If you’re keen to experience a little bit of local life then you should try what the locals drink.
From syrupy sweet teas to potent spirits, there’s quite of few unusual concoctions to sample. Here are some of the most common beverages you’ll see locals enjoying!
Cha Yin – Thai Iced Tea
Tea rules over coffee in Thailand and Thais usually enjoy it cold with a healthy portion of sweetened condensed milk. The tea is brewed super strong then poured over ice cubes and sweetened with condensed milk, turning the amber liquid into a sweet caramel colour. You can find someone selling cha-yin almost anywhere – the market, at a local food stand and even in 7-11. You will also often find it served take-away in a clear plastic bag filled with ice which is surprisingly easy to drink from and easy to carry on your scooter :). While served with sweetened condensed milk is the most popular, other versions include cha-dam-yin (black iced tea) and cha-manow (lemon iced-tea).
You’ve probably already tried Sangsom and whether you remember or not, this stuff is potent. Sangsom is pretty much the standard spirit around Thailand. This sugarcane based alcohol is so popular and widespread that you’ll see it at any festive gathering serving alcohol. Sangsom is already a popular drink among tourist – often filling beach party buckets but to truly experience Sangsom, you need to try drinking it Thai-style, which means, straight-up with a little ice and topped with coke and soda. Any bar or restaurant serving Sangsom will normally sell it as a set. Choose a small or large bottle which will be served with glasses, bucket of ice, a few cans of coca-cola, and few bottles of soda water. The bottle goes around for the evening and you can top up your glass until its finished.
Lao Khao is a popular cheap and strong rice whiskey, normally found among rural and working class Thais. It is made by government licensed shops but the strong quality makes it almost like a moonshine. The taste is questionable on its own so its usually mixed with something sweet like fanta or red bull. Approach this one with caution!