Most of the food we got in Thailand was street food from vendors, or a restaurant that basically had a roof or some sort of covering and tables and chairs. I think we ate at one Thai Restaurant that had air conditioning. McDonalds, Pizza Company, and Swensens all had air conditioning and were in real buildings, but if we ate Thai, no air conditioning, lots of flies, but great food! Don’t let the lack of western conveniences scare you off. Thai food is some of the best in the world!
Here is a list of some of our favorite foods. I’m sure there are more, but here’s what I came up with!
Fresh Fruit-Thailand has amazing fruit! We especially love the mangoes and pineapple. Not Spicy and great for kids!
Gai Yang-Grilled Chicken. This is a family favorite. Great with Sticky Rice . Not Spciy and great for kids! (No pictures for Gai yang.)
Mu Ping-Pork on a stick. Great with Sticky Rice. More popular for breakfast. Not spicy and great for kids! In fact Ryan said if he was trapped on a deserted island and could only bring 5 foods, mu ping would be one of them!)
Nam Tok-Waterfall. Its a good cut of pork marinated in soy sauce, garlic, lemon grass, kifir lime leaves, and sugar. Grilled or broiled and cut in thin strips. Served in or with a sauce of ground chili peppers, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and toasted sesame seeds ground up. Great with sticky rice. This dish is harder to find, but it is SO worth getting. We made this with our friend Pee Nam and we got it on the rafts. (Can be Spicy, but when we made it, we made a less spicy version for the kids and they really liked the flavor. I recommend getting it normal spicy for the grown ups!)
Mango sticky Rice-Another dish more popular at breakfast time. Coconut sticky rice served with mango with a coconut sauce drizzled on top. Sometimes it comes with crunchies and those are great. (Not spicy, good for kids, although my kids don’t like it.)
Ice Cream-We ate a lot of Ice Cream this trip. Kids got at least one ice cream a day, mostly from 7-11. We went to swensen’s once for their amazing ice cream, but its a sit down place and more pricey (worth it)! We also got rolled ice cream from a night market. We got ice cream with sticky rice and mangoes too. Chris got a literal ice cream sandwich. (Ice cream scoops in between white bread with sticky rice inside. Don’t knock it until you try it!) We also got the strawberry slushies on the bamboo rafts. (Not Spicy and kid approved.)
Ovaltine-In Thailand they make hot ovaltine and pour it over ice and mix it with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. So good! (Not Spicy and kid approved)
Nam Pan-Fruit smoothies. I especially like coconut and watermelon! (No pictures.) (Not Spicy and Kid approved.)
Thai Iced Tea-A milk tea made with sweetened condensed milk. (Not Spicy, but does have a little bit of caffeine.)
Roti-Flat bread. They can be savory and delicious, or sweet and delicious! Savory is made with meat and curry. Sweet is made lots of different ways. Some of the ways we ate them were with sweetened condensed milk, bananas, eggs, banana, eggs, strawberry, chocolate, corn, nutella and banana. We especially loved savory, and banana and egg! Some restaurants sell Roti, and I think they are better. But the most common way to find Roti is someone on a bike driving around selling them. (Not Spicy and kid approved, although the meat ones could possibly be spicy.)
Garlic Pork-Another one of Ryan’s favorite dishes. Crispy pork with fried garlic. This is a dry dish and Ryan doesn’t like his meat wet, so no sauces for him. (Not Spicy and kid approved.)
Fried rice-Lillian loves fried eggs. We got it with chicken a lot of times. (None pictured. Lillian loved this in Thailand and China. Also not spicy and kid approved!)
Tom Yum Goong-A coconut curry soup with shrimp. We ate this at the bamboo rafts and at a restaurant on the way to the bat caves. We ate it over rice. You can also get it with a different protein. Goong=Shrimp. Can be spicy, but not too bad.)
Pizza Company-Good Pizza in Thailand. Chris ate here a lot when he lived here before. (Not Spicy and kid approved.)
Swensens-Sit down ice cream place in Thailand. Chris ate here a lot when he lived here before. (Not spicy and kid approved.)
McDonalds-Pretty similar to our McDonalds. Kids liked eating here every now and then. They loved the McDonalds play place in Khon Kaen. (Not spicy and kid approved.)
Chinese Food-In China we ate a lot of noodles and a lot of dumplings We had noodles in soup, and we had peanut noodles. We had dumplings in soup, we had the small steamed bun dumplings, and we had normal dumplings. Everything was delicious! (Everything we ate in China was not spicy and kid approved!)
Hotel Food-We ate at our hotels a few times. Some had breakfast buffets. At the buffets there was toast, and fruit. Some had cereals. There were egg stations where people would make your eggs you wanted to order. (Fried eggs, scrambled, and omelets.) They also had traditional Thai breakfast that was a rice soup. They also had Thai food on their buffets. Kids stuck mostly to fruit and toast. Lillian would also get eggs. I got eggs and toast mostly, and Chris mostly got Thai food. All of it was pretty good and filling. One of our hotels had a restaurant behind it, but it looked like they were owned/ran by the same people. At this hotel we got Sweet and Sour chicken and garlic chicken for Ryan. Another hotel had a restaurant in it. At this place we got cashew chicken (which is harder to find) and rice with a Thai omelet on top for Lillian. These dishes were good too, but they did cost more. (All these dishes come pretty mild and are kid approved!)
Bamboo Rafts-The bamboo rafts we went on had a restaurant that we ordered at and they would bring our food to us by boat while we were on the middle of the lake. This place was so cool, not only was it an awesome experience, but it was some of the best food we had. We ordered garlic pork for Ryan, fried rice for Lillian, Nam Tok, and Tom Yum Goong for Chris and me. They also had a boat serving fresh strawberry slushies that were to die for. Over all one of my favorite things we did on our trip, and some of my favorite food! (Tom Yum Goong, and Nam Tok were a bit spicy, everything else wasn’t and kid approved!)
Indian/Muslim Food– Thailand has some delicious curries! When we asked our Tuk Tuk driver to take us to get curry, he took us the Muslim/Indian area of Thailand. When we saw the green flag with moons and stars, we knew we were in for a treat! This is by far my favorite food in Thailand and we ate at a few different places that were all equally delicious. First in Phitsanoluk we stopped at a place where the cutest older couple had a restaurant and were working together. He wold make the rotis and she did the curries and drinks. I wish we had more time in Phitsanoluk just eat at their restaurant make friends with them! We ordered Mataba, which is a meat/curry filled roti. We also ordered plain roti with chicken curry and Lillian and I shared a strawberry Lassi (Sweet yogurt smoothie. The Yogurt flavor is very strong and makes a sweet tart drink.). It was so good we had to order seconds! I loved their Mataba best here, and it was the only place I found a Lassi.
In Chiang Rai we ate at one restaurant at least 3 times! (We were in Chiang Rai for 4 days.) They had the best sweet rotis hands down. It was on the complete opposite side of town that we were on, but we made the drive every day it was so good! They had great mataba as well, but I liked the Phitsanoluk place better for mataba. They had great curry here though, and we always left overstuffed!
For lunch we went to a different place in Chiang Rai, this place Chris ate at when he lived there before, and took me back nine years ago. We got a few different curries and they were delicious. We were hoping to get Masaman curry, but they didn’t have any. The curries we did get were amazing. We also go ours with Turmeric rice that came with crunchy onions on top and an amazing green sauce made from cilantro, mint, and other herbs, and it was a little sweet. This sauce elevated all the food from tastey to amazing! They only made rotis at night, and when we came back later that night they were closed, so I ‘m not sure how their rotis were.
We also went to another place in between Chiang Rai and where we rode elephants, that had great food too. We got their Khao soi, which wasn’t great, but we got chicken and rice that was amazing. Same turmeric rice with crunchy onions and green sauce. (Curries and Mataba can be spicy, but everything else isn’t and is kid approved!)
Khao Soi– is a northern coconut curry soup. It comes with two chicken drumsticks and has noodles, and crunchy noodles. On the side they give red onions and limes to add to the dish when you eat it. Great textures and flavors! The first place we got khao soi was pretty good! We also got Chicken Satay in a peanut sauce here and everything was great! (Khao soi can be a little spicy, but Chicken Satay wasn’t. Kid approved!)
Pad Thai– We didn’t eat a lot of Pad Thai, although we ate more this trip than last. We did get some in Yasothon from a street vendor. We ordered it to go and they wrapped it basically in butcher paper. When we got home we unwrapped it and used the butcher paper like a plate. This place was great. Super flavor pad Thai! The other place we got it was in Chiang Rai. This one was so so, not nearly as flavorful, but still decent. We got fried rice and garlic pork here as well. (No pictures of our Pad Thai, but watch this video of Gordon Ramsey trying to make Thai food!) (Pad Thai can be a little spicy with lots of flavors to balance the spice, it was a little too spicy for my kids.)
Spicy Pork Dishes-Pork is a very popular meat in Thailand and we ate several pork dishes. Most stir fried with vegetables and spices. (Spicy!)
Noodle Soup dishes– We ate at several noodle soup places. Most had mu daeng (red pork) or pork meatballs in it. All were super flavorful and Delicious! (Not Spicy and kid approved!)
Mookata-grill your own meat at your table. (Some meats were spicy, but most weren’t. Kid approved!)
Seafood-Whole Fish to Whole Shrimp. Might look scary, but it all tastes good! (Not spicy, but its still seafood, so it just depends on your kids.)
We have some picky kids, but we found a lot of food that everyone loved! We would take breaks for them and get them McDonalds or pizza, but for the most part they found Thai food they liked. I also carried around a loaf of bread and peanut butter and honey to make them sandwiches for the times they couldn’t find something they liked!