While trekking through Thailand, I will admit that I was somewhat infatuated by the variety of food, especially Thai street food. But I was so intrigued! It was just that I didn’t know where else to look.
Many people are familiar with Pad Thai and the many curries. But if you dig deeper into Thai culture, cuisine, and food, you’ll discover so many amazing dishes that are bursting with flavor.
Thai food is complex. It’s sweet, sour and spicy at once.
You want to know the essence of these flavors? Ginger, turmeric, garlic, ginger, basil, and garlic are all common ingredients. There may also be peanuts or coconut.
Sometimes, the best way of getting a taste of culture is to try the local cuisine. But sometimes it can be difficult to know what must-haves are.
- 1 Pad Thai
- 2 Gaeng Keow Wan Kai
- 3 Gaeng Daeng
- 4 Yam Nua
- 5 Khao Pad
- 6 Sticky Mango Rice
- 7 Laap/Larb
- 8 Spring Rolls
- 9 Tom Yum Goong
- 10 Tom Kha Gai
- 11 Thai Sweets Bonus
This guide will help you to find the best 10 Thai foods to try!
Pad Thai, or Phad Thai, is a stir-fried noodles dish that’s popularly served on street food and in most Thai restaurants. What are the most common ingredients? Rice noodles, eggs and tofu are all good options.
CNN actually ranked this meal at number five in its “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods” readers’ poll.
I don’t think it’s surprising, honestly! Pad Thai is a classic and great place to begin if you are just starting to eat Thai food.
Gaeng Keow Wan Kai
Do not worry: The long name refers to green chicken curry
The name’s “green” portion derives its color from green chilies.
There are many other colors to choose from, as you may have guessed. Red and yellow are two of the most popular, each with a unique flavor and spice level. That’s what we’ll be discussing next!
To absorb the soup-like qualities of green curry, a large portion of rice is usually served with green curry.
This is also known as red curry and it is much more spicy than its green sibling.
There are many variations of this dish, so even if your favorite red curry is available, you may find something completely different elsewhere.
Yam Nua is a spicy, beef salad. This mixed salad is named Yam because it literally means “mix.”
It is made with skirt steak, onion and coriander as well as lime, spearmint, lime and dried chili.
Also known as Thai Fried Rice
This fried rice is different from Chinese fried rice because it uses Thai jasmine rice instead of regular long-grain rice.
A protein component is usually added to chicken, pork or shrimp. Some restaurants like to add their own twist by using pineapple, basil, and even coconut.
Sticky Mango Rice
This dish is so sweet!
Mango sticky rice (also known as sticky rice in Thailand) is a traditional Thai dessert that is made with sticky rice, fresh mango and coconut milk. It tastes just as good as it sounds.
The peak season for mangos in Thailand is April to June. That also means that it’s peak mango sticky rice season. ).
Although rice and mango may sound silly, it is actually a delicious combination.
Laap, or Larb, is a savory salad made from meat. Don’t let its name scare your eyes.
Although it might seem messy at times, that is part of the fun. This zesty mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, chili flakes and minced pork gives it a refreshing taste. It is also known as the “unofficial dish” of Laos.
The most common way to eat minced meat with sticky rice is with it. However, depending on where you are from, there may be other ways to prepare it. You can choose from raw or cooked versions, but for your health and comfort, I recommend the cooked one.
The best way to eat it is with your hands! Use your hands!
Put some Laap in your palm and shape the sticky rice into a ball. Then, pour some beer on top. In no time, you’ll feel like a local.
Thai spring rolls are a popular appetizer
These are very easy to snack on. They go well with sweet chili sauce.
Tom Yum Goong
Tom Yum is the most well-known Thai soup!
This Thai dish is extremely popular, not only in Thailand, but also in Thai restaurants around the globe.
Tom Yum Goong, which is made with shrimp, is the most popular variety of Tom Yum. It is distinguished by its distinctive hot and sour flavors and fragrant spices and herbs.
Tom Kha Gai
Tom Yum Goong is not to be confused! Tom Kha Gai is my favourite Thai dish. This is sometimes spelled Tom Kha Kai.
It might seem that coconut milk soup would be sweet. But this Thai coconut soup is quite the opposite!
Most recipes include coconut milk, chicken and galangal (aka Thai ginger but with a distinct flavor than the ginger that you are probably familiar with), lime juice, chili peppers, mushrooms and fish sauce.
Fun fact: The dish wasn’t actually a soup in the 19th century. It was actually a dish of chicken or duck cooked in coconut broth. The broth was just too tempting to resist, and the soup evolved into the delicious savory soup that I love!
A Quick Guide to Thai Foods for Vegetarians
If you’re a vegetarian, look out for “mang sa wirat.”
This phrase can loosely be translated as “no noticeable pieces of meat” or “no seafood”. Chefs may still use chicken broth and eggs in their dishes.
Look out for “jay” if you are vegan.
If you don’t eat vegetarian and are looking for a dish with chicken, look out for the “gai” sign. If you want shrimp, you will see “gung.”
Thai Street Food: A Beginner’s Guide
What makes that purple rice? What is in a banana leaf? How can I eat whole fish on a stick with no bones?
Thai Sweets Bonus
Thai sweets are not something you should miss. Although I included the sticky mango rice, Thai desserts are worthy of their own category.
Thai Iced Tea
Thai Iced Tea is considered the nectar of gods. This sweet tea is made with condensed milk and tea.
It might be a shock to some people to try it if you’ve never had it before. It’s great for finishing off a meal or hot day!
Any Marzipan Delights
Thai marzipan, made from mung beans, is sculpted to look like tiny glossy fruits and veggies.
Treat for the eyes and mouth!
Many of these dish names can be loosely translated from Thai. You’ll find many variations in the name and spellings at Thai restaurants. Don’t let this stop you from trying them.
If you are planning to visit Thailand in the near future, I recommend you try these Thai dishes or, you know, all of them! You can’t travel to Thailand? Try something new at your Thai restaurant. You may just love what you discover!
What Thai dishes would your recommend? Please let me know if any of these were your favorites or if you have any other recommendations in the comments section!