In this article, we will answer the following question: Do Thai people eat tofu? We will also describe how it is to be vegetarian in Thailand and speak about 7 Thai dishes that you can’t miss.
Do Thai people eat tofu?
Thai people do eat tofu, and it’s not just vegetarians who include it in their diet. Tofu is the key ingredient in many traditional foods, especially in Pad Thai. This dish is the plate that represents Thailand in the world. What is it? Something very simple: rice noodles sautéed in fish sauce and tamarind paste, with eggs, tofu, and garlic. At the moment of serving it, dried prawns, peanuts, and bean sprouts are added. Oh, and several tablespoons of sugar are a must.
Food consists not only of the act of nourishing itself but it is also part of the culture of the peoples. Nowadays, foods are often treated simply as sources of nutrients, however, far beyond that, they also express the characteristics of a region/community / country and, in my opinion, Thailand is very well represented through their food culture.
Thais have the habit of saying: “กิน ข้าว หรือ ยัง”, which in translation means: “Have you eaten yet?”. Eating out is a prominent feature of Thailand. It is common to find small establishments, stalls and even vehicles (motorcycles and bicycles) of street vendors that produce ready-to-eat food.
In general, in these places, it is cheap to eat a typical Thai meal, despite the hygienic-sanitary conditions of most commercial establishments with serious deficiencies, such as lack of hand hygiene of food handlers, poor hygiene of the place and utensils, food without protection against dirt, improper food storage, etc.
Despite the hygienic-sanitary issue, Thais know how to make extremely fast and tasty preparations using only one pan: the wok (a dream, right ?!).
How is it to be vegetarian in Thailand?
There is an idea that Asia is an easy continent for vegetarians and vegans, mainly because it is a Buddhist environment, but that is not quite the truth. Meat consumption in Thailand is huge and when it comes to seafood, even more!
The tasty things that vegetarians/vegans are used to eating in the West are not easy to find in Thailand. You won’t find cashew cheeses, chocolates with almond milk and those sandwiches stuffed with chickpea paste on the market shelves.
One very interesting thing in Thailand is that the country consumes a lot of fruit, vegetables and legumes in general, with a multitude of different types that we never heard of in the US.
For some time now, several more modern vegetarian/vegan restaurants have opened in Bangkok and other cities, led by younger people, both immigrants and locals, following this worldwide movement. They bring not only traditional Asian cuisine, but also a fusion with modern Western cuisine in all of this. And experiencing all of this is a privilege and always reminds me that meat is a mere detail in this explosion of flavours.
In Bangkok, some restaurants are famous among tourists, but the most popular of them is Anotai. This restaurant is ovo-lacto (they sell products with eggs and milk), but there are also vegan/vegetarian options on the menu. It is a Thai restaurant but in a more contemporary version. The price is affordable but not as cheap as eating at street stalls.
During the festivals in Bangkok, it is common to find on the shelves of the markets, a restaurant menu and even in the street food stalls, a yellow flag that symbolizes that the product is “Je”, that is vegan/vegetarian.
Thai cuisine you can’t miss
Below you can see some of the most famous dishes in Thailand, along with a short description, pronunciation of its name in Thai (if possible), so you can order it at any restaurant or food stall on street, some sellers do not speak English and to ask what you want, you can help yourself to this guide of Thai food to be able to try as many specialities as possible.
1. Pad Thai (pat tai gung sot) (ไทย กุ้ง สด) 40 THB
Probably the most famous food among tourists, it is not spicy and combines a little of everything, it is a kind of fried noodles with shrimp, Thai vegetables, eggs, chicken, tofu and you can order shrimp for a few extra baht, if you are not very accustomed to spicy food I advise you to try this dish for the first few days, many street stalls serve only pad thai.
2. Pork Satay (moo sa-dte) (หมู สะเต๊ะ) 10-15 THB
These are grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce, usually accompanied by sliced cucumbers and onions, you can not leave without trying them.
3. Papaya Salad (som dtam gai yaang kaao nieow) (ส้มตำ ไก่ ย่าง) 40 THB
One of the most typical Thai dishes is the spicy papaya salad that you often eat complimenting other dishes, such as grilled chicken, is one of the most famous, rich and healthy dishes in Thai cuisine, you will find many vendors walking down the street with baskets that will prepare it in an instant.
4. Chicken bread with rice (kaao mun gai tod) (ข้าวมัน ไก่ ทอด) 40 THB
This Thai cuisine dish consists of crispy chicken with rice and various Thai sauces that combine with food.
5. Chicken and pork with rice, garlic and eggs (kaao muu gra tia) (ข้าว หมู กระเทียม ไข่ดาว) 40 THB
Similar to the previous one, but this time it is chicken and pork sauteed with garlic, rice, an egg and a very tasty sauce.
6. Rice puree with beef and pork (Yuuuu) (-) 50 THB
One of the typical breakfast of the people of Thailand is rice puree with beef, pork or chicken, it is quite thick and is very common among Thai dishes.
7. Noodles with soy sauce and chicken (Pat sii iu) (ผัด ซีอิ๊ว) 50 THB
It is a dish with thick and dense noodles, combined with soy sauce, chicken or pork and a few spices and vegetables, it is not spicy.
In this article, we answered the following question: Do Thai people eat tofu? We also described how it is to be vegetarian in Thailand and spoke about 7 Thai dishes that you can’t miss.
The bottom line is that Thai people eat tofu in some popular dishes like Pad Thai, Chicken and pork with rice, garlic and eggs or Noodles with soy sauce and chicken. Also, if you are a vegetarian/vegan you will find plenty of restaurants in Bangkok and Phuket that serve vegan food.
If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!
Thaiest.com – Thai Food Dishes You Must Try
Thespruceeats.com – Traditional Thai Recipes
Aboutthatfood.com – Thai Food