One Day in Thailand This Happened…
Figuring Out How to Order Iced Thai Coffee
It was no secret before I left for Thailand that I wasn’t crazy about Thai food. However, there was one thing I knew I loved, and that was Thai coffee. The little Thai shop next door to where I worked served a creamy, sweet, delicious iced Thai coffee that I was a bit obsessed with – it was better than any Starbucks iced coffee I’d ever had. And I am a frequent visitor to Starbucks.
So as the weeks got closer to my trip to Thailand this past December, I became increasingly excited to try an iced Thai coffee actually in Thailand.
Then I got to Thailand and in the hubbub of the new sites to see, the exotic food to taste (and learn to like), and the people to meet…I completely forgot about trying iced Thai coffee.
Until Tom and I got to Bangkok for our last three days in the country. Then I remembered. And lucky for me, we had just entered Siam Paragon’s massive food court – a foodie and drinks heaven.
Tom and I sat down to get a couple appetizers at a little café – yes, that is how elaborate Siam Paragon is, they have actual cafés in the middle of the mall – and as Tom admired the dessert section, I studied the drinks section in confusion.
Listed were a number of drinks typical to what you would see in most coffee shops around the world: latte, cappuccino, Americano, American coffee (which was just described as regular, black coffee) and iced coffee.
The iced coffee was what held me up. It didn’t say Thai Iced Coffee. It also didn’t say American iced coffee as the regular coffee had prefixed. I expressed my confusion to Tom.
“Well, they’re not going to put Thai in the name when you’re actually in the country, are they?” Tom pointed out.
“No…” I agreed, still frowning at the menu. “But it’s weird then they don’t have an iced black coffee.” Which was my fear. I hate iced coffees at Starbucks, when it’s just their daily brew served over ice. Watered down coffee was how I perceived that. And I did NOT want to accidentally order that.
“Why don’t you just ask them?” Tom asked while still peering over the desserts.
“I can’t do that!” I protested. “They’ll think I’m some pompous tourist who thinks that everything should be the way it is in America, including using the word “Thai” to describe something.”
I was not going to be that person. I’d rather order the same thing.
I stared at the Starbucks about 50 yards away and sighed. If there’s a Starbucks here, maybe they had taken over and an iced coffee in Thailand was the same as an iced coffee at my local Starbucks at home in San Diego.
Well, there was only one way to find out.
The server came over and I ordered an iced coffee. Tom ordered some chocolate dessert and a pizza. (In our defense for the pizza, it was almost the end of our trip and we were craving some cheese, which isn’t found in most Thai dishes.)
A short time later, the server reappeared…carrying a caramel colored drink.
It looked exactly like my iced Thai coffee I get at home!
I eagerly took a sip after he set it down in front of me and beamed at Tom.
“It’s amazing!” Better even than at home.
Thai iced coffee is made with condensed milk and cream, which is what gives it its sweet flavor. I finished mine up delightfully, cursing myself for not ordering more during the trip.
As I took the last gulp, I looked at Tom. “I want another one!”
Thanks for the tip! I’m craving a Thai Iced Coffee now. 🙂
Mark Eveleigh says
One of my favourite things in Thailand too. Funny to come across this post: I’m writing a magazine feature about Bangkok now and wanted to clue people in to the great local iced coffee. Thanks for the fun read. And, by the way, if you order ‘gafair yen’ (meaning cold coffee) you’ll almost certainly be served with the good Thai stuff instead of some watered down American alternative.
Have fun on your trip! Thai food is amazing. 🙂
Olivia - young on the road says
Thanks for the tip, I will definitely be trying that when I go to Thailand! Going to comb through your other posts about thai food, I’m so excited.
Very cheap, it was great!
Simon P says
And it’s so cheap, right? We’d have one or two per day when we were in Thailand!