Thailand, along with many other Asian countries, is known for its wild selection of unusual foods that seem a bit… well, gross to the Western palette. Fried silkworms, scorpions, and crickets are among the most common weird Thai food that makes it into travelers’ bellies and travel blogs. In reality, these creepy crawlies make up only a small part of the exotic Thai food sphere. Before you say anything can surprise you anymore, check out this list of bizarre Thai food that many locals (and some travelers) love.
This list only scratches the surface of the insect delicacies in Thailand, and if you want to try them out for yourself, it is best to do it on your trip to Thailand. Knowing Thai will help you immensely on your food trip, as it is best to consult with locals about which places offer the best options. Therefore you can learn Thai online before your trip to at least a beginner’s understanding of the language.
1. Grasshoppers (Takatan)
Once you pop these crunchy hoppers, you will find it hard to stop. Although they don’t look like a delicious snack, these exotic Thai treats are as crunchy and tasty as popcorn. Deep-fried in oil and seasoned in chili powder, this unique delicacy has a distinct taste and a crispy skin that would crack and pop like a chicharron inside your mouth.
2. Fried scorpions
Fried scorpion? If you’ve got the stomach to try it, you’ll be surprised how appetizing and delightful these peculiar edible crawlers are. Intrepid foodies who sampled this dish said it tastes like scrawny chicken wings coated in sweet plum sauce. The venom is stored in the tail, which the seller will remove, so they are perfectly safe to eat!
3. Crunchy Bugs
From mealworms to beetles, Thailand is an exotic feast of yummy and full-flavored insects. Apart from its appearance, you’d hardly see any differences between chips and these bizarre Thai delicacies. After all, these exotic goodies are oily, greasy, crispy, and fried, just like some of your favorite junk foods.
4. Meat on a stick
Very common to Thai street food is grilled skewers of meat ranging from fish, satay chicken, prawns, squid, and the very popular Moo Ping. Moo Ping is barbequed pork accompanied by a dipping sauce made of tamarind and fish sauce, sugar, chili, rice powder, and onion with a sweet yet spicy flavor to compliment the smoky taste. To be cautious, observe the cleanliness of the stall and seek a street vendor that looks fresh and has an obvious cooler for storing meat.
5. Goong Ten (Dancing Shrimp)
Have a serving of Northern Thailand’s most lively dish, literally. Goong Ten, or dancing shrimp, is a dish where the cook will season the live shrimp in the local Thai style. Goong Ten, translating to ‘dancing shrimps,’ is a dish for the brave-hearted. This dish is an assortment of live baby shrimp in a seasoned salad that squirms and jumps as you eat it. The throat-tickling texture is paired with a salty spiciness many tourists love.
6. Larb Mote Daeng (Red Ants Eggs)
This is another crunchy, creepy-crawly dish that is supposedly totally delicious – after all, why should anteaters have all the fun? Red ants are cooked in their thousands with large white eggs to create a dark, shiny mass speckled with creamy blobs. Close your eyes and take a bite – we reckon the sweet and sour crunch of the ants mixed with the rich, wholesome taste of the eggs is impossible not to love!
7. Ab Ong Or (Northern Thai Roasted Pork Brain)
Yes, pork’s brain is edible, and this weird Northern Thai dish requires courage. Seasoned with Kapi (shrimp paste), lemongrass, lime leaves, dried chilies, and other Thai herbs, the pork brain is wrapped in banana leaves and grilled or roasted with low heat. Most locals roast pork’s brain on a traditional Thai stove as the coal gives the dish an earthy aroma.
8. Deep-Fried Frog
Unexpectedly similar to chicken meat in taste and texture, the amphibian also goes through the same cooking method – deep fry with garlic.
9. Braised Chicken Feet
Braised chicken feet are often paired with noodles or steamed rice. The dish is slow food, as it takes hours for the meat to absorb the condiments and one long sitting to nibble at the succulent feet.
10. Luu Muu (Raw Pig’s Blood)
Another weird Thai food made with pig parts. Raw, bright red pigs’ blood is mixed with a tasty spice mixture and served up over deep-friend crisp noodles and garnished with kaffir lime leaves and cab moo, fried pork skin similar to the pork scratchings you can get down the pub.
Let’s not forget the words of many an esteemed doctor, though: consuming raw blood is not advisable.