Thailand’s Dark Side of the Fork

Fiery Foods Manager Asia Leave a Comment

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By Benjamin Rush

Editor’s Note: Warning–Don’t read this if you’ve recently eaten or are planning to eat anything ever again.

Thai food has taken the world by storm, regularly voted the favorite ethnic food in prestigious Zagat surveys around the world. Today most metropolitan foreigners are ardently familiar with Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong and Green Curry. Yet there is a dark side to Thai cuisine that remains intentionally hidden from these unsuspecting palates–an often horrifying underworld of macabre cuisine that would make even the hardiest, battle-tested “Iron Chef” cringe like a little girl. It is in Thailand’s national interest that these secret recipes never fall into foreign hands, so this article will self-destruct in sixty seconds. Read quickly.


The fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate it they knew then that evil existed in the world. Don’t worry about accidentally ingesting this biohazard: even in a plastic bag you can smell it from miles away. And don’t trust people who tell you it’s an acquired taste. They are the minions of Lucifer.

Bamboo Worms

Deep-Fried Bugs

One of Isaan province’s many unexportable contributions to Thai cuisine. As any fan of reality game shows will tell you, eating bugs is something you only do in order to win a lot of money. Not so for the supernaturally gourmet Isaanese, who regularly scarf down swarms of deep fried and spiced waterbeetles, grasshoppers, grubs, worms and crickets. Not only a good source of protein, but also a cheap form of pest control.

Blood Jelly
Blood Jelly

Looks like tofu, feels like tofu, tastes like old socks. Lovely purple color brings to mind animal parts you’re not supposed to eat. Authorities say that blood is one of the world’s healthiest foods, but that’s only because they’re all vampires.

Thousand-Year-Old Eggs

Everyone knows that, like a fine wine, eggs just get better with age. Clever Chinese cooks just figured out a way to speed up the process. These black eggs are rumored to taste a bit like cheese, though no one has ever been brave enough to find out. (Presumably they mean “thousand-year old cheese.”) Actually called “Horse-Pee Eggs” by the Thai, as they are sometimes cured in horse urine. Now you want one.

Ice Cream Sandwich
Ice Cream Sandwich

In either an error of translation or a practical joke gone horribly wrong, vendors commonly sell ice cream sandwiched between two pieces of white bread. Strawberry “ketchup” and banana “mustard” complete the package.

Pig's Ear
Pig’s Ear
There’s an old saying: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Nor, evidently, can you make an agreeable snack. Deep-fried pig skin is popular all over the world. This one is boiled and slimy, however, and will conjure up the distinct sensation of being French-kissed. By your dog.


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