5 Most Popular Local Foods In Thailand You Must Try

Foods in Thailand-ling-app-several Thai food

Thailand is a country well known for its unique and tasty cuisine. From spicy to sweet, there is a great variety of flavors and seasonings to be enjoyed. Much like Vietnamese food and Japanese food, Thai food is fresh tasting. Each dish contains a mixture of different textures too, making it a joy to eat. There is no shortage of foods in Thailand.

With so much to choose from, it can be difficult to decide what to eat. Here are some of the more well-known meals that you can find and enjoy. Prepare to give your taste buds a workout as we look at some of the most popular foods in Thailand. Along the way, you’ll also learn more vocabulary to help you learn the Thai language.


How Do You Say Food In Thai?

The Thai word for food is aahǎan อาหาร . On the other hand, if you want to say, I want to eat, it’s chǎn yàak kin ฉันอยากกิน .

Ready to dig in or just learn some Thai vocabulary? Let’s check out some of the popular foods in Thailand!

Foods in Thailand-ling-app-som tam

Som Tam – ส้มตำ

Sômtam (ส้มตำ), a spicy salad consisting of green (unripe) papaya and other vegetables, is a common sight throughout the country. Originally from Laos, you are likely not far from a cart preparing the dish wherever you are in Thailand.

The vegetables are shredded into thin strips and covered with a sauce of lime, palm sugar, and fish sauce. It is not for the faint of heart as it is typically mixed and served with crushed chilies in the sauce too. Some varieties include ingredients such as crab and peanuts.

Now is probably the best time to learn some Thai – particularly the phrase mây phèt (ไม่เผ็ด). This means ‘not spicy in Thai,’ which you can say as you order. More often than not, they will try to persuade you to try it phèt nítnɔ̀y (เผ็ดนิดหน่อย) or a little bit spicy. For a more authentic experience, you should at least try it with some heat.

You can pick from the varieties of Som Tam in the table below!

Som Tam Thaiส้มตำไทยsômtam thay
Som Tam with fermented fishส้มตำปลาร้าsômtam plaaráa
Som Tam with Thai rice noodleส้มตำซั่วsômtam sûa
Som Tam with salted crabส้มตำปูsômtam puu
Som Tam with salted crab and fermented fishส้มตำปูปลาร้าsômtam puu plaaráa
Foods in Thailand-ling-app-pad thai

Pad Thai – ผัดไท

Perhaps the most famous food in Thailand known worldwide, phàt thay (ผัดไทย), is a tasty fried noodle dish. Consisting of rice noodles, fried with egg, tofu, and a sauce of tamarind, fish sauce, garlic, and sugar. Together with a topping of peanuts, these ingredients represent some of the countries’ best produce. It can be served with pork, chicken, prawn, or other seafood.

Pad Thai is very much the national dish of Thailand. It is one of the popular foods in Thailand and can be found across the country in restaurants and as street food. Of course, it can also be found around the world in Thai restaurants. This is definitely worth a try if you are in the country and looking for something quick and tasty to eat. Or if you want to make Pad Thai using a recipe, go for it!

You can even try ordering Thai food on your own. But if you’re afraid to take the first step to talk, then it’s best to practice with a language learning app.

The Ling App has a fantastic range of words other than Thai food vocabulary that can be used in conversation. If you first take it easy and persist, you could be amazed at how rapidly your Thai will improve!

Most Thai learners chose the Ling App to help them succeed, so why not join them? Download the Ling App from the Google Play Store or App Store now, and prepare to be fluent in Thai soon!

We hope you enjoy Pad Thai, but many more excellent noodle dishes to try in Thailand are listed below!

Thai boat noodlesก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือkǔaytǐaw rʉa
Pad See-ew (stir-fried flat noodles)ผัดซีอิ้วphàt sii îu
Guay Jub (boiled Thai pasta in a soupก๋วยจั๊บkǔaycáp
Yentafo (pink Seafood flat noodles)เย็นตาโฟyen taa foo
Foods in Thailand-ling-app-khao-man-gai

Khao Man Gai – ข้าวมันไก่

This dish is Thailand’s take on Chinese-style Hainanese chicken. Khâawman kày (ข้าวมันไก่) includes boiled chicken (sometimes fried) with rice that has been cooked using the stock from cooking the chicken. This has been flavored with a number of different ingredients, such as ginger and garlic, which, together with the oils from the chicken, result in a fragrant taste.

Usually served alongside it are slices of cucumber, a soup made from chicken broth with radish, and sometimes coriander. The sauce is usually spicy, made from chilies, amongst other things. It is always interesting to see different twists on familiar dishes and how they differ from neighboring countries.

In addition to khâawman kày, the following lists feature many more easy-to-grab lunch options popular among Thai people.

Fried riceข้าวผัดkhâawphàt
Spicy stir-fried Thai basil with riceข้าวผัดกะเพราkhâawphàt kàphraw
Thai stew pork leg with riceข้าวขาหมูkhâaw khǎa mǔu
Thai red pork with riceข้าวหมูแดงkhâawmǔudɛɛŋ
Foods in Thailand-ling-app-green curry

Green Curry – แกงเขียวหวาน

Another mainstay on Thai menus internationally, green curry or kɛɛŋkhǐawwǎan (แกงเขียวหวาน) is a dish with origins in the central region of Thailand. The dish gets its greenness from the green chilies used to make it. It becomes a light green, creamy color with coconut milk. It also means it is particularly spicy while also being somewhat sweet.

The base used to make it includes chilies, garlic, shallots, and lemongrass, together with several other ingredients that are crushed in a mortar. Vegetables included can vary, and so too can the consistency. Finally, it is served with steamed rice or sometimes Thai rice noodles. 

Green curry is a famous Thai soup, but many more kinds of Thai-style curry are equally delicious and healthy. So, you should also taste these well-known soups listed below.

Tom Yam Goongต้มยำกุ้งtômyam kûŋ
Tom Kha Gaiต้มข่าไก่tômkhàa kày
Panang Gaiพะแนงไก่phánɛɛŋ kày
Massamun Gaiมัสมั่นไก่mátsamàn kày
Foods in Thailand-ling-app-mango sticky rice

Mango Sticky Rice – ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง

While this is more of a dessert dish, mango sticky rice or khâawnǐaw mámûaŋ (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) is worth a mention in any list of Thai food. It is a fresh and sweet option to eat as a snack or at the end of a meal. As the name implies, it is made up of two main parts: mango and sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice. Coconut milk is another major part.

It is most popular during the height of mango season when the fruit is most plentiful, the freshest, and at its tastiest. This is around the beginning of summer in April/May time. The sticky rice is steamed and sometimes mixed with other ingredients to give it different colors. The coconut milk provides some extra sweetness on top of the mango and rice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Foods In Thailand

What Are The Top Ten Thai Foods To Try?

Ready to discover the top ten Thai Foods? These foods (not in order) make Thailand a must-go place for fresh and delicious options.

  1. Tom Yum Goong
  2. Pad Thai
  3. Som Tam
  4. Gaeng Daeng
  5. Khao Niao Mamuang
  6. Khao Pad
  7. Khao Soi
  8. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai
  9. Pad Krapow Moo
  10. Laab

What Is The National Dish Of Thailand?

Pad Thai, or fried rice noodles, is the national dish of Thailand. It was promoted in the 1930s as a solution to the shortage of rice. Nowadays, many Thai restaurants have adopted many kinds of Pad Thai to suit the global palate and the various food industries in other countries.

What Makes Thai Food Unique?

Since Thai food consists of many flavors and spices, it also exhibits contrasting flavors. In a dish such as Som Tam, you can taste the sourness of the unripe papaya but also the spicy flavor of Thai ingredients. Many Thai foods have this feeling of fresh and spicy that makes both tourists and locals go back for more.

So Much More Thai Food To Explore

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Thai cuisine. There is such a wide variety of different foods in Thailand available. Even along just one street, you can find so many meals to try. As you move around the country, you will continue to find new and interesting things to try.

Thai cuisine is famous for a reason, and you should be sure to try out all you can. Be sure to embrace it with an open mind for the best experience. Be sure to practice your Thai speaking skills to be ready for your visit. Use the Ling App to get started and help you on your way.

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