Given that the vast majority of Thai people seem to have very slim and slight figures, the assumption would naturally be that Thai food is extremely healthy. For the most part, this is true – almost every dish has one kind of health benefit or another. However, there are some that don’t. Annoyingly, they are generally the most flavoursome (because isn’t that always the case?). Here are some of the worst offenders – the dishes to avoid ordering in a Phuket Thai restaurant if you’re trying to lose weight.
The dish that the nation gave its name to is, sadly, one that really packs in the calories. In fact, a single dish could contain as many as 1,000 of them! The peanuts are a big part of that as all nuts have an extremely high energy density, mostly in the form of fat. The 40g of fat you’ll get from a single serving is already half the recommended daily intake for the average person, but that’s the least of your problems because the sodium level, at 2,500mg, is 175 per cent of the recommended intake. Perhaps it’s not that surprising that pad Thai isn’t that popular with locals.
Fried rice is another classic Thai dish, available at virtually every Phuket Thai restaurant. Once again, it’s a dish that’s actually a lot more popular with foreigners than it is with locals and, once again, it’s one that’s very heavy on the calories – 1,200 in a single serving! This time, the culprit is carbohydrates. The dish is 90 per cent rice, after all, which is loaded with the stuff. And it’s fried, which means oil, which means saturated fat. The addition of a small amount of chicken (or other meat, unless you’re going for the veggie version) and a few greens can do little to offset that massive caloric intake.
This dish of minced meat with holy basil is actually pretty popular locally, which is surprising because it’s also pretty unhealthy. While it looks harmless enough from a distance, start digging your spoon in and you’ll notice that the meat is generally swimming in oil and the holy basil leaves have been deep-fried. The flavour is delightful, but the intense gym session you’ll need to work it off will not be so enjoyable.
Sweet Thai Tea
This drink isn’t that common in Phuket Thai restaurants and is more often found among street food vendors, often on a mobile cart making the rounds of the local offices. It’s more powerful than a Red Bull, if you need something to wake you up in the mornings, which is why Thai people are very fond of it. However, that effect comes from the use of sweetened condensed milk, which is packed with sugar. A single glass will add a whopping 400 calories to your waistline.