Whenever we think about the popular Thai food selections, what usually comes to mind are the local dishes like Som Tam (ส้มตำ), Pad Thai (ผัดไทย), Mango Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง), Khao Man Gai (ข้าวมันไก่), and green curry dishes (แกงเขียวหวาน). However, there are so many more mouthwatering dishes in Thai cuisine that you surely have to try out at least once during your travel. Let’s get to know more about these in today’s post.
If you have ever been to Thailand or have constantly been daydreaming of visiting the place, perhaps you have heard of its cuisine with unique flavors and textures. Perpahs, you have even tried the popular brands from this country like the Lotus of Siam for a taste of Northern Thailand specialties or Hawker Fare. And of course, for our Netflix buddies out there… we bet that you have also been searching the streets of Bangkok with the hopes of spotting the Michelin Star restaurant of Jay Fai, right?
If you are, then this post is for you! We will walk you through the details of what makes an authentic Thai dish and give you a list of food items available in the country. If you are up for that, then off we go!
What Makes “Thai Dish” Unique?
Thailand is a country known for its impressive agriculture with lots of farming spaces, making them one of the major exporters in the world. Given that they are located in Asia, the Thais share the same love for rice, so there is no surprise that this crop is considered the most important of it all. The farmers from here also plant high-quality fruits and vegetables, which is the main reason why most of the recipes include these.
Thai cuisine is an excellent choice for health-conscious people as the traditional dishes are healthier as compared to what other countries offer. Rarely would you see street food or restaurants serving any food made of pure preservatives! In fact, even the local drinks are all very healthy and made of fresh fruits! How cool is that?
Aside from the freshness of the food, we need to note that the people here make use of rich spices to make contrasting flavors. Just take the case of Som Tam, which tastes sweet, spicy, and citrusy all at the same time! The same is true for the green curry, which is spicy and sweet at the same time due to the use of kaffir and lime.
Popular Thai Food Every Tourist Should Try Out!
Let’s get your tastebuds ready for an extreme adventure as we describe here the 10 most popular Thai food today!
ต้มยำกุ้ง – Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Prawn Soup)
The Tom Yum Goong soup is a classic and is one of the healthiest dishes in the country. What makes it interesting is its unique spicy and citrusy taste since it is loaded with a refreshing blend of herbs and spices such as chili, shallots, fish sauce, lime juice, mushrooms, cilantro, fresh galangal, and lemongrass. To make things extra addicting, it also adds in lots of prawns and different seafood!
ผัดผักบุ้งไฟแดง – Pad Pak Boong Fai Dang (Stir-fried Morning Glory)
Usually served in restaurants as a side dish, this popular stir-fried vegetable dish is truly satisfying with its distinct spicy/sour taste and crunchiness. It is made of water spinach, bean sprouts, chilies, garlic, soybean paste, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and some pork or veggie stock. It is perfect to be served with rice and some grilled meat and fried egg.
ข้าวผัด – Khao Pad (Thai-style fried rice)
This is somewhat the same with the Chinese cuisine Chao Fan of the Chinese cuisine, but this one is a lot tastier and healthier since it includes herbs and raw vegetables. To cook this, you simply need to throw in Thai basil, fresh lime juice, chili, sugar, spring onion, eggs, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and some chicken pieces.
แกงกะทิ – Gaeng Ka-ti (Thai curry)
As you have noticed, the locals here have different variations for the simple Thai curry, so you should not miss it out. As compared to the green curry, this one is infused with creamy coconut milk, red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, fish sauce, galangal, chili peppers, and basil. This is usually served with some pieces of toasted bread or steamed rice along with some meat toppers.
ส้มตำ – Som Tum (Spicy green papaya salad)
For vegetarians or people looking after their weight, the Som Tum is a Thai dish you should try out due to its health benefits. It originated in Northern Thailand and practically uses fresh ingredients such as green papaya, tomatoes, dried shrimp, lime, peanuts, and palm sugar. This is perfect to be served with sticky jasmine rice and some chicken/pork pieces.
ต้มข่าไก่ – Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)
Out of all the famous Thai dishes, this one is a classic favorite that will remind Westerners of the traditional chicken soup. What makes this comforting dish truly satisfying is that it is made of coconut milk, fresh ginger, sugar, chili paste, Thai basil, chicken, cilantro, and fish sauce. It is perfect for eating with some Thai rice and grilled meat.
ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเหนือ – Kuay Teow Neua (Beef noodle soup)
This Thai noodle dish is a hit among the locals to the point that you can see this being peddled in the streets. It is made of intestines, beef, rice noodles, celery, chili, and some meat. It is perfect with some rice and Moo Ping (grilled skewers).
ข้าวคลุกกะปิ – Khao Klukh Krapi (Thai rice with Shrimp Paste)
This traditional stir fry dish is made of shrimp paste, garlic, prawns, and cucumbers and is traditionally cooked using an authentic Thai wok. It is perfect to be served with some Gai Yang, pickled mustard greens, fish, or grilled marinated chicken with dipping sauce for a truly satisfying taste.
แกงมัสมั่นไก่ – Gaeng Massaman Kai (Chicken curry)
This type of spicy curry is inspired by Thai and Indian cuisine and is known for its distinct taste guaranteed to satisfy your tastebuds. It can also be cooked with some vegetables such as carrots, green beans, peas, corn, zucchini, Chinese broccoli, or bamboo shoots.
ผัดซีอิ๊ว – Pad see ew (Stir fried noodles)
While the famous Pad Thai is nutty, sweet, and spicy, the Pad See Ew is salty and leaves a chargrilled aftertaste. Its sauce alone uses different flavors such as sugar, vinegar, oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce and is thrown on the pot with some eggs, chicken chunks, broccoli, and rice noodles.
Ready to Learn More About The Thai Language, Culture, and Cuisine?
Now that we know that Thai-style food is truly satisfying, we are sure that you cannot wait to visit the country and try these out yourself! However, before you book your ticket and get on a flight, we highly recommend that you try out focusing on the Thai language first so that you can navigate the streets of Bangkok like a total pro.
Our advice? Download the Ling App by Simya Solutions for free today and discover 60+ foreign languages that you can learn from the platform alone. This language learning application adds to the concept of gamification, which is why we bet that you’ll get motivated and you’d be able to master Thai in no time. Download it today!