Thai Food: Pork with Morning Glory & Basil

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ March 11th, 2015. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Thai food.
A plate of pork with morning glory and basil from Thailand

Succulent pork with fresh crunchy morning glory and aromatic basil leaves

Pork with fresh green crunchy Thai vegetables is something special

There are some Thai meals which deserve special attention. Pork is usually cooked well in Thailand. And, Thailands blend of spices and herbs are world renown. However it’s the mix of these fresh vegetables and herbs in many dishes which often bring a Thai meal up to world class standards.

In this case the main vegetable is morning glory and the herb is basil (fresh leaves).  To tell the truth the only negative thing about this dish was that they left the pork skin on. It was the soft type. I know a lot people like crispy pork skin but I try to avoid both variations.

Nonetheless the pork meat was still there and it blended beautifully with the crunchy morning glory and aromatic basil leaves.

What is Thai morning glory?

This is a common question with a simple answer. Morning glory is the nickname given to water spinach in Thailand. It’s also known as Chinese water spinach and Kangkong. Within these names there are also several natural variations of morning glory.

Quite why this leafy waterborne vegetable has been branded a homonym is another story. One nobody really seems to know the answer too. But it does send some people from the UK and Australia into giggles when reading a menu.

A piece of pork with morning glory and basil

That piece of pork is surrounded by morning glory with a leafy piece of basil just waiting to be eaten up

What does pork with morning glory and basil taste like?

Fresh, meaty, crunchy and aromatic. There’s nothing quite like biting into some succulent pork followed by crunchy morning glory that’s been sauteed with garlic and chili. Add in the gorgeous flavour and texture of fresh basil leaves to make this one of my favourite dishes in Thailand.

I’ve not come across many other countries outside of Europe who have embraced fresh basil as much as Thailand has. It’s refreshing and somewhat opulent to eat so much of this herb here. It grows cheaply and I can only hope the Thais one day start to produce pesto!

Where to find pork with morning glory and basil in Thailand?

From Bangkok on up to the north seems to be the favored area. The green leafy vegetables and herbs seem to thrive in that region. I found the dish mainly available in mid-scale restaurants. But in budget cafes basil seems to be getting more popular as tourists are flocking to the aromatic smells being created by the cooks inside.

Vegetarians will be happy to hear I’ve seen and eaten cashew nuts with morning glory and basil! The nutty cashews make a wonderful substitute for pork.

In either case it’s not an expensive dish so for any budget. If you see morning glory or basil on a Thai menu just go for it!

This is an additional article featuring Thai food

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13 Great responses to Thai Food: Pork with Morning Glory & Basil

  1. Georgina says:

    Ha ha, I’ve never heard of this versionof Morning Glory but yea, I know what you mean ;)


  2. Anna's World says:

    Looks delicious, so glad you added the bit about cashew nuts at the end!

  3. Jeff says:

    I really enjoyed Thai food when I was in Thailand. So different to what you get back home in a restaurant. I remember the basil too. A little different but still delicious.

  4. Johann says:

    Never had water spinach like this before. It was good. I think we can grow this in Europe too. I was told it was easy to grow.

  5. Tyler says:

    Looks good dude. Can’t eat pork skin either.

  6. Daniella says:

    Ohh it that really looks good! It’s great to see green veggies like this that are still so bright and green! Yummy.

  7. De'Jav says:

    Something different yet looks good.