Best local food in Ayutthaya not to be missed
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, a city brimming with cultural and culinary riches passed down over generations, stands as a testament to its illustrious history as the former capital and trading hub of the kingdom.
For 672 years, it has welcomed merchants from all corners of the globe, infusing its local cuisine with a diverse array of influences and innovations. Food in Ayutthaya is a vibrant tapestry woven with elements from Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Indian, and Muslim cultures, all contributing to its unique flavor profile that transcends ship decks and graces palace halls. To truly immerse yourself in the Ayutthaya experience, here is a curated list of delectable food in Ayutthaya that not only tantalize the taste buds but also offer glimpses into the city’s rich heritage.
Roti Sai Mai
When exploring the old capital, one culinary gem you should not miss is Roti Sai Mai. Widely found throughout the city, Roti Sai Mai combines the Thai-style candy floss, known as cotton candy, with paper-thin sheets of roti. The slightly salty roti perfectly complements the sweetness and softness of the cotton candy.
This delectable dessert carries Islamic influences, with its recipe being inherited among Ayutthaya’s Muslim community. Initially, it was made and sold by Muslim vendors, but now it has gained popularity among the public. The concept of sweet roti originated from the Indian subcontinent, where it is typically filled with cotton candy. These delicate, silky strings of spun sugar come in various colors. The roti itself is incredibly thin and can be found in white or green, with the green hue derived from the pandan leaf. Some variations of roti are even topped with sesame seeds.
You can easily find this sweet delight at street stalls scattered throughout the city and along the highways. One of the best places to indulge in Roti Sai Mai is in front of Ayutthaya Hospital, where you’ll find numerous stalls offering a wide selection of flavors to satisfy your craving.
Boat Noodles (Kuay Tiew Rua)
One of the city’s signature food in Ayutthaya is Kuay Tiao Reua, more commonly known as Boat Noodles. Originating from the early days when vendors sold noodles from wooden rowboats along the canals and rivers, Boat Noodles have become a local specialty. While they are no longer served from boats, you can find them in roadside shops throughout Ayutthaya.
A traditional bowl of Boat Noodles is a flavor-packed delight. It typically includes rice noodles, along with an assortment of ingredients such as pork liver, pig blood curd, roasted pork, pork balls, crispy fried pork skin, all swimming in a dark, savory broth. The noodles are served in small bowls, allowing you to customize the dish with your preferred combination of ingredients.
Surprisingly, Ayutthaya is renowned for its magnificent freshwater prawns, making it a destination for a sumptuous and extravagant meal. It is not uncommon to see Thai families venturing out from the city specifically to indulge in this culinary delight on weekends. The majority of restaurants offering these prawns are situated along the water, taking advantage of Ayutthaya’s numerous canals and river.
These freshwater prawns are truly remarkable in size, often prompting orders by the kilogram. It is not uncommon for a kilogram to consist of only three prawns due to their impressive proportions. The preferred cooking method is grilling, where the prawns are delicately split open to reveal the tantalizing head oil—a beloved delicacy among Thai people. They are traditionally served alongside a delectable seafood dipping sauce, adding an extra layer of flavor to the already exquisite dish.
Ayutthaya-style Thai desserts
No exploration of food in Ayutthaya would be complete without acknowledging the influential figure of Thao Thong Kip Ma, also known as Maria Guyomar de Pinha. Thao Thong Kip Ma is renowned as the original creator of foi thong, thong yip, and thong yot, iconic Thai sweets that have garnered widespread fame.
Originally reserved exclusively for palace guests and visiting dignitaries, these vibrant and exquisite sweets eventually transcended the boundaries of the royal walls.
Ayutthaya, being the birthplace of these beloved Thai desserts, boasts numerous shops dedicated to selling beautifully packaged sweets, making them ideal gifts. Additionally, the city is dotted with dessert cafes, each offering a unique setting and ambiance. You can choose to indulge in these delectable treats at a cafe overlooking the ancient ruins of Wat Ratchaburana, a charming rustic cafe amidst the serene rice fields, or a vibrant riverside cafe along the Chao Phraya River.
Pad Thai, a stir-fried noodle dish, holds a special place in Thai cuisine, and Ayutthaya is no exception. The dish typically features thin rice noodles stir-fried with a medley of ingredients such as shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts, eggs, and crushed peanuts. The noodles are coated in a tangy and savory sauce, which adds a burst of flavors to every bite. Often garnished with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and chili flakes, Pad Thai offers a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
Indulging in a plate of Pad Thai at a local market in Ayutthaya is an excellent way to savor the authentic flavors of this iconic Thai dish while immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture.
These are just a few of the best local food in Ayutthaya not to be missed. From iconic Thai dish to succulent grilled prawns and delightful desserts, Ayutthaya’s culinary offerings will surely satisfy your taste buds and provide a memorable dining experience.