Whether you’re not into spicy food or need a good tummy rest from the previous fiery meal, here are three non-spicy dishes that can be commonly found around Bangkok. These dishes can be found in most street-side restaurants, or Raan Aharn Tam Sung (“up to command restaurants”), where you can order any dishes commonly eaten by Thais and they can cook it up for you.
1) Khao Phat
Literally translated to “stir-fried rice”, Khao Phat is the Thai version of beloved fried rice recipe enjoyed over many countries. Often made with day old rice (newly cooked rice has excess moisture unfit for a good stir-fry), Khao Phat is cooked with chopped green onions, eggs, a protein of choice, minced garlic, fish sauce, small amount of sugar and MSG, usually in form of chicken broth powder to round out the taste. The dish is usually garnished with slices of cucumber and tomato, whole pieces of green onion and a wedge of lime. You can order Kai Dao (fried egg with runny yolk) or Kao Jiew (fried omelet) to put on top of your fried rice. Prik Naam Pla (fish sauce with chopped Thai chillies) is usually served with the dish, for those who want to add saltiness, spiciness, or both, to Khao Phat.
Like any country’s fried rice, Khao Phat comes with many variations. The most commonly found Khao Phat are: Khao Phat Mhoo (pork fried rice) and Khao Phat Ghai (chicken fried rice). Khao Phat Puu (crab fried rice) and Khao Phat Goong (shrimp fried rice) are usually found in restaurants that specialize in seafood, thus might not be available in certain street food stalls and street-side establishments. Khao Phat Nua (beef fried rice) is not common, since beef is not staple nor cheap for road side vendors or smaller restaurants. Alternatively, you can order Khao Phat Kai (egg fried rice) or Khao Phat Jae (vegetarian fried rice) if you normally do not consume meat.
The variations for Thai fried rice are endless. Some is stir-fried with holy basil and chilli paste, some with fermented shrimp paste and spices, some with curry or Tom Yam even. At your average food vendors, however, it’s likely that only the basic variations mentioned above are available.
2) Khao Kai Jiew
Literally translated to “fried omelet rice”, Khao Kai Jiew is basically a rice dish consisted of a Thai-style fried omelet put of top of steaming jasmine rice. It is usually one of the cheapest dish you can order, as its core ingredients (rice, egg, oil) are inexpensive. Each vendor cook differently, ranging from flat-looking omelet (either cooked with less oil or less heat) to fluffed-up version (with lots of hot oil). Minced pork added into the egg becomes Khao Kai Jiew Mhoo Sup (fried omelet rice with minced pork), while minced shrimp becomes Khao Kai Jiew Goong Sup (fried omelet rice with minced shrimp). You can ask the cook to do the omelet with minced chicken or beef, but Thais usually do not mix their fried omelet with chicken or beef. Another Kai Jiew dish you could come across is Kai Jiew Puu (fried omelet with crab meat), but this is usually served in specific restaurants, and more expensive due to the price of crabs. Like Khao Phat, Khao Kai Jiew is usually served with Prik Naam Pla, but never with a lime wedge. Alternatively, one can slather sweet chilli sauce on the omelet instead of Prik Naam Pla.
3) Phat Si-Io
While Pad Thai is more internationally known, Phat Si-Io (or Pad See-Ew) is eaten more commonly by locals. The name of the dish translates to “fried (with) soy sauce” and it is very similar to the char kway teow of Singapore and Malaysia. Phat Si-Io is made with dark soy sauce (si-io dam), light soy sauce (si-io khao), garlic, broad rice noodles, called kuai-tiao sen yai in Thai (commonly abbreviated to just sen yai meaning “big strip”), Chinese broccoli, egg, and some form of thinly sliced meat — commonly pork, chicken or beef — or shrimp or mixed seafood. Four condiments – fish sauce, sugar, vinegar with chopped yellow chillies, and dried red chilli flakes – is usually served along side Phat Si-Io (and most other noodle dish) for those who wish to add salty, sweet, sour, or spicy to the dish.