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Tyler Byers

Eating out on Keto while in Thailand

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Disclosure statement: I have been a little bit hesitant to post this because I don't have a whole lot to add right at the moment lol (and I'm sure I'm gonna make a lot of mistakes). I thought it would be better to start now though and see if anyone else has some resources or dishes to add. Most of the dishes I know and love are from Isaan, so put on your spicy pants before trying some of these. I'll try and edit this post as information gets added and hopefully it will turn into something useful. Please excuse my potentially shitty romanization of Thai words, that whole process is extremely subjective lol. I'll try and also add Thai text where I can so folks can just show pictures/text to a restaurant. 

I've looked online quite a bit and haven't found anything that is truly what I am searching for, a Keto semi-safe guide to eating at restaurants in Thailand. The reason for this is because Keto can be very tricky due to the nature of cooking ingredients used in restaurants and at street vendors. I am hoping together we can create a compendium of food that can be used to guide fighters who are on Keto diets and come to visit Thailand. Some of these may have small amounts of sugar/carbs but with the amount people are likely to be training here I would be surprised if it knocked you out of Ketosis as your body should burn any of the excess carbs. If you are super hardcore into Keto though you are probably going to need to cook at home 100% of the time if you want peace of mind. 

Soups

Gaeng Om w/ beef (เเกงอ่อมเนื้อ): 

image.thumb.png.1e9887a7decb61b6531d20ec8a2439de.png

Notes: This can be ordered with any variety of meat/fish though beef and pork are the most common. May contain sugar.

Gaeng Hed (แกงเห็ด):

image.thumb.png.6701e4e8c592c89adac29c97fd6f2c10.png

Notes: As far as I know this one is 100% Keto safe. Mushrooms will vary depending on the season and region you are in.

Leng Saabp (เล้งแซ่บ):

image.thumb.png.714997ceec6d692886a97bb2e5fca3e4.png

Note: Don't let all the chilis fool you, this Isaan soup is also quite sour. I believe this one also is 100% Keto safe. I've never tried ordering this from a restaurant, but all the ingredients are quite common so I would expect it to be easy to find.

Dtom Lang (ต้มเล้ง):

image.thumb.png.0837f816b8f9eb532f39557ca65dd9d9.png

Notes: This is either ox spine or pork spine, I have forgotten lol. Regardless, it is amazing tasting and quite healthy. This is another dish that can be a little bit difficult to find, but it is well known so you should be able to find it easily if you ask around. 

Meat Salads

Larb Moo (ลาบหมู):

Thai larb

Notes: Can be ordered as pork (larb moo ), beef (larb neua), chicken (larb gai), or duck (larb ped). Can also be ordered with fish (larb pla duk ลาบปลาดุก), but the dish will vary greatly depending on the regional specialty of the restaurant in my experience. In Bangkok you'll get something similar to above, from an Isaan restaurant you are more likely to get a paste which you can dip crispy pork rinds into instead of the traditional sticky rice. I should also note that this dish will typically have a small amount of carbs from the toasted sticky rice (looks like sesame seeds). You can always ask for them not to add it by saying "mai sai khao kua" (ไม่ใส่ข้าวคั่ว).

Larb Goy (ลาบก้อย):

image.thumb.png.677efd59084da52600ae0750b5d32102.png

Notes: This dish is beef served raw and can be difficult to find/order. Usually it is served with a side of garlic cloves, peppers, and mint leaves. Absolutely delicious, but fair warning, you'll want toilets nearby the next day lol. It will clean you right out. 

Nam Tok (น้ำตกเนื้อ): 

Waterfall beef salad (Nam tok) with sticky rice - Yelp

Notes: Can be ordered as beef (น้ำตกเนื้อ) or pork (น้ำตกหมู). This is also gonna have toasted sticky rice in it (khao kua) just like larb, so expect a little bit of carbs.

Kor Moo Yang (คอหมูย่าง)

Ko Paragauti Khlong Lat Mayom PlaukiojanÄiame Turguje ...

Notes: Mmmmmm fatty pork neck! This is usually a safe one, but keep an eye out for sauce that has been brushed on the outside of the pork. The dipping sauce also contains toasted stick rice, but will always come on the side so you can just avoid it if you want. 

Main Dishes

Kana Gai/Moo (คะน้าไก/คะน้ามู):

image.thumb.png.85fa5af29bf8f6b0254e6b7244ed349b.png

Notes: This one is definitely going to come with sugar in it, so make sure you ask them not to add sugar "mai sai naamdtan" (ไม่ใส่น้ำตาล). I also like to have a couple of fried eggs thrown on top to mix in "gab kai dao song" (กับไข่ดาวสอง)

Pad Bob Sai Kai (ผัดบวบใส่ไข่):

image.thumb.png.2392be59440a68da9ef142a95beb4af7.png

Notes: This is fried Thai zucchini/squash and egg. I promise it is much better tasting than it looks! There are some additional ingredients (soy and sugar I think), but only about a tablespoon of each typically. I am sure this can be ordered without sugar and would still probably taste great. 

Snacks

Seaweed Strips:

Tao Kae Noi Crispy Seaweed Original | Thai Snacks

Notes: These contain small amounts of carbs, but a very minimal amount. Just make sure you check the nutrition information if you are buying any of the flavored types.

Nuts:

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a ...

Notes: Nuts in Thailand are expensive. There's no way around it. This can be a good option for snacking though as long as you stick with pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. Tops Market, Gourmet Market, Tesco, and Big C should carry these in bulk. You can find small packets in 7-11 or Family Mart, but expect them to also contain sunflower oil or something similar.

Sai Gok/Sai Oua (ไส้กรอก/ไส้อั่ว):

Chiang Mai sausages AKA âsai kokâ in Ratchada soi 10 | Got ...

Notes: Not to be confused with Northern sausages from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai which contain noodles. There are about a bajillion variations of these Laotian/Isaan sausages so you might need to try a few before finding a solid vendor. Sai Gok/Sai Oua can typically be ordered off of street carts for between 10-20 baht per portion depending on the type of sausage and where you are. They usually come with a little bag of lettuce, slices of ginger, and some green Thai chilies. 

Edited by Tyler Byers
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Snapping some shots from dinner and breakfast for me, regular favorites:

ไก่ผัดเม็ดมะม่วง Gai Pad Met Ma Muang - chicken and cashew

Can be found on lots of menus. Sometimes is made a little bit sweet, in a sweet and sour way, but I have not found that it kicks me out of ketosis.

Chicken and Cashew - Keto Thailand.jpg

 

ผัดกระเพราไก่ Pad Grapow Gai - chicken and fried basil

Chicken and Basil - Keto Thailand.jpg

 

หมูกรอบกระเทียม Moo Grope Tiam - crispy pork and garlic

Fried Pork and Garlic - Keto Thailand.jpg

 

These are 3 mainstays for me, wok fried food that at least keep me in a ketogenic zone when eating out.

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Nice! Thanks for adding these! I'll keep updating this list as I go. Hopefully some others will jump in here as I am sure I have made some mistakes here. I double checked the nutrition info on the seaweed while I was at the store today and you definitely gotta look at the nutrition info. I'm not sure which flavor I was looking at (I couldn't read all of it), but one of them had 5g of carbs and I think 2g of that was added sugar. I checked the regular ones though and they are safe 😄

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1 hour ago, Snack Payback said:

Some amazing looking food here, especially the Isaan dishes. Spare a thought for the people here who don't have access to food like this 24/7 😢

Hahaha don't worry I'll keep posting more as I find it 🤣 Isaan food is totally my comfort food. Seriously, the hardest part about returning to the US is readjusting to buying groceries and not having any Thai ingredients. I just wander around the grocery store like a lost cat, absolutely nothing looks even edible to me. And there are so many boxes (even the curry is in a box)! One of my absolute favorite things about living here is the access to cheap delicious food!

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2 hours ago, Tyler Byers said:

Hahaha don't worry I'll keep posting more as I find it 🤣  

Gah!

 

2 hours ago, Tyler Byers said:

Seriously, the hardest part about returning to the US is readjusting to buying groceries and not having any Thai ingredients. I just wander around the grocery store like a lost cat, absolutely nothing looks even edible to me. And there are so many boxes (even the curry is in a box)! One of my absolute favorite things about living here is the access to cheap delicious food!

Actually Australia is pretty good for Asian groceries, plenty of Asian supermarkets around. Fruit and and veg grown here is really good. Plenty of Thai restaurants as well, but they tend to sweeten up dishes a lot.  I've found hotels in Thailand that have a lot of western guests do that as well sometimes, They must just think farang like everything really sweet. 

 

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8 hours ago, Snack Payback said:

Plenty of Thai restaurants as well, but they tend to sweeten up dishes a lot.

They do this in the US as well. We usually end up with American Chinese food that is called Thai food lol. It's frustrating.

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On 7/19/2019 at 12:38 AM, Tyler Byers said:

They do this in the US as well. We usually end up with American Chinese food that is called Thai food lol. It's frustrating.

All the Thai restaurants here are Thai owned and staffed. There's a place opened up near me recently that has a great set up - indoor charcoal barbecue. You order the Nam Tok, it looks great. But it tastes really sweet. I might have to go again and tell them to hold off on the sugar.

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On 7/10/2019 at 1:34 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

ผัดกระเพราไก่ Pad Grapow Gai - chicken and fried basil

Are dishes like chicken and basil served with rice? I will be in Chiang Mai (first time to Thailand) and I'm wondering if it's worth asking restaurants for customization for things like no rice or no sugar. I'd prefer not to waste food, but I'd also like to avoid being too awkward...

Also, I'm wondering if you or anyone else have any insights on buying groceries. What are stored/markets like? I'd be in good shape of I can get plain stuff like eggs and pork/beef.

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For the ones not living in Thailand:
As Larb Gai is one of my favourites, too, I can tell you that it's not that difficult to cook it at home! The others I didn't try yet, but finding suitable recipes should be possible.

Thank you for that inspiring list!

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