3 Thai Dishes to Die For


Food is adventure. While traveling the world where much of what we have done and seen is at least partially known to us through  technology and review sites, the food is always a walk on the wild side. The local dishes in the places that one travels can excite, disturb, or on extremely rare occasions, sicken you. Putting that spoon full of nourishment in your mouth is going to have a different effect on you, different from anyone elses. Our tastes are our own. This is one of the reasons that I love trying new local dishes in each place that we have visited. I want to share with you three of my favorite Thai dishes that were real adventures for me. I hope that you will like them as well!

1.Yum Pla Dook Foo (Catfish Floss with Mango Salad)

Yum Pla Dook Foo (Source)
Yum Pla Dook Foo (Source)

When I first laid eyes on Catfish floss, I was unsure as to what it was. It looks like a deep-fried loofah. I would consider trying it at the night markets, but would sway to the booths with things that I knew would be good. There is nothing more disappointing for me than getting food that is inedible when I am hungry. And usually at night markets, there is a plethora of wonderful food choices.

After we had been in Thailand for one year, I finally tried it… and I LOVE IT! I am sure that it is not the ultimate of health foods, but boy oh boy, is it delicious! The catfish is baked, then the meat is pulled off the bone and fluffed with a fork and fried. It is salty and crunchy, and not fishy at all. Catfish floss crumbled over the top of a tart mango salad and I am in food heaven. The bitter green mango, the spicy chili’s, the salty catfish, and the sour lime juice makes for a dish that satisfies all the taste buds. This dish is a true example that looks can be deceiving. It’s beauty is all in the taste.

2. Sai Krok Isan (Issan Sausage)

Sai Krok Issan

Issan sausage was introduced to us when we were staying in Hua Hin, at the wonderful Sea Harmony Guest House. Our friends, Node and Indy, offered an Issan breakfast with Issan sausage, potato cake, and sticky rice that was an addicting breakfast. In fact we would trundle on down to their cafe, Yummy Corner, at least 4 times a week for the yummy sausage and good company.

Issan sausage is a fermented pork sausage that originates in the Northeastern part of Thailand. It is sold at most night markets, but I admit that it can be difficult to find someone who makes it to your liking. We have one lady here in Phuket that goes to all the night markets and we follow her around when we get a craving for the barbecued deliciousness. The reason that the sausages vary are the proportions that the people use of the  pork meat, garlic, rice, fat, and rice. So make sure to try a few (or more) of these sausages at the night markets while you are here. There is bound to be one that will please your taste buds.

3. Som Tam Thai (Papaya Salad)

Som Tam
Som Tam

I have been to Thailand numerous times over the years, but admit that I stuck to the safe dishes for the first couple of trips. And I kick myself all the time for it, because I missed out on this dish. Som Tam is one of my favorite dishes in Thailand. It is my go to lunch on a hot day due to its fresh, crisp, cool, spiciness. The shredded green papaya is a perfect base to the lime juice, chilis and fish sauce. Add to that the salty roasted peanuts, chopped tomatoes, garlic, and dried little shrimp and you have a culinary circus that will delight the senses.

One wonderful thing about this dish, is that it is flexible. If you are vegan, change the fish sauce to soy sauce and leave out the shrimps. If you are allergic to peanuts, leave them off. You can also have them add fresh crab to the salad which gives it a real seafood flavor. The choices abound, so try this dish and make it yours!

Now it is your turn! Have you ever tried these dishes? Would you try them? What dish would you have included in this article? Leave a comment and join in the fun!

photo credit: mmmyoso via photopin cc
photo credit: Kake Pugh via photopin cc

  39 comments for “3 Thai Dishes to Die For

  1. Rachel E. Bledsoe
    November 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Yes, I would try all these. They look and sound YUMMY (except for the catfish floss, I am guessing it tastes better than the name implies.) You do have my mouth watering for the Som Tam Thai. And now I am off to raid my fridge.

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 11:34 am

      I should have put a warning to eat first. 🙂

  2. tieshka
    November 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Yummy! I am not adventuresome with food, but I definitely would like to try two of these dishes. Will have to add their names to my phone for when that time arrives.

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I think you could probably get the sausage and som tam in most that restaurants. It may be more difficult to get the catfish floss. 🙂

  3. mamabyfire
    November 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’ve never tried any of them, but I would now! If I saw them on my own, I would be wary, but with your descriptions, they all sound delicious! Especially the catfish floss!!

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      It really is! I hope you get some soon!

  4. Sha
    November 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Have never tried any of them but the catfish floss looks interesting! Is it a dish only found in specific parts of thailand only?

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      I am not sure… I am pretty sure you would be able to find it at most night markets. Definitely anywhere here in Phuket though.

  5. joylovestravel
    November 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Never heard of any of them never mind tried any – but they all sound delicious to me! Drooling over those descriptions and pictures – especially the catfish dish.

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      I am so glad that you want to try them!

  6. Lani
    November 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    We love fried fish, and well, I think Thailand does a superb job of cooking fish with its delish sauces, too. So, if I see that, I’d love try it. Food is very much regional here.

    We also eat som tam on a regular basis. My b/f is convinced it is the best food for colds or when you feel like you are going to get one. Everyone seem to think that som tam lao is better than som tam thai but after trying the former a great deal, I think thai is better. Like you said, depends on tastes.

    My recent discovery is tam tua which is som tam, but made with green beans and tomatoes. I love it!

    And in the North, we have our own famous sausages with rich herbs that I greatly enjoy with a green chili sauce. I might have had an Issan one and not even known it because I love Thai sausages, too.

    Bon appetite!

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      I will definitely have to try the tam tua! It sounds so good!

  7. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    November 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Great looking food. I could live on it. Why do they have night markets there? Are they every night? Just certain nights? Just certain seasons? I know you’ve mentioned them before and sorry if you’ve answered these questions elsewhere!

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Those are great questions! I have never been asked them!
      There are many types of outdoor markets here in Thailand. There are morning ones where you go to buy your local ingredients to make your own food (freshly butchered meat, seafood, veggies, herbs, etc) and night markets where you go to buy prepared meals and snacks and general sundries (clothing, accessories, tech stuff, etc). We frequent a night market near our house on Tuesday’s and a big weekend market. I know there are many other markets that happen around Phuket, so there probably are one every day and night.

      • thehomeschoolingdoctor
        November 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

        It sounds fun. We always try to go to local markets wherever we travel if there are some. I have never been to a night market though!

        • andthreetogo
          November 23, 2014 at 8:08 pm

          They are so much fun! And cheap!

  8. Sue Slaght
    November 22, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I laughed out loud at your description of it looking like ‘deep fried loofah’. Hilarious. As I think I have mentioned Thailand has long been on my bucket list. I’m not so adventurous when it comes to food though. Catfish Moss you say?? 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      November 22, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Often times you can ask the food sellers at the night markets here to try a sample of their dishes before you buy a whole plate… you really should make the trip and try these! I would be happy to show you around. 🙂

      • Sue Slaght
        November 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm

        Oh that would be amazing Jenny. Dave and I were just talking last night how wonderful it is to have made connections with people all over the world. Thailand is not on the 2015 calendar but I will keep your generous offer in mind. That would be marvelous.

  9. Anna (Four Kids One Mom Travel London)
    November 23, 2014 at 9:33 am

    The Papaya Salad looks fantastic! Since Thailand isn’t in the budget this year, I might try making it at home. Any tips?

  10. melissajane01
    November 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    That salad dish looks refreshing and the catfish one looks so good! I’ve only had Thai food in the states but I like Pad See-ew.

    • andthreetogo
      November 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Pad see ew is a great dish! Some thai restaurants offer som tam so hopefully you can try it!

  11. kemkem
    November 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Oh my!!! Yes, l would try all three. They look delicious, absolutely delicious. 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      November 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Are there any Thai restaurants in Malaga?

  12. Much to be thankful for!
    November 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I used to be a bit more adventerous in my food tastings until I developed an allergy to Shrimp, but It was quite a bit of excitement to visit you guys and try your various suggestions. I’m always partial to things made with fresh fruit and veggies. I am not nearly as brave as you guys are when it comes to trying unusual items. No on bugs for sure; i don’t even like to see them, let alone eat them. :-0) Always fun to hear of your culinary travels though!

    • andthreetogo
      November 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Mom you should come visit again! There is so much more to try! And all of them shrimpless!

  13. citramanica
    November 24, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I’d like to try all three! But I guess you can only get them in Thailand? Not sure Thai restaurants here serve those!

    • andthreetogo
      November 25, 2014 at 12:01 am

      They may! Show them my post and maybe the can make them for you!

      • citramanica
        November 25, 2014 at 12:10 am

        Good idea, might just try it!

  14. Ai
    November 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I would try any of these dishes! I love trying food from different places. It’s a great way to experience other cultures.

    • andthreetogo
      November 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

      It’s my favorite way to experience cultures… Now if only it was calorie free hahah

  15. thebritishberliner
    November 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I love them all as Thai food is so delicious as long as there’s no peanut, coconut, or any other nut in it! However, my favourite stuff was fish!

    • andthreetogo
      November 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      The deep fried sweet chili fish is another one of my favorites!

  16. gallivance.net
    November 29, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Jennifer, these are wonderful. I’m especially smitten with Som Tam and can’t wait to try it. 🙂 ~Terri

    • andthreetogo
      November 29, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Oh I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  17. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    December 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Wow – love these! Not your usual curries for sure. Not that I want to say anything against curries!

    Oh, now I want Thai food immediately. As soon as possible!

    • andthreetogo
      December 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Come visit again! 🙂

      • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
        December 4, 2014 at 5:52 am

        P wants to for sure – but I think he’s after the pool rather than the Thai food. Sigh.

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