Thai

American Fried Rice

Thai name: Khao pat amerigan

You don't have to be in Thailand too long or make too many Thai friends before one of them will eventually order khao pat amerigan at some food stall or restaurant. I frequently get asked about it by first-time visitors, who assume that the dish really is American in origin, even if they themselves are from the USA and have never heard of it.

Black Bean Dessert

“Black beans for dessert?” I hear you asking incredulously. Yes, as I've mentioned before, Thais don't follow the same “rules” about what is sweet and what is savory that westerners do, although they can be just as rigid about their ideas. I've never seen black beans used in a Thai main course, but this dessert dish is quite common.

Spicy Drunken Noodles

I've never been able to find out exactly how this dish got its name, which in Thai is kwiteeo pat kee mao. Unlike Chinese 'drunken' recipes that I have known, there's no alcohol used in this dish, ever. The basic ingredients are similar to those used in stir-fried meats with garlic and holy basil, called pat krapao in Thai. It does appear that the name actually refers to the diner, rather than the dish. In other words, the name should be translated as 'drunkard's noodles' but that just doesn't have quite the same ring.

Rice Noodles in Thick Gravy

This simple dish, called rat nha in Thai, is widely available throughout Thailand, where for many it's a 'comfort' food. In stalls, the gravy is usually prepared in a large pot and ladled out over bowls of noodles and kale. If you can't find Chinese kale, broccoli is a good match for the colour, crunchiness and taste of Chinese kale. Likewise, cornstarch can just as easily be used in place of tapioca flour (cassava starch) as a thickening agent.

Thai Fried Chicken

Thailand has long enjoyed its own special style of fried chicken, made with their very own blend of 'secret' herbs and spices. Fried or grilled chicken is found throughout the kingdom with regional variations. For me, fried chicken always makes me think of the beach. Just about any stretch of beach in Thailand that is well visited will have a string of shacks selling fried or barbecued chicken, along with som tam and sticky rice. It's the perfect beach food, since you can eat it all with your hands and not care about how sticky your fingers get.

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