Thai cuisine is one of the most popular growing gastronomic varieties making a splash in the UK, and with intense blends of fresh ingredients creating its zingy flavours, it’s no surprise that the Brits are deeply seduced by the region’s curries, snacks, witty reinventions of traditional pho and noodle dishes, as well as wry takes on colonial favourites.
Whilst many holidamakers identify Thailand as a beach destination, or somewhere for rainforest trekking and elephant spotting (and it is excellent for both these purposes), the country’s reputation as a foodie destination is its most flourishing and surprising.
You can fly to Bangkok relatively easily and cheaply these days – fly Bangkokwith DialAFlight from only £449 – and once there, slow down and explore that capital city through your tastebuds. (Please check weather warnings before travelling, especially in the coming months, as the area is extremely prone to flooding in the rainy season).
First stop should be a spot where you can see the real produce and variety the country has to offer. For me, this has to be Or Tor Kor Market, nearest metro Khamphaeng Phet, which is the prime agricultural and groceries market for the city.
As well as bustling stalls of ripe mangoes, waving limegrass and huge vats of bubbling curry, there’s a small foodcourt where you can sit down. In fact, we’d recommend going late morning after digesting most of breakfast, and nibbling, tasting and picking your fancy from the vendors’ stalls until you’re full again.
For tourists who have a knowledge of world gastronomy and restauranteurs, you’ll no doubt already have The Blue Elephant on your list. This exponent of royal Thai cuisine in fact opened its first branch in Brussels over 20 years ago.
The Bangkok residence – the ninth branch worldwide – does not disappoint for customers looking for luxurious service, a beautiful setting and delicately flavoursome, classic and inventive cuisine. Located in a Sino-Portuguese colonial building, it does have ‘photo opportunity’ written all over it. It’s also home to an excellent cookery school, so if you fancy yourself as the next Thai food champion, this might be place to start.