Unfamiliar with Thai desserts? Indulge your sweet tooth with the variety of treats available in the Land of Smiles, and let our list of the top 10 tastiest desserts to try in Thailand be your guide!
Temples, tuk-tuks, beaches, islands… Thailand is well-known for plenty of traveller favourites, but there are few elements of Thai culture as pervasive as the food! If the sheer number of Thai food restaurants globally is any indication, Thai food might be one of the most famous of Asian food varieties — and it’s not hard to see why. Food in Thailand is, in a word, delicious!
But despite Thai food’s most popular dishes like Tom Yum and Pad Thai, food in Thailand isn’t always spicy. After all, there must be something tasty to eat when you’d prefer a sweet, light treat. Thankfully, tasty Thai culinary specialties aren’t reserved only for the main course. That same unique flavour also translates to desserts!
With almost endless combinations of sweet syrups, coconut creams, fruits and sweet sticky rice, Thai desserts aren’t your standard apple pie and chocolate ice cream – we’d say that they’re even better! For a real taste of Thai culture and an all-encompassing discovery of Thai culinary classics, we at Buffalo Tours think that these 10 desserts are absolutely not-to-miss.
Khao Neow Toorien
Durian Coconut Milk Soup with Sticky Rice
Durian is equal parts loved and hated thanks to its pungent scent, but the fruit’s smelly reputation shouldn’t keep you away from one of Thailand’s most-loved desserts: Khao Neow Toorien.
A uniquely tasty combination of sweet sticky rice, thick coconut cream, sugar, salt and chunks of fresh durian, creating the perfect combination of these elements is crucial to creating Khao Neow Toorien. Failing to balance each can make for a less-than-tasty concoction. But when each element is balanced correctly (a skill that most Thai dessert vendors are known for) this treat is a must-try!
Khao Mao Tod
Fried Banana with Roasted Rice
Most of us assume that deep frying strange foods is a trend sweeping only the deep south of the United States, but Thailand has been known to fry a few odd things or two as well – thankfully, with tasty results. Khao Mao Tod is made when a super ripe banana is rapped in sticky rice and shredded coconut before frying to a golden-brown colour.
When fried to perfection, Khao Mao Tod is a invigorating combination of crispy texture and sweet banana taste. Mix it up by adding a bit of coconut cream or vanilla on the side – or better yet, eat it at one of Bangkok’s famous street food stalls!
Golden Egg Yolk String
Some Thai desserts are more than just tasty street food treats – many double as important cultural elements at weddings and events. One such multi-functional dessert is Foi Thong, often served at formal events and believed to bring good luck!
This one uses chicken or duck egg yolks that are thinned to a stringy form. Once at the perfect consistency, the egg yolks are boiled in a thick syrup flavoured with jasmine flower or rose essence. When done right, they’re a bright yellow or orange colour, and super light and tasty!
Bua Loy Nam Khing
Ginger Soup with Black Sesame Filled Dumplings
Similar to a hot dessert served in neighboring Vietnam, Bua Loy Nam Khing owes its invigorating flavour to its main ingredient, ginger. A little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, Bua Loy Nam Khing is a powerful ginger soup with dumplings that are filled with a pleasingly nutty sesame centre.
Sometimes with bits of fruit and melon added in, this one is a favourite in Bangkok’s Chinatown and is especially good for someone looking for a mix between Thai’s classic spice with a tasty sweet side!
Sweet Bird’s Nest Soup
Although only a bit sweet and with less-than-appealing ingredients (particularly the bird’s nest, created when a bird’s saliva hardens into a particular shape) Rang Nok might be one of Thailand’s healthiest treats. With a proven track record of improving blood circulation, skin rejuvenation and tuberculosis prevention, Rang Nok makes up for its odd beginnings with very sought-after side effects!
Tub Tim Grob
Unlike many of Thailand’s desserts that come in soup form, Tub Tim Grob swap the spoon for tasty morsels made with water chesnuts, tapioca flour and red dye. Lovingly called “red rubies” by locals, these make for great treats to carry along with you during sightseeing adventures, and maybe even tasty souvenirs to take home with you!
Khao Neow Ma Muang
Sticky Rice with Mango
Leave it to Thailand to make rice the main staple of a dessert, and the perfect example is Khao Neow Ma Muang. Not overly sweet and with hints of fresh mango, Khao Neow Ma Muang has its fair share of salt alongside its sugar. Khao Neow Ma Muang is also covered in a hefty helping of coconut cream, which makes it a pleasing blend of sweet and savory.
Since mango is a seasonal fruit, Khao Neow Ma Muang can be difficult to find if the fruit isn’t in season. That said, this mango sticky rice takes over the moment mangos are harvested, so keep an eye out for street stalls selling it if you’re visiting Thailand during mango season!
Thai Sweet and Salty Fruit Dipping Sauce (Green Mango with Sweet Sauce)
If there ever was a dessert with ingredients as baffling as they were diverse, Thailand’s Nam-Plan Wan would be it. Using very raw mangoes that are plenty crunchy, tart and sour, Nam-Pla Wan is a dip made of dried shrimp, shrimp paste, chillies and fish sauce for something incredibly salty. When dipping a mango into the concoction and taking a bite, though, the two flavours work together harmoniously in a taste explosion that’s gained immense popularity in Thailand.
For the best Nam-Pla in all of Thailand, head to Tor Kor Market to a particular vendor who gives free samples of her brand of sauce. So good is her creation that celebrities are known to travel clear across the city just to get a taste!
Coconut Ice Cream
Perfect for vegans, Itim Kati is a healthier and fresher version of Western ice cream. Thai locals make Itim Kati with coconut cream instead of whipping cream and eggs, so the result is a lighter, more refreshing and much healthier treat. Since Itim Kati is super cold and reminiscent of coconut milk (perfect for the summer), the ice cream treat is great for when weather and humidity is at a high. Just make sure you eat up quickly before it all melts!
Kanom Buang Thai
Sometimes called ‘Thai tacos’ by travellers and expats, Kanom Buang Thai are small, yellow and crispy crepes often filled with eggs whites, sugar, shredded coconut, minced shrimp and ground dried shrimp. Sometimes coloured with food colouring for a pleasing orange colour, Kanom Buang Thai is yet another sweet treat that mixes both sweet and savory elements for something surprisingly tasty!
Sample all of these tasty Thai treats in their home country – see (and taste!) the very best of the Land of Smiles with us, on our Classic Thailand tour!