I’m pleased to welcome Melanie Grosjean to Chewing The Fat
Today, I welcome one of my fellow Contributors to www.Travel-Wise.com, Melanie Grosjean. Our guest writer grew up in a small farming town in South Central Kentucky. At Grad School in Colorado, she met her husband Joel. A full-time Mommy and part-time writer, four years ago Melanie and her family moved to Bangkok. She’s since been learning Thai, ” figuring out how to live and parent cross-culturally, eating endless bowls of Tom Yum and traveling as much as possible”. She loves to write about family travel and encourages families to travel with kids of all ages. When asked what’s the best age to start traveling with your kids, her answer is always “right now!” When she isn’t on the road or squeezed into economy class, you can find her sipping an iced latte or blogging at Adventure Family Life. Thank you so much for this Melanie. Let’s take off for Thailand!
Bangkok is a city full of food.
Here, you’ll find high-dollar haute cuisine rubbing shoulders with tiny local street stalls where a hearty plate of food won’t set you back much more than a dollar (there’s a reason why Thailand as a whole is considered such a budget-friendly family destination).There are seemingly endless options when it comes to choosing where and what to eat in Bangkok. Our list includes some of the most iconic dishes that you should consider trying when you visit. Most of these dishes can be found on virtually every street corner in Bangkok. Keep a look out for stalls selling these as you explore the city!
Tom Yum Koong
This hot and sour Thai soup is typically cooked with shrimp (that’s the Koong part of the name). You’ll occasionally see Tom Yum Gai (chicken) or find the soup made with other meat options. The dish is characterized by its distinct sour and hot flavors. There’s also a generous use of flavorful herbs and seasonings — galangal, lemongrass, chilis, lime and coriander. It’s best served hot with a plate of rice or as a part of a larger family-style meal with many Thai dishes. Keep reading for a tasty and simple Tom Yum Koong recipe that you can try at home!
Pad Thai Wrapped in an Egg
If you’ve ever tried Thai food, you’ve most likely eaten Pad Thai. It’s easily the most popular Thai dish in the West. In Bangkok you’ll find a variety of different versions. Our favorite includes perfectly cooked noodles, meaty jumbo shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts and spring onions. It’s all cooked in sauce in a hot wok and then wrapped in an egg. The egg makes a nice container for eating the noodles and adds a lot to the flavor profile of the dish. Squeeze a lime over it, sprinkle on some chili and dig in!
Netflix-Famous Crab Omelet
Jay Fai is a street food vendor in Bangkok that has long had a cult following. It’s named after its owner, whose real name is Supinya Junsuta, a 70+ year old woman who first opened the business in the 80s. Her popularity — and the popularity of her restaurant — skyrocketed after she appeared in the Netflix documentary “Street Food.” She was also awarded one star in the 2018 Bangkok Michelin Guide. The prices here are higher than other street food vendors, and the wait can be long. But the experience is the stuff of Bangkok legend. The crab omelet is perhaps the most famous dish, but we also enjoy the stir-fried seafood noodles with gravy, as well as the fried rice with crab.
Khao Soi is a mainstay of Northern Thai cuisine, most likely originating in Burma. The dish is a soup-like concoction made with boiled egg noodles, lime, ground chilis, meat, and shallots cooked in a curry-like sauce with coconut milk and topped with deep-fried, crispy egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, and fresh red onions. Even though it’s most easily found in Northern Thailand, it is one of our favorite Thai dishes and if your trip through Thailand only brings you to Bangkok, you’d be remiss not to hunt it down.
Som Tam is a spicy salad made from shredded green papaya, yard-long beans, tomatoes, garlic, and dried shrimp with a sauce of fish sauce, lime, palm sugar, shrimp paste and pla ra (fermented fish seasoning). It can be found on nearly every street corner in Bangkok. It’s one of the most popular dishes among locals. The dish is usually eaten alongside sticky rice and often with the hands. Many varieties exist with various meats and seafood added. The variety that’s most popular in Central Thailand is “Som Tam Thai.” A tasty deep-fried version can even be found in many Thai restaurants. It’s a nice appetizer for sharing with a group.The dish can be very hot, but it’s customary to specify how many chilis you’d like your dish to include. We recommend starting with one!
And now to the recipe for Tom Yung Koong
Here’s Melanie’s Recipe for Tom Young Koong. You’ll find the ingredients you need at an Asian market near you. Or you can order them from an on-line Asian Market like https://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/ in the US or https://orientalsupermarket.ca/ in Canada. By the way, we do have a recipe several Thai recipes of our own on Chewing The Fat. You’ll find the links below Melanie’s take on Tom Yung Koom. Here’s the recipe:
Tom Yung Koong
A true Taste of Thailand, a wonderfully warming soup filled with Asian flavors.
- 2 quarts of water
- 4 stalks of lemongrass with outermost leaves removed, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1-inch piece of galangal, chopped into slices
- 10 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 10 Thai bird chilies, stems removed (adjust number of chilis depending on how spicy you prefer your Tom Yum)
- 1 pound of shrimp
- 2 cups of oyster mushrooms
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 white onions, cut into wedges
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 8 to 12 tablespoons of fish sauce (to taste)
- ½ cup lime juice
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Step 1 In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil .
- Step 2 Pound lemongrass and Thai chilies lightly with a mallet on a cutting board.
- Step 3 Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chilies to the pot of water. Put the lid on and bring the water to a boil.
- Step 4 Once the water is boiling, add shrimp to the soup and reduce to a simmer.
- Step 5 Add mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.
- Step 6 You may get foam build-up on the top of your soup. If so, skim it off the top and throw it away.
- Step 7 Boil the soup for approximately 2-3 minutes
- Step 8 Add 6 tablespoons of the fish sauce and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Step 9 Boil the tom yum until the mushrooms and onions are soft, approximately 2 minutes longer.
- Step 10 Add about 8 tablespoons of lime juice.
- Step 11 Taste test the soup to make sure it’s perfectly sour and salty. Adjust levels of fish sauce, sugar and lime juice until you are happy with the flavor balance.
- Step 12 Add a handful of fresh cilantro and stir the soup one last time.