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Most Thais love spicy food, so there's no doubt they enjoy chili paste sandwiches. It's a quick meal that's easy to prepare at home.

Although snacks with chili paste are becoming really popular, nothing beats the original sandwich with its soft bread, zesty chili paste and crispy shredded pork.

Some Thais like to eat plain chili paste sandwiches, with only chili paste spread on the bread. Thais call this meal kha-nom pang ta nam prik pao. Kha-nom pang means bread while nam prik pao is chili paste.

In Thailand, many people eat bread with chili paste and shredded pork.

The only three ingredients are fresh bread, chili paste and shredded pork; all of which can be found at the supermarket. If you're not in Thailand, visit your local Asian grocery. The most common chili paste brands for sandwiches are Mae Pranom and Pantai Norasingh, that come in glass jars. Please note, Pantai Norasingh offers medium hot and very hot chili pastes, which is marked with one or two chilies on the label.

Pantai Norasingh is a popular brand of Thai chili paste.

Chili paste is usually made of vegetable oil, dried shrimp, onion, garlic, dried chili, tamarind, shrimp paste, salt and sugar.

The chili paste and shredded pork are often displayed in the dry food section at the supermarket. Further, shredded pork is often packaged in plastic bags or plastic boxes.

Shredded pork is delicious on Thai chili paste sandwiches.

Chili Paste Sandwich Variations

If you don't eat shredded pork, you can replace it with imitation crab meat, which is made of fish. My favorite brand is Prantalay since it carries the highest percentage of fish. It's also possible to use shredded chicken or shredded fish, but they're quite difficult to find.

Vegetarian Chili Paste Sandwiches

Even vegetarians can enjoy Thai chili paste sandwiches.

Vegetarians can prepare the sandwiches with vegetarian chili paste and vegetarian shredded meat, that are available at most big supermarkets in Thailand. If you can't find the ingredients, go to a Thai vegetarian restaurant, since they usually sell a selection of vegetarian products.

In my experience, vegetarian chili paste is more salty than normal chili paste, which is sweeter.

Thai chili paste for non-vegetarians and vegetarians.
The vegetarian version of Mae Pranom chili paste has a yellow label.

Vegetarian products are marked with the word jay in Thai. It's written with two characters that look a bit like 17. The word is often written in red on a yellow flag.

Vegetarian shredded meat generally contains soy protein, soy bean oil, soy flour, soy sauce, white sesame, sugar, seaweed and seasoning.

Vegetarian shredded meat for Thai chili paste sandwiches.

How To Prepare Chili Paste Sandwiches

It's as easy as putting butter on a slice of toast. After spreading a thin layer of chili paste on the bread, sprinkle your choice of shredded meat or imitation crab on top, and it's ready.

It's most delicious when freshly prepared, since the shredded meat loses its crispness when in contact with air and the oil from the chili paste.

Next time you want to prepare easy picnic food with Asian flavors, try chili paste sandwiches!

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