Thailand Food and Drink

Thai food is traditionally fairly hot and spicy, but most tourist restaurants tend to tone down the heat for the more fragile Western palate. Most Thai food is prepared with fresh ingredients such as lemon grass and coriander and rice is commonly eaten with most meals. Popular fruits are papaya, jackfruit, mangosteens, rambutans, pomelos (similar to grapefruits) and, above all, durians, which farangs (foreigners) either love or hate. The thorny fruits have a rather malodorous scent which has even resulted in many hotels banning them from their premises.

Excellent food can be found at the stalls of the many street vendors around the country as well as top-notch eateries. There are also many Asian and European restaurants throughout the major cities and smaller towns.

• Tom yam (a coconut-milk soup prepared with makroot leaves, ginger, lemon grass, prawns or chicken).
• Gang pet (hot 'red' curry with coconut milk, herbs, garlic, chili, shrimp paste, coriander and seasoning).
• Pad Thai (stir-fried rice-noodles) served with shrimp or chicken and garnished with peanuts.
• Desserts include salim (sweet noodles in coconut milk).
• Well worth trying is sticky rice and mangoes (rice cooked in coconut milk served with slices of mango).

Things to know:
Bars have counter or table service.

Most hotels and restaurants will add 10% service charge and 7% government tax to the bill.

Regional drinks:
• Mekhong (local whiskey) and SamSong (rum) are very popular.
• Singha and Singha Gold are locally made beers which dominate the domestic market.
• Coconut milk straight from the shell during the harvest season is particularly refreshing in the heat and humidity.