Spice Up Your Office Meals with Southern Thai Cuisine

Posted by on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 with 1 Comments

In America, Southern food is rich food — hearty and slow-cooked, unafraid of bacon drippings or copious amounts of red meat. In Thailand, Southern food is intense food: it can be very spicy, very sour, and sometimes very fermented. It’s the regional cuisine of Thailand to seek out if you want to really spice up your office meals, and enjoy a flavorful, fragrant lunch in the middle of an otherwise dreary work day!

Southern Thailand is the home of rich, creamy sauces, Indian-esque curries, and a certain vegetable known colloquially as the “stink bean.” It’s also more representative of the kinds of dishes you find in American Thai restaurants (usually), although they can be considerably toned down for Western palates. While Northern Thai food is influenced by its neighboring countries (Burma and Laos), Southern Thai dishes have been slowly altered by the migration of Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. And since a large chunk of Southern Thailand is surrounded by the sea, fish play a big part in authentic Southern Thai dishes.

khao yam rice salad

Vibrant khao yam is a fragrant rice salad from Southern Thailand.
Image source: Flickr user saucesupreme

Ready to get inspired to ditch the Pad Thai (delicious though it may be) and find a new favorite lunch? Here are some of Southern Thailand’s finest dishes, for your consideration.

1) Kaeng leuang

This yellow curry is usually regarded as one of the region’s spiciest, and is made with both fresh and dried chiles, shrimp paste, turmeric, and garlic. It’s most commonly made with fish and a vegetable or two, most likely pineapple, bamboo shoots, or green papaya. Sour, spicy, seafood: this dish might just be Southern Thailand in a bowl.

2) Kua gling/kua gling moo

Pork is dry-roasted with a southern-style curry paste of chiles, lemongrass, turmeric, shrimp paste, and galangal into a drier, spicy curry dish that is not for the weak of heart (or stomach).

3) Gaeng masumam 

Known to Anglican tongues as “Massaman curry,” this is an Indian-influenced beef curry with the unusual touch of dried spices: cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander lend this curry a rich, roasty-sweet flavor. The Thai culture comes in with the addition of fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind, and the dish is usually rounded out with potatoes, coconut milk, and cashews or peanuts.

4) Khao yam

This rice salad is incredibly fragrant and flavorful – not a surprise when you consider that it’s full of herbs. In addition to finely minced kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and turmeric leaves, the salad also contains grated coconut, dried shrimp, and – of course – rice. The entire pile of ingredients is tossed with a fish sauce dressing for an incredibly refreshing and flavorful alternative to the region’s creamy curries, and is definitely one of Southern Thailand’s finest dishes.

5) Satay

Southern Thailand took a cue from their Indonesian neighbors and adopted the street food staple of satay, skewers of grilled pork and chicken – and they serve it alongside peanut sauce and cucumber salad. Perfect for office meals, this dish is readily available Stateside as well.

6) Gaeng tai pla

Unlike popular satay, you’re not likely to find gaeng tai pla on many American menus, but no list of Southern Thai dishes would be complete without it: a pungent curry made from fermented fish stomach, usually with pumpkin and bamboo shoots. It’s considered an acquired taste.

7) Goong pad sataw

Sataw are the aforementioned stink beans, which are stir-fried with shrimp into a flavorful curry — but post-lunch breath mints are recommended!

8) Roti

Yes, the delicious Indian flatbread is also a staple of Southern Thai cuisine: it’s served in many varieties, both savory and sweet, often alongside curries for dipping and sopping up every last bite.

For delicious and convenient Southern Thai-inspired office meals, look no further than Waiter.com. With a wide range of menus, easy online ordering, and prompt delivery, you can discover a new favorite dish every day of the week!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

One response to “Spice Up Your Office Meals with Southern Thai Cuisine”

  1. Skye says:

    There’s a great Thai place near our work that we all go to sometimes and we love it! Some of the items on this list, they have there and among some of my favorite. Gaeng tai pla is amazing!