Just like Thai food is based on the principles of blending five tastes – sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty – there are a few key ingredients that make up an Adventure Cruise through Thailand. You’ll have a healthy portion of sun, sand, sails and secluded islands, along with tastes of sticky sweets, spicy curries and sour soups, all rounded off with dips in the salty sea.
These are flavour-fuelled journeys, and while our ships feature an onboard chef who fills the table with delicious fusion-inspired spreads, you’ll also live like the locals, who do much of their eating outside the home. That’s why our local leaders will help you discover the best restaurants and food stalls that line practically every street and night market across the country. Thai food covers a vast range – from spicy Southern Thai to sweet/savoury Central Thai, Thai-Chinese and Thai-Muslim – so there are coconutty curries, spicy noodles, tropical fruits, and incredibly fresh seafood to be tasted. You’ll also often get to visit a local family and share a home-cooked meal – it’s one of the best ways to get to know a culture and cuisine.
1. Pad Thai
You can’t have a list of essential Thai foods and not include this flavour-filled, iconic national dish. Fried noodles with shrimp, chicken or vegetables topped with peanuts, it’s the perfect introduction to Thai cuisine and can be found on almost every street corner. Building this dish from the ingredients up is a great way understand what makes Thai cuisine tick, and so you’re sure to find Pad Thai on the menu of most cooking classes.
2. Tom Yum soup
Steaming with aromatics that fill the senses and make the eyes water, this soup – now popular around the world – is made with classic Thai ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fresh lime, shallots, galangal, and fish sauce, and comes with a strong chilli hit. There’s also the choice of a creamy coconut option for those after a milder kick.
3. Stir-fried green veggies
Chopped, fried, doused in sauce, sprinkle with fried onions. From bok choy to yu choy, gai lan to Pak Boong, there are few dishes simpler to prepare but also more simply delicious as these leafy green vegetables. One of the best known, the spinach-like Pak Boong (Morning Glory) is rich in nutrients and usually fried up with soybean paste, soy sauce, garlic, chillies and more, to a crispy, crunchy finish.
4. Gaeng Keow Wan (Green Curry)
There are so many different curries found across Thailand, but if you’re looking to sample the spicy side of Thai cuisine, then the green curry from Central Thailand is the way to go. Coconut milk gives a sweet balance to the mix of fresh green chilli, ginger, Thai eggplant, chicken – but make sure you have enough steamed rice to off-put some serious spiciness.
5. Fresh fruit
The freshest of fresh shakes and juices are widely available from markets and restaurants across the country, but brave travellers might like to turn their attention to the infamously smelly, but surprisingly delicious, durian. This spikey globe of a fruit has an odour that’s nauseating enough to turn off even the most adventurous eater, but the nose-holding reward is actually a sweet, savoury, creamy flavour, with an almost custardy texture.
6. Lot Chong
Desserts in South East Asia are an endless source of surprisingly mixed flavours and textures, almost always with a cooling, refreshing hit to take the edge off the hot climate. Lot chong, also known as cendol (but of course, its origins, exact ingredients and recipe forever debated amongst neighbouring countries) is a coconut milk-based iced desert where thick, molasses-like palm sugar collects at the bottom of the dish, while little flour jelly noodles float around the milk, their electric green colour coming from the infinitely useful pandan leaf.
7. Fresh seafood
On an Adventure Cruise in Thailand you’ll often pass aquafarms cultivating the likes of lobster, shrimp and mussels, as well as the small fishing boats that bob along the horizon. If you’re lucky, the captain might holler at a local vessel and negotiate for the catch of the day. There are few better settings for lunch than a barbecue on a deserted island shrouded in jungle, the freshest of fresh seafood given just the right amount of flame and shared with new friends and shipmates.
Isn’t it time you tasted these flavours for yourself? View our range of Adventure Cruises now.