April 02, 2012

What I Ate in Thailand

I hope you guys aren't sick of hearing about my trip yet because, as promised, I have more pictures of the food I ate to share with you!

After Singapore, my sister and I travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few days of relaxation and exploring. I loved the area and I really loved all the food! There were always so many options that I wanted to try, and not enough meals in the days to try them all!

In the short time that we were there, I was able to try a pretty good mix of drinks, desserts, restaurant meals and street food. I actually found the vegetarian options to be better in Chiang Mai compared to Singapore, so I never had to worry about finding something to eat!

Since it was always so hot during the days, we loved to cool off with refreshing drinks and ice cream. On our first day, we found a great indoor cafe (with air conditioning!), where I enjoyed an amazing creamy coconut ice cream and a delicious Thai iced coffee frappe. 

There were also lots of street stalls selling "Ancient ice cream", which came as a block on a popsicle stick. I chose the pandan flavor, which was quite different from any other flavor of ice cream I've tried, but I liked it!

Another really good way to refresh during the hot weather was by drinking coconut water. We saw a lot of stands selling fresh coconuts that they would just crack open and stick a straw in for you to drink the water inside. If you're not a fan of the taste of coconut water, then you might find it disgusting (as I did the very first time I tried it in India a couple years ago), but I now I love it, and I feel much better about drinking the real thing than the bottled kind!

On our last day, I wanted one more chance to try an authentic Thai iced coffee, so I ordered one with my lunch at the hotel, which was also so good!

And of course, we had to enjoy a couple of tropical cocktails by the pool, since we were on vacation! I tried a mai tai and a banana daiquiri, which were equally delicious!

As I mentioned, there's a good variety of street food available in Chiang Mai, especially at the night markets.  Here are a couple of shots of some of the snacks being prepared:

I definitely did not try the fried crickets, but I did get an amazing little snack that was a mixture of coconut and peanuts wrapped in a banana leaf and served on a skewer.  I wish I had have bought more of those!

Nat and I also shared a serving of small Thai pancakes, which are made from coconut milk and sprinkled with sugar.  They had a gooey texture in the middle that was a bit weird at first, but overall I really liked them!

Another snack we tried from our hotel that was really simple but also really good was these mini rice cakes that are dipped in honey and then black and white sesame seeds - crispy and sweet and a nice accompaniment to tea!

Whenever we went to restaurants, it was hard for me to choose something because I was never too sure what the dish would end up being based on the description.  Here's one that didn't really meet my expectations - it was described as flat noodles with tofu and vegetables on a bed of lettuce, but the actual dish turned out to be a bit bland.

Another dish that I was a bit disappointed in was my tofu satays.  I really wanted to try an authentic peanut sauce, but the sauce wasn't great and I wasn't crazy about the fried tofu either.  At least the setting of the restaurant was really cool - I got to sit in a comfy basket chair with lots of pillows!

One that did turn out really well was a panang curry that I ordered at a vegetarian restaurant. It came with tofu and vegetables with some Thai basil and peanuts, and a very spicy broth! And I liked how the rice came served in the shape of a heart.

Another restaurant dish that I loved was this papaya salad.  I had wanted to try a mango salad in Thailand, but the papaya version seemed to be more common, and I was glad that I tried it! 

Our hotel also served a pretty good lunch buffet that we got twice when we didn't want to go out.  One of the options was a made-to-order pad thai that was so fresh and flavorful.

I also tried a make-your-own miso soup, but I must have added too many chilis because it kind of destroyed my taste buds after I ate it!

From the dessert bar, I tried a mix of coloured glass noodles, sweet pumpkin, sago and fresh coconut in a cold coconut milk soup. I wasn't crazy about the jellies or the pumpkin, but I loved the coconut part!

Another great meal where I got to try some local sweets was on the day that we visited an elephant farm and they provided a picnic lunch served on banana leaves. 

The vegetarian options included a lot of sticky rice and sweets, but I didn't mind!  I tried three kinds of sticky rice - one plain, one with a sweet custard, and a black rice with pieces of coconut. 

I didn't have much room left in my stomach to try all of the desserts, but I did try a few - my favourites were the fried banana (not pictured), and the coconut patty (the flat round one pictured below).

Finally, I couldn't end this post without sharing the biggest highlight of my trip to Chiang Mai - the chance to become an "elephant owner for a day"!  It was such an amazing experience being able to interact with a mother and her baby elephant and riding the mother bareback through the farm trails and hills. Here's my favourite picture of me riding my elephant with the baby tagging along. 

Now that I've shared my travelling experiences, next time I'll be back with another recipe!

In the meantime, you can also check out my sister's recaps of the food she ate in Singapore ( parts one and two) and Thailand (parts one and two).


  1. WOW!!! So many good eats! Looks like an amazing trip :)
    Also, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!
    http://naturalnoshing.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/versatile-blogger-award/ - feel free to check it out if you want

    1. Wow, thanks so much Nora! That means a lot to me to be nominated by you! And yes, it was a pretty great trip :)

  2. What an amazing trip!

    Loving the recap of your foodies travels - and that elephant ride, what an amazing experience :)

    ..Loving that top you ae wearing in the Elephant Pic- do mind if I asked where you go it?

    1. The t-shirts and pants were given to us to wear just for the day - the shirts were actually handmade by some of the local villagers and came in a variety of colors. I think we wore them mainly to support the local people, but the trainers told us they also helped the elephants recognize us better!

  3. I love reading about your travelling. Sounds like such a great trip.

    1. Thanks for reading - I'm glad I could share the experience :)

  4. So cool!! The food looks awesome (even the iced coffee has me wanting one!) - and I love the elephant pic!

    1. Thanks! I loved the iced coffee there, especially in the heat!

  5. Such a great post :) The picture of you and the elephants is so incredible. Wow! I must go to Thailand now!!!! :)

    The food sounds soooooo delicious. The banana daiquiri!? YUM! And the peanut coconut banana leaf skewers look really neat. I adore thai food....so I am actually drooling right now after looking at all of the photos! *hehe*

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Definitely has me thinking about a trip to Thailand in the next year or two.

    1. If you ever get the chance, then yes, you should definitely go there! I wish I could have taken a longer trip and seen more of the country. And the peanut coconut things were definitely tasty - they were actually similar to one of the recipes I made on New Years from Vegan Planet (the thai style lettuce wraps)

  6. You look so tiny on that elephant! I think I'd feel more comfortable riding the baby one. ;) I'm glad you were able to find lots of vegetarian food in Thailand--it all looks so good! I want Thai pancakes now. :D

    1. Haha - I wanted to try riding the baby too! But he was so playful and unpredictable, he probably would have rode me off a cliff! The Thai pancakes were pretty unique - quite different from North American style pancakes!

  7. oooh sounds like one amazing trip.. i havent seen elephants ever in the wild.. all were always chained up, in circuses or other places in india. this must have been so amazing.

    1. Yeah, they really treated the elephants well at the place we went. There were other elephant places in Chiang Mai that make the elephants perform or other things like that, but this one was more like a nature reserve. It was amazing!



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