As wonderful an experience as it is to go to a Phuket Thai restaurant, you can’t take that experience home with you at the end of your holiday. If, while you’re here, you attend a cooking class or even just grab a recipe book or two, you can relive some of that experience by preparing tasty Thai dishes in your home kitchen.
There are a few essential utensils and ingredients you’ll require if you want to cook Thai food at home. It’s best to grab them in Phuket since they’re easier to find here, so be sure to add the following items to your shopping list!
Every table in every Phuket Thai restaurant has a bottle of this salty solution, whether you’re in the swankiest fine-dining establishment on the island or a budget local joint. Yes, you absolutely could use light soy sauce as a substitute, but the flavour of fish sauce adds a certain something to the dish. Grab as big a bottle of this as you can fit in your suitcase because you’ll be using it in almost every preparation!
Kaffir Lime Leaves
If you look really hard, you might sometimes find these in Asian supermarkets in western countries, but they’ll have been frozen and shipped and will have lost a lot of their potency. You can use finely chopped (not grated) lime zest as an alternative, but it’s not ideal. Of course, the ideal solution would be to grow a kaffir lime plant back home, but you’ll need a lot of luck and patience to get that to stick.
Also known as Thai sweet basil, this is an important ingredient in some really popular Thai dishes, but isn’t widely available in western countries. You might be able to find some in Asian supermarkets, but beware of mislabelled leaves. It helps to check online for tips on how to spot the genuine article.
Rice is such a major stable of Thai food that, if you’re planning to make a lot of it at home, you’ll absolutely need a special cooker for it. Fortunately, these are widely available from home appliances stores around the world, so you probably don’t need to buy one here and take up valuable baggage space you could be filling with fish sauce.
A Really Good Wok
I mean, a really good one, and not a teflon-coated one. Go to any Thai food market or even a good Phuket Thai restaurant with an open kitchen and you’ll see that the majority of your favourite dishes are whipped up in a wok, with the chef using metal wok shovel – a big no-no with non-stick woks since it rips the teflon off. Properly seasoned woks need to be looked after carefully, but are worth the extra time and effort if you want to cook Thai food like the professionals.