There are many dishes that are ubiquitous with Thai cuisine: Som tam, pad Thai and green curry just to name a few.
But there is one dish that could perhaps be considered a part of daily life in Thailand, more so than any other.
And while dishes such as pad Thai may be more well known internationally, it is pad krapow which is the true staple of Thai food.
Eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner, pad krapow is a popular dish made with stir-fried minced meat (typically pork or chicken), garlic, chilies, basil, and served over steamed rice. Sometimes served with a fried egg, it is known for its spicy and flavorful taste.
It’s popular for a variety of different reasons, namely its convenience, affordability and versatility.
The dish combines the flavors of spicy chilies, aromatic basil, and savory meat that appeals to many Thai people.
Pad krapow can be cooked with chicken, pork, beef, seafood, tofu and it’s even good with tinned tuna (take our word for it).
It’s a quick and easy meal to make, which makes it a popular choice for people on the go, particularly during lunch time.
The dish is relatively cheap and is normally priced between 50 and 100 baht making it accessible to people of all income levels.
And it’s so easy to come by – you can find it just about everywhere, from street stalls and local markets to restaurants and just about everywhere in between.
Even if you have only been in Hua Hin for a relatively short period of time, it is likely that you will have your favourite spot in town to grab a plate of pad krapow.
Hua Hin Today recently teamed up with local food tour operator Feast Thailand who showed us some of the different varieties of pad krapow that are available in Hua Hin.
“Pad krapow is all about three key ingredients: chili paste, protein and holy basil,” Leigh Higgins from Feast Thailand told Hua Hin Today.
“Often the key to a really good pad krapow is how hot they can get the wok,” Leigh said.
“The dish is made in minutes so having a really hot wok is important and helps to bring out that extra flavor of whatever protein is used.”
When ordering pad krapow, you will often be asked if you would like a fried egg to go with it.
Leigh says that the fried egg is a must as it helps to add a richness to the dish, with the combination of the savory flavors of the stir-fry and the creamy texture of the fried egg creating a meal that is as tasty as it is satisfying.
Leigh said that pad krapow is a spicy dish and is meant to have a bit of a kick – with the egg yolk also helping to balance out the heat and spices in the pad krapow.
“You’ve got to order it with a fried egg and break the yoke over the spicy krapow. It’s all part of it”, Leigh added.
Like anywhere in Thailand, Hua Hin has an abundance of places serving pad krapow, which makes trying to highlight the ‘best’ an impossible task.
Instead, Leigh showed us some of the different varieties of pad krapow that are available locally.
And as Leigh wisely pointed out, it is often about trial and error before you will find your favourite pad krapow spot.
C’Cup Home Café & Restaurant
From its new location just off Soi 88, the first place we tried pad krapow was at C’Cup Home Café & Restaurant.
Those of you who know C’Cup from its days on Soi 94, may be all too familiar with its excellent offering of pad krapow.
The pad krapow here is just as it should be – nice and spicy – but you can of course ask them to tone it down a little if that’s your preference.
Order a plate of pad krapow and an iced cappuccino from C’Cup and you won’t go wrong.
Mae La Crab Kaphrao
Tucked away behind the G Supermarket is Mae La Crab Kaphrao.
The restaurant is hugely popular, not only among people living in Hua Hin but also with Thai tourists who travel far and wide to eat here. It has also been featured in various Thai TV shows and is popular among Thai foodie YouTubers.
Its signature dish is krapow crab which costs 120 baht but they also serve up more traditional offerings of krapow.
As well as the krapow crab, we tried a place of mixed minced pork and crispy pork (120 baht), which was really good. The krapow served to us had a more mellow flavour and was a little less spicy than we were expecting. However, that didn’t take anything away from what was a very tasty and large portion of krapow.
It is worth noting that the menu was in Thai so if you aren’t a Thai speaker, you might want to take one with you!
Kamoo Troksung, Soi 51
Located in Soi 51 is Kamoo Troksung. While the restaurant is best known for its kao ka moo (braised pork leg over rice), it serves a delightful plate of pad krapow.
The ka moo we ordered wasn’t overly spicy but was absolutely delicious. The full flavour of the krapow alongside the softness of the braised pork was really good.
📍 : https://goo.gl/maps/DYeYKqvQ9wiAc4ZB6
A big thanks to Feast Thailand – Hua Hin’s #1 Food Tour Company – for showing us the different variations of pad krapow in Hua Hin.
For more information visit Feast Thailand: feastthailand.com
All images: Feast Thailand.