with some palm sugar.
Sticky Rice and Mango:
How can a meal end without dessert? To me, sticky rice and mango is the perfect way to end a meal. The rice is cooked in coconut milk with added sugar and a pinch of salt. Yes! Sugar and salt together taste just fine! It is served with slices of sweet ripe mango and coconut cream.
The dish is seasonal, courtesy the availability of mangoes in summers only. If you cannot find it in the local market in Bangkok, you will find plenty of boxes at the Bangkok Duty Free. Go on…buy a box…and indulge!
While the Thai cuisine is biased towards sea food and meat, vegetarians can definitely find options to sample the local taste. No trip is ever complete unless you sample the local flavours. Thai food is fresh, spicy and flavoursome. As a vegetarian, you should just know what to order and your taste buds sure will have a great time!