It is a great tragedy that we do not have a street food culture in Australia. On the other hand, it’s probably a good thing because this deficiency has kept me from being extremely overweight.
I’ve been travelling around Thailand for the last ten days and have become an absolute street food glutton. Last night I managed to fit in three desserts. Three! It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.
Green mango (or pomelo, or any sour fruit) with chilli/sugar/salt has caught my eye quite a few times. I had a version of it at nahm in Bangkok and was intrigued by the intensity and layers of flavour. The street food versions do not seem to include citric acid, as far as I can tell, so they are not quite as intense. Nonetheless, a great combination of flavours.
I love how simple and powerful this little snack is. It also seems like something that could (and should) be easily recreated in Australia.
I have also had some difficulty walking past food grilling on sticks. On the occasion in the photo above, I went for the squid (certainly not the dubious meaty balls – that is outside the boundaries of my otherwise adventurous tastebuds).
Again, this is so simple and yet so tasty. It is served with a fairly standard Thai dipping sauce (I guess fish sauce, chillies, lime juice and sugar – looks like some garlic chives in there too).
In Chinatown in Bangkok I found some squirmy gelatinous green vegetable. This is deep fried and served with a soy-based chilli sauce. I’ve seen this a few times in Chiang Mai as well. I did not LOVE this but it was very interesting.
Now, I am in Chiang Mai. Last night I ate a black sticky rice pancake, which was served on a banana leaf with sugar and black sesame seeds. It was very interesting – I love the flavour of black sticky rice. The sign also said it was healthy, which was another bonus considering it was not the first dessert of the evening!
So far, however, my all-time-favourite street food award goes to green mango salad. The version I ate last night had shredded green mango and carrot, thinly sliced shallots, chilli, dried shrimps, peanuts, sugar, and (I’m guessing) deep fried anchovies. It was served with a sour lime juice sauce.
This salad is where it’s at. I have seen green mangoes and papaya in Melbourne at Asian groceries so this one should be able to be recreated at home also.
I made a green papaya version of this salad with a salty pickled crab last week at a cooking course. We made that version in the Thai-style wooden mortar and pestle to help bring out the flavour and juices. I saw a few vendors using this method of mixing. I’ll share the version I made in an upcoming post. For now, I will leave you with my favourite street food dessert:
Banana roti. I have been eating these most nights. I thought that plain and original banana roti was the one to get until a few nights ago when I spied a rasin banana roti. This was gone in about three seconds.
And there you have it – the highlights of my Thai street food adventures..so far. I’m sure there’ll be many more late-night rotis to come!
I’m a bit of a Thai food novice – though I love it – so if anyone can shed some more light on the dishes above or offer any recommendations, please do.