When visiting another country, part of the experience is trying the local dishes. Thailand has a lot of different food to sample, but not all of it is healthy. Thai food can be high in sodium, salt and fat, but there are plenty of healthy dishes on offer if you know what to look for. To eat well, try some of the delicious food that is lower in fat and harmful calories.
8 Healthy Thai Food Choices to Try When in Thailand
1. Kuay Teow Lui Suan
Kuay Teow Lui Suan is fresh spring rolls that are enjoyed in Thailand. The rice noodle wrap is thin and light, and the filling is packed with seasonal vegetables and possibly a little tofu or pork. These spring rolls are not deep fried and they are served with a citrus dipping sauce. This dish can be part of a meal, or they can be eaten as healthy Thai snacks at any time of the day.
2. Tom Yam
Tom Yam is a sour soup that is low in calories, fat, and sugar but comes packed with unforgettable flavors. This lunchtime favorite either comes as a clear soup, or as a creamy dish that has had coconut milk added. Vegetables, prawns, and chicken are heated in water along with some tamarind and chili paste. Slightly different variations of this healthy Thai soup can be found, but all of them are nutritious and tasty.
3. Thai salad
A healthy Thai salad can be found in most eateries around the country. There are many versions but most of them have spices or fish sauce added. Som Tam, the green papaya salad that mixes fruit with veg, is particularly popular with tourists. A colorful plate of shredded papaya, string beans, tomatoes, and carrots is topped with shrimp, aubergine and chili. This salad is eaten on its own as a light meal, or it makes up a side dish for dinner in the evening.
4. Pla Nueng
If you enjoy eating fish, then you must try Pla Nueng while you are in Thailand. This is a healthy dish to choose as the fish is poached instead of fried. It is dressed in a fragrant lime sauce and comes with a selection of sides to suit, such as rice, salad or noodles.
5. Pad Pak Raum Mit
Pad Pak Raum Mit is a common dish to find in Thailand and it is a good way to eat your five-a-day. The dish is a stir fry that is cooked fresh to order and can be made up entirely of vegetables, or you can ask for chicken, fish or pork to be added. Take a peek before you order to find a vendor that doesn’t use too much oil in the cooking process. Some of them use a tiny bit, whereas others use an unhealthy amount.
6. Gai Yang
To tuck into some healthy street food, keep your eyes open for a stall selling Gai Yang. This is marinated chicken that is grilled on a bbq that is usually made in an old oil drum. The taste is amazing and there is a lot of protein and very little else to this dish. Buy half a chicken and eat it with a large salad for a wholesome evening meal.
7. Thai snacks
If you are in Koh Samui and searching for healthy Thai snacks, then check out the Beach Republic. They have a poolside menu offering bite-size portions such as prawn and veg tempura and chicken wonton. There’s a tapas menu as well which lists some Thai and international specialties. For a treat at the weekend, sample their chilled Sunday brunch in Koh Samui.
8. Local Fruits
For dessert or a sweet snack, buy some of the lovely fruit available in Thailand. There are lychees, guava, jackfruit, papaya, custard apples, and mangoes. Fruit is a healthy option, and when they’re in season, the local varieties are usually cheap to purchase. Fruit in its skin is also easy to carry around with you as you travel.