Striving for satisfaction and happiness in everything one does, finding the best in every situation, and living life to it’s fullest is what the Thai people are all about making it obvious why their country is often referred to as the Land of Smiles. Thailand’s cuisine blends a medley of freshness and spice focusing on making sure that all of the spices work in harmony together in the dish. Their cooking methods have been heavily inspired by China, Portugal, France, and Japan, resulting in one of the most unique cuisines ever seen. This month we’ve got quite the combination of snacks to try ranging from savory grilled seaweed and spiced curry puffs to salty lime candies and fruity rice, so without further ado let’s get right into these unique and yummy treats.
Glendee Coconut Snack Bites
Vanilla Coconut Snack with Cashew Nuts
These delicious, little snack bites are packed with fresh coconut flakes, buttery cashew nuts, and a touch of vanilla and there’s only one person that we can thank for these treats and that is Thai monkeys. The reasoning behind this, is that in Thailand 99% of coconuts are harvested by macaque monkeys that have been trained to pick and harvest the fruit. The country has been raising and training monkeys for over 400 years now with the average male monkey being able to harvest approximately 1,600 coconuts per day while a human male would only be able to harvest 80 in the same amount of time.
Almond Chocolate Tivoli Select
Chocolate and Almond Covered Wafer with Chocolate Cream
Thailand is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t consume a lot of chocolate but that isn’t to say that they don’t indulge every now and then, and when they do, they tend to reach for a KitKat bar. The breakable wafer chocolate bar is the top sold chocolate treat in Thailand but since KitKat bars are so accessible in both the United States and Canada, we get to try the Thai version of the popular candy instead. The Tivoli Select is very similar to a KitKat bar with its thin wafers and milk chocolate in addition to crunchy almonds and smooth cocoa cream.
Tom Yum Goong Big Roll
Hot and Sour Soup Flavored Seaweed Roll
While the packaging of this snack with it’s adorable picture cartoon man is cute in of itself, it also holds a much more significant meaning. The drawing is made to look like a man named Tob, the 33 year old founder of the Tao Kae Noi company. Tob lived with his parents and saw them suffer through the financial crisis of 1997. Determined to support his parents and help them out any way possible, he started selling chestnuts from a tiny, little stall at the supermarket. Tob found great success in this business venture and managed to completely pay off his family’s debt as well as become a millionaire at the ripe age of nineteen. Fast forward to the reason why we’re taste testing seaweed and not chestnuts, Tob found his girlfriend snacking on a bag of plain seaweed and was unimpressed by the lack of flavor. In a bid to make this fishy snack more interesting and flavorful, Tob set out to create a collection of tasty seaweed rolls in many different flavors inspired by his mother’s cooking which is where the idea of the hot and sour soup flavor idea came from.
Spicy Pineapple Juzi-C
Spicy Pineapple Gummy Candy
Pineapple and spicy aren’t normally two flavors that would find paired together in the same dish, unless of course you’re following the rules of cooking in Thailand. Thai cuisine follow a basic rule in which every dish made must include a minimum of two out of the five major flavors which are spicy, sweet, sour, creamy, or salty. This rule requires a careful balancing of ingredients and spices to ensure that the flavors used go harmoniously together and an example of this principle done right is with these pineapple candies. The sweet and tropical pineapple is paired with the perfect amount of chili pepper making for a unique and delightful infusion of flavors.
Japanese Curry Snack Jack
Curry Flavored Broad Bean Snack
When given the choice between multiple different cuisines to choose from including Chinese, Italian, Indian, and Greek, often times it would be hard for us to choose just one as being our favorite, but the Thai people never have that problem. People in Thailand are huge fans of Japanese cuisine, so much so that the country is bursting with restaurants serving ramen, sushi, and the most popular of them all: the Japanese curry. Thai curry is normally a more light and spicy dish while the Japanese version resembles a warm and hearty stew with brown gravy, meat, potatoes, and a five spice powder. These crispy Thai broad bean snacks will allow you to get a taste of Thailand’s favorite foreign dish.
Jack n’ Jill Potato Rings
Sweet Chili Sausage Potato Snack
Though many would assume that sausages are a thing for Germans, the fact of the matter is that the Thai people are actually also huge fans of the meat. One of the most popular sausages in the country is the ‘sai au’, a pork sausage served in giant, crispy coils as big as a pizza. This unique sausage is packed with sticky rice, garlic, chilies, and lemongrass which is then grilled to perfection and drizzled with a mild chili sauce. Though this potato snack isn’t quite like eating the real thing, the blend of zesty spices found in this snack surely is the next best thing.
Tao Kae Noi Chicken Larb Seaweed
Chicken Larb Tempura Seaweed Snack
Never heard of the word larb before? Long story short, larb is basically a meat salad. This ‘salad’ consists of finely chopped meat seasoned with fish sauce, lime juice, chili powder, and shallots and is a staple in Thai cuisine. Though it has become synonymous with Thai cuisine, larb isn’t originally from Thailand at all, rather from their neighbors to the North, Laos. In Laotian culture, this salad was eaten to show wealth as meat was very expensive. With this seaweed snack, we’ll be getting the full savory flavor of larb that’ll leave you wanting more.
Mango Sour Punk
Sour Mango Chewy Candy
Beloved throughout Southeast Asia and especially in Thailand, mangoes are often referred to as the ‘king of fruits’ or the ‘fruit of the gods’. The fruit was first cultivated over 6,000 years ago by Buddhist monks and legend has it that Buddha always meditated under the shade of a mango tree. From that point on, Thai people have always had a sacred relationship with mangoes with locals most commonly planting mango trees in the southern sections of their gardens to bring happiness and a long life. Here’s hoping that these sour mango flavored candies will bring you just as much happiness.
Jack n’ Jill Combo
Chocolate Covered Wafer with Caramel and Crispy Rice
Filled with caramel, wafers, chocolate, and tons of crispy rice pieces, this chocolate bar may look ordinary but is far from it, and is actually considered to a full blown meal in Thailand. While that may sound crazy to consider a candy bar to be worthy of being considered a meal, if you were to follow Thai culture you would understand why. It is believed that food is only considered to be a meal if it contains rice, with rice being such an integral part of Thai people’s lives. People in Thailand even go as far as believing that there is a female deity that represents rice, known conveniently as the ‘rice goddess’ who is said to watch over Thailand’s locals ensuring that there is enough food to eat so as long as rice is never left uneaten after a meal.
Mango Sticky Rice
Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Cream
Now that we’ve learned about the ‘fruit of the gods’ mangoes, as well as the spiritual significance rice has on the Thai people, it’s time to discover Thailand’s most iconic treat, mango sticky rice. This sweet treat is sold just about everywhere from five star restaurants to street vendors, making this simple yet unique dish a much sought after treat not only among the locals but also among the tourists visiting Thailand. The recipe to make this beloved treat, involves cooking a special, starchy rice known as Thai sticky rice which is then doused in coconut milk and served alongside fresh, mango slices.
Coconut Cream O Choco Plus
Cookies with Coconut Cream and Chocolate
Every household and family are different when it comes to their habits or routines, including whether or not dessert is served after every single meal or not. In Thailand however, it isn’t complicating, dessert is required and is not optional. It is believed that dessert is made to smooth and cool the palate after all of the spices found in Thai cuisine which is why traditional Thai desserts are layered with smooth ingredients such as coconut cream, condensed milk, and cold tropical fruit. These creamy, Cream O cookies are the perfect dessert to enjoy with it’s thin, crunchy cookies layered with refreshing coconut cream and smooth, milk chocolate.
Zour Bomb Cola
Sour Cola Candy with Sherbet Powder Filling
Thailand’s cuisine is filled with tangy ingredients such as vinegar, lemongrass, unripe fruit, and lime juice, all of which can pack quite the punch to any dish. Unlike the cola candies some may be used to, these candies are quite unlike anything you’ve had before, with it’s tangy powdering coating and shocking, tart sherbet center that will leave you not only puckering up but also wanting more.
Hartbeat Salty Lime Candy
Lime Hard Candy with Salt
Yet another example of Thailand’s out of the ordinary flavor combinations, is these candies, inspired by a popular drink in Thailand made with lime and salt. In order to make this famous drink, lime slices are submerged into jars filled with water and lots of salt and then left to brine in the sun for three entire weeks. While the process to make these candies isn’t quite the same, the taste is, with a mouthwatering burst of savory citrus flavor.
To get your own box every month filled with snacks and candies from a different country, even some countries that you may never even have thought about trying food from, follow the link below to get $5 off your first box.
Be sure to check out all of the previous Universal Yums posts I’ve made and stick around for next month for a goodie box filled with snacks from Russia.