5 Bangkok's Bizarre Food if You Dare_poster

From street-side eateries to fine dining, Bangkok has got them all. Discover why Thai people love to eat insects and learn about other bizarre food on the streets of Bangkok

 

Bangkok’s Bizarre Food #1

Fried Insects

Bangkok's Bizarre Food #1 - Fried insects


Thailand has been nicknamed the Land of Locust Eaters. Ok, deep-fried insects sound really gross but really, for us, they taste just like chips, yummier when matched with beer! Plus they’re highly nutritious (surprising, right?) Grass hoppers per serving almost match the amount of protein a chicken breast contain. So, can you imagine why insects are the most sought for delicacies for Thais, especially in the regions where they are abundant and red meat is harder to acquire? In a wet market in Isan or Northeastern Thailand, live insect stalls can be much more popular than a butcher’s. The local’s best game = the insect game.

 

Tourist eating fried insects


Now, the most popular insects on the menu… Bamboo worms (rod-duan) are like French fries. With a bit of salt and pepper, they excel. Grasshoppers (takatan), stirred fried with fragrant herbs, are delicious. Make sure you leave no crumbs of their legs at a corner of your mouth. Crickets (jing-rid) stand no chance to complete a jungle sound these days. They are now even farmed and bred to catch up with the market’s demand. And scorpions… don’t worry, their venomous sting from the tails have been removed.


FIND THIS BIZARRE DISH IN BANGKOK: 

Beside Khao San Road where there are plenty of bug carts, night markets around Bangkok feature a few branded bug stalls and vendors. They’re clean and safe and probably the best places to get your insects from.

 

Bangkok’s Bizarre Food #2

Pig Organ Soup

Bangkok's Bizarre Food #2 - Pig organ soup


Food shouldn’t be wasted. If an animal has died for us, we should make the best of every part of them. (What? You disagree?) The Chinese are good at that – eating everything even organs. Among their best recipes is pig organs. And thanks to the Chinese Thais living in Bangkok, several of the city’s pig organ dishes are mastered to the Michelin chef level. Coming in clear broth or stirred fried, the organs vary from intestines, lungs, spleens, and … brains! Most recommended, pig brain ball soup. Don’t eww it just yet. The brain comes in balls. The meat is so well cleaned that it never leaves an odor. And the sensation of the brain melting in your mouth is of a custard melting on your tongue.

 

FIND THIS BIZARRE DISH IN BANGKOK:

Pork organ dishes are common in Chinese restaurants and noodle shops. For the pork brain soup which is not that common and you’re unlikely to pursue one yourself, it’s available in Bangkok Food Tours’ Bizarre Food Challenge tour.

 

Bangkok’s Bizarre Food #3

Frogs and Tadpoles

Bangkok's Bizarre Food #3 - Frogs and tadpoles


Another bizarre dish for you but not for Thais – frogs end up in several dishes in Northern Thailand. And instead of using just legs like the French do, we peel their skins and toss the whole amphibian into soups and stews. What do we do with the skin? Deep-fried with garlics and it tastes just like crispy fried fish skin (which might be less strange to you)! A ketchup dip adds lots of flavor to it. For the tadpoles, they pretty much look like small fish if you ignore their protruding tiny legs. Common in North and Northeastern Thailand in rainy season, the tadpoles are fetched from rice fields. With their excrements taken out, they’re ready to go into spicy soups or steamed with spices in banana-leaf wraps.

 

FIND THIS BIZARRE DISH IN BANGKOK:

Though the dishes are more common in the North and the Northeast (Isan), several Isan restaurants in Bangkok do serve the amphibian. One of the restaurants in our Bizarre Food Challenge tour doesn’t only serve delicious fried frog skin but also feature Pad Kaprao with frog meat. (Pad Krapao is any meat chili fried with Thai basil, like the famous Basil Chicken with rice) And believe it or not, the restaurant is packed every night!

 

 

Bangkok’s Bizarre Food #4

Dancing Shrimps

Bangkok's Bizarre Food #4 - Dancing shrimps

bizarre food Nothing to do with Abba’s Dancing Queen, and nothing to do with a club. Typical in Isan, the dish refers to the action acquired when the live freshwater tiny shrimps are sprayed with lime juice to sour them up before you eat them. The acid burns their skin. (Hold your breath and read through but no judgments please) And likely, the shrimps still jump and bounce in your mouth until they die. Prior to serving, the shrimps are seasoned with chili, fish sauce, and lots of herbs like coordinator, red onion, parsley. Since they’re still alive until they get eaten, the dish is served with a cover so the shrimps don’t escape. Well, think sashimi, only your sashimi is alive…

 

FIND THIS BIZARRE DISH IN BANGKOK:

Go right straight to an Isan restaurant to order one. Since this is pretty much sashimi, make sure the restaurant has good reviews on food preparation and hygiene. Chanchai Lab Yaso (ชาญชัยลาบยโส) on Vibhavadi Rangsit 64 Road is one. J’ORN (เจ๊อร) on Petchaburi 14 Street, off Ratchathewi BTS station is another.

 

Bangkok’s Bizarre Food #5

Blood Noodle Soup

Bangkok's Bizarre Food #5 - Blood noodle soup

The dish is called with a few names: kuay tiew (noodle) nam tok (dripping blood) or kuay tiew rue (boat) basically because the dish was originally cooked and sold by wooden boat vendors on rivers and canals. Back in the day when the dish was prepared, fresh beef and pork were put on ice to preserve its freshness. The melted ice, mixed with blood from the meat, would drip onto a bowl which the vendors collected and added to a clear noodle soup. No vendors prepare the dish that way now but the name ‘dripping blood’ remains as well as the broth that is made from cow and pig’s blood. But don’t worry, you’re not really drinking blood. Spiced and seasoned, there is no remainder of a blood smell and flavor at all.

FIND THIS BIZARRE DISH IN BANGKOK:

Kuay tiew nam tok or kuay tiew rue is common in any noodle shops in Bangkok. Most restaurants serve either beef or pork so you only have to noodle the type of noodle you want. But at the restaurant we take you in our Bizarre Food Challenge tour you can get both, pork and beef.

So, which one have you decided to go for next time you’re in Bangkok? These are just one hundredths of the bizarre food available in the city. There are so many more to top up your list.

 

Or do you not know where to start, where to find them, and whether the dishes are safe to try and will not ruin the rest of your holiday? Just join our tour and we will guide you through.

 

 

Time to try Bangkok’s bizarre dishes worry-free, tick off your exotic food bucket list, and fill up your social media with photos of the food your friends and family back home might not dare to try!