Most people think Thai food is very healthy because in one dish you will get all kinds of food nutrients, vitamins from vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates from the main ingredients, meat, and rice.
If I ever thought about the unhealthiest or strangest foods we have here, I would think of these five. The thing is, they are also Thai favorites!
1. Bloody Pork Sour and Spicy Salad (Laab Luad)
The first food that came to my mind is Laab Luad. It’s sour and spicy salad with bloody pork! Uhm, I don’t want to imagine its picture in my head but I really have to tell you what it is like. This recipe came from Thailand’s Northeast up by Laos where I grew up.
In Thai language, laab means spicy salad. Luad means blood.
My father and my grandma loved this food like no other. The pork in this dish is uncooked and dressed with fresh pig’s blood, if you can believe that!
Eventually, our government announced the campaign telling Isaan people to stop eating it uncooked. We cook the pork but still dress it with fresh uncooked blood.
(uhh.. next,.. please..)
2. Dancing Shrimp Salad (Goong Dten)
This is a laab (spicy salad) with live baby shrimp jumping around. The waitress/waiter will bring your food with a plate turned upside down on top of your plate so the shrimp don’t jump away before you get to eat them!
Dancing shrimps, I admitted that I used to have this one when I was young. My brother loves it too. However when I grew up, I feel too sad eating them alive, I stopped.
The shrimps were from fresh water and from the rice fields which are not really clean if we eat them uncooked. Later my mom changed the recipe. She made omelets with small shrimps from fresh water. That was far better.
3. Raw Ant Eggs Soup (Kai Mod Dang)
Next is the super expensive ant eggs which won the third spot in my top five unhealthiest Thai food. Half of a handful costs 20 Baht (about 70 cents usd.). We have to buy about 200 Baht to get enough for making one pot of Isaan style soup. Some people eat the raw eggs (uncooked) or the entire ants – (the big queen ants).
I’ve already tried both. The taste of the whole ants, when it was uncooked, was not pleasant. I like it cooked in the soup or omelet better.
My mom used to take me and my brother for ant eggs hunting. I went with mom, even though I never really liked any kind of physical activity at all (I think we call that lazy.. :p haha). Big red ants live in mango trees in a nest, sometimes on the very top.
We need a basket tied with a long stick and a bucket full of water. We poke the ant nest until the eggs fall into the basket. When we bring it down to the ground it’s covered with angry red ants. We put the whole basket into a large bucket of water and the eggs sink down to the bottom and the ants float on top.
We get rid of the ants so their army will not kill us. It’s sad, but kind of fun too.
If you get to see any dance show from Isaan, you will see a dance that was created to show brushing the ants off our arms as we hunt for the ant eggs!
4. Fried Pork Skins (Cab Moo)
Cab Moo or fried pork skin, first choice when we order Somtam (Papaya Spicy Salad). There are two type of Cab Moo, non-fat Cab Moo and most-fat Cab Moo. I will tell you now the most-fat type tasted better. 🙂 However, the best quality and most expensive is the one without fat.
OTOP (One Tumbon One Product) in some provinces have made it the best seller or five stars product from their area. You can see how much we love this food.
5. Salted Red Egg (Yum Kai Dang)!
Next unhealthy food is salted red egg yolk from duck. There are very high calories and cholesterol in these eggs. In Thailand, there is one type of restaurant influenced by Chinese culture. I don’t know whether people in China have the same type of restaurant, I have never been there.
Anyway, they sell one cup of boiled plain rice for 5 Baht and serve it with many kinds of food, mostly have salty taste and some are sour and spicy. They mix spicy and sour salad then dress over top of salted red eggs, call Yum Kai Dang.
Can you suggest more unhealthy foods you can get in Thailand?
Probably the worst offender is water. Yeah, simple water. Most restaurants buy good water from fresh water making services that use reverse osmosis or some other good water purification process. But, some don’t!
Where you might have a problem is restaurants in small villages. In a big tourist area, all restaurants will be using good water and ice cubes.
You should NOT drink water from the tap. You should not brush your teeth with tap water. Locals in Thailand do. My Hubby does. You need to get used to it or you’ll come down with some really bad diahrea.
To be honest, we buy bottled Singha or Nestle Pure Life water for all of our water needs. We buy ice separately from a place that has good ice.
We spend about $2 for 9 liters of good water. I think we average using one of those per day with 5 people in the house. We cook with it and drink it. It’s good to know that 100% we have safe water, instead of relying on local companies to give us good water. Singha and Nestle have major operations, and I’m sure they’re doing it the right way.
Pretty sure anyway!