Beef wrapped in betel leaf is just one of those Thai cooking secrets you need to experience. Here beef is spiced with lemongrass, garlic, shrimp paste, ginger, roasted peanuts and some other Thai delights, then wrapped in betel leaf and grilled/broiled.
The charred betel leaf protects the meat in the cooking process and imparts a delightful flavor on this exotic filling. Not to mention the wonderful aromas of gently charring food escaping from your BBQ or broiler/grill. It is a sublime taste and a perfect little package of food for a quick snack or as an appetizer.
If you want to experience for yourself why Thai food has the reputation it does, then go beyond spring rolls and make this dish. You will be blown away by how good it tastes.
Thai Beef wrapped in betel leaf is a popular street food item in Thailand and today we briefly cover street food in Bangkok. Why is it so popular with the locals and tourists alike?
Read on to find out.
Street Food in Bangkok
Thailand. The very name evokes thoughts of mysticism, peace, smiles, palms gently swaying on the beach, golden temples, graceful dancing, Zen, I could go on.
Thai restaurants, so popular all around the world, are where many people first experience the charms of Thailand. But going to a restaurant is not where Thais go, it is the street food attracting the crowds. And why not? It is brilliantly cheap with a huge array of stalls and choices. And it is good, very good.
In Bangkok, a huge city, the streets are full of street stalls. Around the markets, the street food stalls open early and close late and the stalls are a semi-permanent fixture. In other locations around the city, they typically open about 4 pm onwards and stay open until late into the night. Sometimes the street stalls are all clumped together in popular locations and others are located on small side streets. You are never far from a street stall in Bangkok.
Around the streets, a stall is a mobile kitchen on wheels. They are hand-pushed, so it is hard work in the tropical heat. Ingredients are sourced each morning at one of the many markets around town. Meals are prepared on site and freshly cooked. There are literally hundreds of meals to choose from and then you sit down on little plastic chairs and communal tables rubbing shoulders with office workers and the locals.
Street food is one of the sublime pleasures of visiting Bangkok – the slightly hectic pace of life and the exotic aroma of cooking food, no matter where you are. And it is incredibly cheap. You will find it hard to spend more than $5 USD.
During Thai curry week, next week, we will explore street food in Chiang Mai, where the food is slightly different to Bangkok and in a more peaceful and Zen setting. And the cost is even cheaper. One night we paid $1.
Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf
Street food is just one of the many reasons why visiting Thailand is on so many people’s bucket list. Most people are familiar with spring rolls but if you are looking for a more unique Thai (and Vietnamese) delicacy sure to impress family and friends, then try beef wrapped in betel leaf. You can read more about betel leaf here.
Cooking good Thai food is a real pleasure and is a skill that will remain with you forever. Sure, there are some unusual ingredients, but if you source a good, Asian grocer in your city, you will have all these exotic ingredients at hand. This is where you should find refrigerated, betel leaves and bamboo skewers. The aromas from the grilled (and charred) betel leaf is a highlight of this recipe.
Want more information on Asian Cooking Ingredients? Our detailed guide covers most of the ingredients you will ever need to cook Vietnamese or Thai food. Become a subscriber and also gain free access to shopping lists for both Thailand and Vietnam, so you can cook along with our recipes or just to have the basics so you can enjoy cooking these 2 great cuisines.
FREE PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST
All the specialty ingredients you need to make the Thai recipes on Compass & Fork on one handy printable shopping list.