Updated: 6 days ago
Thailand is world-famous for its mouthwatering cuisine and for good reason and is famous for its rich Thai food culture. Come and explore the flavours of the Land of Smiles by eating your way through our list of the best dishes this foodie nation has to offer. We will tell you what to eat in Thai cuisine, you just have to find the places to eat in Thailand. Warning: You’ll be coming back for more.
Guay Teow (Noodle Soup)
Guay teow is arguably one of the most popular Thai dishes and can be found almost everywhere. Guay teow describes any type of noodle soup. It can be made with chicken, pork, or beef (rarely vegetarian-friendly) as well as either rice noodles or egg noodles. Most of the time, vendors also add wontons or meatballs to the broth. The dish is best topped with a selection of condiments including, sugar, dried chilli peppers, lime juice, and fish sauce. Guay teow can be eaten at any time of day and is particularly good as a late-night snack.
Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
This iconic bowl of steaming goodness is bold, aromatic and comes with a fairly strong spicy kick. Tom yum goong is created with quintessential Thai ingredients like lemongrass, chilli, galangal, kaffier lime leaves, shallots, fresh lime juice and plenty of fish sauce. Fresh prawns and mushrooms are added and coconut cream if you want the creamy version.
Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)
Tom kha gai is related to tom yum and offers people with a lower tolerance to spice the opportunity to have a taste of beautiful Thai flavours. Besides the spice scale, Tom kha gai is also unique in that it typically comes with lots of creamy coconut milk creating a rich sweet soup. Like most Thai foods, vegetarian options are easily adaptable by substituting a few ingredients.
Som Tam (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)
Som tam hails from Isaan in Northeastern Thailand and is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand. Som tam comes in a variety of styles, however, the classic som tam consists of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, carrots, peanuts, dried shrimp, runner beans, palm sugar, tamarind pulp, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and plenty of chillies. The ingredients are mixed together using a mortar and pestle, which amplifies the flavours into a super moreish dish.
Yam Pla Dook Foo (Fried Catfish with Green Mango Salad)
‘Fluffy’ and ‘crispy’ might be the best words to describe this dish. Catfish is fried in teeny tiny pieces (read “blown up”) creating an airy, fluffy and scrumptious fish salad. The secret to this dish is the pairing of the crispy fish with sweet, sour and spicy green mango salad. This dish is one of the best foods in Thai that is enjoyed as an appetizer with a group of friends or as a beer snack.
Yam Talay (Spicy Seafood Salad)
This mixed seafood salad is not only delicious but is also a healthy meal option. Depending on where you are, this salad can have any combination of squid, shrimp, mussels, scallops or crabmeat in it. Added to the seafood medley are tomatoes, onions and rice glass noodles for good measure.
Laab (Spicy Salad)
Laab is a northeastern-style salad with meat or mushroom and mint which originates in the northeastern province of Isan. Laab comes in a variety of styles including chicken, pork, and mushroom. It is not recommended for those who can’t handle spice as it tends to come with a hefty kick.
Pad Phuk Tong (Stir-Fried Pumpkin)
Stir-fried pumpkin or “pad phuk tong” is one of the best vegetarian-friendly dishes in the Land of Smiles. While it is more difficult to find than a good helping of Pad Thai, you should definitely be on the lookout for this dish. Order it with a plate of brown rice if available and you’ll be laughing.
Pad Thai (Thai Style Fried Noodles)
Pad Thai is one of Thailand national dishes and is a go-to for tourists who are starting out their Thai cuisine exploration. Pad Thai is a fried noodle dish which is usually made with shrimp or chicken, however, the vegetarian option is popular too. Pad Thai is available on almost every corner that serves street food and is a cheap and tasty meal.
Pad See Eiw (Thick Noodle Dish)
This dish consists of wide rice noodles which are stir-fried in thick dark soy sauce with chicken, pork, or beef as well as either Chinese broccoli or cabbage. A flavourful but safe choice, it’s an excellent option for those who can’t handle spicier Thai dishes but want to branch out from Pad Thai Foodies who like a little more kick can add dried chilli flakes, vinegar, or both.
Pad Krapow (Fried Basil)
Pad krapao usually is made using minced pork or chicken (it’s also great with tofu) which is stir-fried with Thai basil and plenty of chillies. Pad krapow is definitely not a dish for picky eaters: The Thai basil has a very sharp, peppery flavour, while the chillies add a hefty dose of spice. You can always take the heat down a notch by asking the vendor to make it “pet nit noi” (only a little spicy). The dish served with white rice and topped with an oozing running friend egg “kai dao” which blends through the rest of the dish for an unforgettable taste sensation.
Kao Niew Ma Muang (Mango and Sticky Rice)
Looking for dessert? Look no further than the all-time crowd pleaser of mango and sticky rice. Kao niew ma muang is simple but extremely delicious, made with sticky rice, fresh mango slices, and lashings of sweet condensed milk.
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