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10 Hardcore Thai food, only for the brave!

Phuket hardcore Thai food

We had ‘10 Typical Phuket Dishes‘ and ‘10 Best Really Local Restaurants‘, and even ‘10 Fried Insects for Gourmets‘ now we need to move on to serious business: ’10 Hardcore Thai Food, only for the Brave’… Will you dare?

I will skip insects and focus on real dishes Thai people cook daily and really enjoy. After 22 years in Phuket, I still can’t eat several of them, but I can tell when someone had some for lunch! Some look weird, some smell really bad, some taste terrible and some get all of it. Be daring! Try some of them when you visit! From the ‘Toughest’ to the ‘Less scary’ I give you the ’10 Hardcore Thai Dishes’ you have to try to say you have ‘Really Been in Thailand’

1. Duck Feet – ตีนเป็ด


Supposed to be great for your skin with a large amount of collagen contained, it’s halfway between chewy, cartilaginous and a bit slimy too. For the rest, well… look at the photo.

  • Aspect: Very Weird
  • Smell Level: Good
  • Taste Level: Light

2. Phad Sato – ผัดสะตอ


Sato is a local big seed smelling like cooking gas and growing inside a huge pod at the top of tall trees. Fried in shrimp paste and garlic, chilli, fish sauce and lime.

  • Aspect: Appetizing
  • Smell Level: Strong and lasting
  • Taste Level: Fainting

3. Yum Kai Mang Da Talay – ยำไข่แมงดา

horseshoe crab

A really unusual dish made with the eggs of a horseshoe crab (Mang Da Talay) that resembles a prehistoric crawly, mixed with grated green mango, chilli, and lime. Read more

  • Aspect: Scary to repulsive
  • Smell Level: Light
  • Taste Level: Light to ‘Very Fishy’
Read More!

4. Kaeng Tai Pla – แกงไตปลา


The name means fish kidneys soup but in fact, it’s made with fish guts in general… add carrots, green beans and fak (don’t laugh, that’s a Thai veggie! a kind of gourd), turmeric and shrimp paste.

  • Aspect: Normal
  • Smell Level: Very Strong
  • Taste Level: Fainting

5. Kaeng Som – แกงส้ม


A fish soup best enjoyed when done with a homemade shrimp paste using garlic, galangal, lemongrass lots of chilli, turmeric roots, plenty of local herbs, shallots, dry fish and curry paste. Put everything in a mortar and reduce to a pulp, which takes hours.

  • Aspect: Weird
  • Smell Level: Very Strong
  • Taste Level: Fainting

6. Soup No Mai – ซุปหน่อไม้


Boiled bamboo shoots salad north-eastern style (Isan) with mint leaves, shallots, ya-nang leaves and crunchy rice bits! On the good side: it has very few calories, great for diet! (if you can eat it)

  • Aspect: Strange
  • Smell Level: Stranger…
  • Taste Level: …Strangest

7. Tam Sua – ตำซั่ว


Tam Sua means ‘Whatever goes’: Small rice noodles, shredded raw papaya, some kind of pickles, raw bean sprouts, chili, fermented fish and salted fermented black crab.

  • Aspect: Weird (black crab legs look like a spider).
  • Smell Level: Strong to Stinky
  • Taste Level: Very Strong

8. Lo Ba – โลบะ


Deep-fried pork giblets: intestines, ears and fat belly, pork skin, well you get the picture: all the least appetizing parts of the pork, served with sweet brown sauce.

  • Aspect: Not appetizing
  • Smell Level: Eeeeeeew!
  • Taste Level: Strong

9. Nom Vou Yang – นมวัวย่าง


‘Nom Vou’ is a simple dish made with cow’s udders. It’s very rubbery and gives you the impression of chewing on your mom’s breast… awkward.

  • Aspect: Oh my
  • Smell Level: Acceptable
  • Taste Level: The taste is ok, but the consistency gave me goosebumps.

10. Nam Prik – น้ำพริก


A pungent violet shrimp paste with chilli dip, served with uncooked strange green vegetables: green beans, raw wing beans, raw eggplants, raw cabbage.

  • Aspect: Well-presented and nice-looking
  • Smell Level: The paste smells very fishy
  • Taste Level: Strong and veggies are bitter.

See also

10 Best Typical Southern Food You Must Try in Phuket

13 Local Thai Food to Try in Phuket

33 Best (VERY) Local Thai Restaurants in Phuket ?


4.4/5 - (15 votes)
Willy Thuan

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early until I settled in Phuket in 1994. For the past 30 years, my passion for photography and my curiosity have taken me to every corner of Phuket, Bangkok and everywhere I could go in Thailand. My goal is to share my discoveries, photos and tips to help travellers plan their holidays by making Phuket 101 as easy as possible to use for everyone!