If you’re like me and love a good spicy bowl of tom yum, you’re going to develop a severe addiction to tom yum soda. My friend at Cafe de pooh here in Phuket developed this concoction when working at a posh hotel. A spicy, aromatic blend of crushed chili, galangal, and lemon grass mingle with soda water and a dash of sugar. It’s truly a must for any culinary travel fan.
Another one of my favorite refreshing Thai beverages is nam manao which you can get sparkling ( nam manao soda) and with honey ( nampeung) and/or a dash of salt.
This is seriously the ultimate drink for Thailand’s hot weather, and you can get one to go from the many coffee shop slash drink stops throughout the country. In fact, I just had one today at a place right outside my house, and it cost me 25 baht.
Thais also love their daily dose of cha dam yen ( iced Thai tea) or cha manao ( iced tea with lemon). They tend to like their drinks very sweet, and most of my friends add milk to their coffee or tea. Condensed milk is a staple in modern Thai cooking, and you can find it in almost everything, from omelettes to curries and of course drinks. It is mostly made from palm oil and is thick and sweet. I’m personally not a fan of it so get my coffee black and tea without milk. Condensed milk is also added on top of desserts such as roti and even on coconut ice cream.
Drink stalls served their chilled beverages in plastic takeaway cups with a plastic bag-like carrier, making it easy to drink on the go.
A photo posted by Culinary Travel Writer 🍜✈️ (@epicwanderings) onGreen tea lattes ( matcha lattes) are another popular Thai drink, although I’ve seen some of the matcha used ( and sold in stores) and it isn’t the vibrant green that it should be. It may be low grade matcha or merely some sort of faux matcha. Who knows! It can be good be nice to have a faux matcha latte when eating something yummy and spicy.
Thai absolutely love their food and drinks sweet ( in general), and one popular drink is iced cocoa. This is made similarly to hot cocoa but it’s typically drunk as a frappe or iced. Depending on what cocoa is used, this can be a nice treat, especially if you ask for it to be waan noi ( not too sweet).
Perhaps the most famous Thai drinks among farang are fruit smoothies. In particular, mango or pineapple smoothies. These can be made with sweetener and even condensed milk at some stalls and restaurants, so if you’re trying to stay away from excess sugar you can tell them mai sai nam thaan and they may leave it out. I say may because some places cannot believe you want your drink sans sugar and may even add it anyway, even if you tell them in Thai. Others will add a sugar syrup or artificial sweetener. More and more stalls though understand that farang don’t necessarily like their coffee and smoothies loaded with sugar.
Coconut smoothies made with coconut water and condensed milk ( or coconut milk if you’re lucky) can be found at many markets throughout the country. You can also buy fresh young or roasted coconuts on the islands, and even here in Chiang Mai. Some vendors go through the hard work of removing the shell and somehow keeping the skin and water in tact; they sell the coconut water sack ( for lack of a better term) in containers, and will give you a straw to drink it with. You can then savour the delicious skin when you’ve sucked out all the yummy coconut water.
Beer, wine, and whiskey are available throughout Thailand. We do have craft breweries here, in addition to popular brands like Leo and Chiang. Imported beer is readily available and growing in popularity amongst Thais, as is wine. Wine Connection is a restaurant that sells wine, beer, and cider, and you can find them in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya.