Thai cuisine has made its way around the world, and rightfully so–it’s amazing! Some staple Thai foods, though, are restricted to this region of the world, mainly because most other cultures would shun the idea of fried insects or shrimps that dance in your mouth as you eat them. Still, a trip to Thailand would be incomplete without taking a nose dive into its gastronomy. Sure it might not be what you’re used to, but the country’s street food culture is worth the adventure and the story.
Here are five peculiar foods to try on your next trip to Thailand. Because, when in Rome.
1. Fried Insects
Heading to the main backpacker district of Bangkok: Khao San Road? You can find street food stalls on the main strip selling fried insects, known as Malang Tod. Crickets, grasshoppers, scorpions and tarantulas are all fried in soy sauce until perfectly crispy. Don’t be shy — try an insect or three! It’s a good source of protein after all.
2. Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit, or Gao Mung Gorn, is a stunning, Barbie-pink fruit with a sweet textured interior. Street vendors will cut it into pieces and sell it in plastic cups. The flesh of the fruit is white with small black pips. It’s a delicious flavor, like a kiwi mixed with a lychee and makes the perfect healthy snack. Dragon Fruit is super refreshing and a great addition to your beach picnic.
3. Raw Bloody Beef
Larb Leuat Neua isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s slices of raw beef finished with a healthy pour of blood that is garnished with mint. Pairs nicely with a beer. Obviously, no bacteria have been killed in the preparation process, so it’s not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach. If you’re ready, embrace your carnivorous side and try this adventurous dish.
4. Dancing Shrimp
If you’ve ever been curious about eating live food, Thailand will provide the opportunity. Goong Ten, or dancing shrimp, is a plate of live shrimps covered in edible leaves and chili. As soon as you place the shrimp in your mouth, you’ll feel it dance around on your tongue. It’s a very bizarre dish that’s best experienced in Bangkok’s street food markets.
5. Ant Eggs
Larb Mote Daeng, or Red Ant Eggs is particularly tasty because the ants eat mango leaves, which gives their eggs a distinct sour flavor. Larb Mote Daeng is typically spiced and tossed into a salad with vegetables, spring onions, coriander and fish sauce. It’s one of the most delicious dishes in Thailand that is rumored to be best in the Northern parts of the country.
Read More on Thailand at ATR