4 Great Food Tips To Help You To Enjoy Your Retirement In Thailand
One Saturday morning some years ago, I attended a class in a Bangkok hotel on the subject of how to carve fruit, Thai style. The teacher of our small group was an elderly Thai lady, who had spent her working life in the service of the Royal household, preparing fruit and vegetables for state banquets.
That’s when I learned how to make a melon basket and fill it with melon balls, and how to transform other fruits into flowers. It all looked almost too good to eat and although I was no stranger to Thai food, having previously been assigned to Bangkok for eighteen months, this experience of fruit carving I saw as further confirmation of these facts:
- Thai people are superb when it comes to attention to detail, and producing great art with their hands
- These traits are also evident in the breadth and diversity of Thai cuisine
- In common with other haute cuisines, such as French, Chinese and Indian cuisines, Thai cuisine developed from the royal court
The proof of my first point is evident everywhere in Thailand, from the gilded temples to the beautifully made ceramics, but the subject here is Thai food, and we’ll stick to that!
#1 Some like it Hot
The first thing you have to understand is that Thais love spicy food. In fact, they love really spicy and extremely hot food. On several occasions I have seen Thais eating big, whole, raw, red chili peppers as if they were eating popcorn, and believe me, it made me wince. But don’t worry, when you are served Thai food, you will be asked how spicy do you like it, and if you are a novice, your answer should always be “very little spicy please” (“nit noi”), to avoid burning your mouth, having your face turn purple and sweating like a fire hydrant. Over time, you can train yourself to handle increasing levels of spiciness but go easy at the start.
#2 Thai Curries
The basic Thai curry menus fall into “color” categories, which are red, green and yellow curries, and within these different colors you can opt for either chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp, and sometimes for a combination of two meats, for example, chicken and pork. Whichever curry you choose, it’s advisable to take rice with it, and here again you have almost limitless options, including rice with vegetables, rice with egg, yellow rice, boiled rice, and white rice just to name a few. Whatever your choice of curry may be, it’s going to be delicious!
#3 Thai Salads
When it comes to Thai salads, there are once again so many choices. Some of the vegetables, such as lettuce, potato, and onion will be familiar to new arrivals from colder climes, but others will be “local”, and fruits are often used in salads too, with thin strips of green mango being a particular favorite ingredient with many people. Crab meat, shrimp, chicken, eggs, pineapple and a host of other foods are to be found in Thai salads, which come with a distinctive sauce, and several choices of herbs, ground peanuts and other stuff that you will add yourself, to suit your taste. Thai salads are great for a light lunch, or an oversize snack.
#4 Thai Fast Food
Wherever you are in Thailand, food is not far away.
Sit-down restaurants abound, ranging from splendid to shabby, and all offer in-house and take-out service.
Street vendors, using hand-carts and even motorbikes cunningly modified to serve as restaurants, where food is stored, cooked and sold, are a common sight on the streets of the capital and in every town throughout the land. The vendors tend to specialize to a certain degree, with some offering a range of grilled pork, chicken, fish and shrimps, while others are wok-masters who can produce, using a score of herbs and so forth, traditional Thai dishes such as “Pad Thai” (wok-fried noodles with your choice of shrimp, pork or chicken), and various soups and salads.
Almost all foreigners in Thailand, whether they are working, holidaying or retired, eat and enjoy Thai food, and for those times when they feel nostalgic, there is no shortage of western and Indian restaurants that also offer great food, and of course, the ubiquitous KFC and MacDonald franchises.
I am not an expert in cooking Thai food, but I am a great fan as a consumer, and for what it’s worth, my favorites include green chicken curry, green mango salad and papaya salad, amongst many others. When you retire to Thailand, you too will become familiar with many dishes, and you’ll have your favorites too. You may even be inspired to try a bit of Thai cooking yourself. You won’t have any problem finding a good teacher!
For a smooth retirement, speak to Konrad Legal. They will be happy to give you the best advice.