Thailand is popular for its delicious cuisine and for good reasons. Come and explore the flavors of the Land of Smiles by eating your way through our list of the best Thai dishes to eat in Thailand. You will be coming back for more, it is guaranteed!
Thailand cuisine attracts food lovers with its aroma. Its creamy and rich curries, fragrant sauces, flavorful snacks, and sinful sweets will bound you to go back to pamper your taste buds again and again. The key to cooking any Thai dish lies in how you balance the five important flavors, i.e. bitter, sweet, spicy, sour, and salty, which demands skills to master. Therefore, you will never find a Thai dish that is dull. It always brings the much-needed punch to your plate.
Thai cuisine consists of a wide variety of textures and flavors so vast that none of the two dishes are ever similar. Even everyone’s favorite dishes like Pad Thai is open to interpretation and differs in preparation across the various provinces in Thailand. Thailand’s four areas including Northern, Southern, Isaan or Northeastern, and Central- each possesses unique dialects, cultures, and cherished foods.
Thai food has been influenced by other Southeast Asian cuisines like Indian and Chinese, but it is still totally different from them. Initially, Thai dishes used to be a lot spicier than it is now, but with time, adding hot elements in the food were reduced and other taste enhancers like galangal and lemongrass were added to the cuisine. One can also find minced or sliced meat in Thai food. Some of the must-try Thai food include Som Tam Salad, Thai curries, Pad Thai noodles, Satay, Tom Yup soup, and many more.
Want to try making Thai cuisine at home? Here are some of the best Thai dishes to eat in Thailand.
Best Thai Dishes to Eat in Thailand
Chicken Satay- This is a classic and downright tasty Thai appetizer, generally served with a chunky peanut sauce. This tasty dish is sure to be loved by both children and adults. If you are a fan of chicken, then this will become one of your favorite dishes.
Guay Teow (Noodle soup)- This is arguably one of the best Thai dishes to eat in Thailand. This dish is found almost everywhere. Guay Teow defines any type of noodle soup. It can be made with beef, pork, or chicken as well as egg or rice noodles. Most of the time, vendors also add meatballs or wontons to the broth. This dish is best topped with a variety of condiments including dried chili peppers, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. You can eat Guay Teow at any time of the day and is good as a light-night snack.
Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)- Tom Kha Gai is associated with Tom Yum and offers people with a lower tolerance to spice the opportunity to taste the similar beautiful flavors. Apart from the spice scale, Tom Kha Gai comes with lots of creamy coconut milk which creates a sweet thick soup. Like most Thai foods, vegetarian choices are easily adaptable by replacing a few ingredients.
Som Tam (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)- Som Tam hails from Isaan in Northeastern Thailand and is one of the famous Thai food you must try when in Thailand. Som Tam comes in varieties of styles; however, the classic Som Tam contains shredded green papaya, carrots, tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts, runner beans, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, lime juice, garlic, and a lot of chilies. The ingredients are combined using a mortar and pestle, which strengthens the flavors into a super delicious dish.
Yam Talay (Spicy Seafood Salad)- The assorted seafood salad is not just tasty but is also a healthy meal option. Based on where you are, this salad can have a combination of shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels, and crabmeat in it. Added to the seafood mix are onions, tomatoes, and rice glass noodles for the correct measure.
Pad Thai (Thai Style Fried Noodles)- Pad Thai is the national dish of Thailand and is a go-to four tourists who want to explore Thai cuisine. Pad Thai is a fried noodle dish that is generally made with chicken or shrimp; however, the vegetarian option is also popular. You will find Pad Thai on almost every street corner and is an affordable and tasty meal.
Pak Boong (Morning Glory)- Pak boong (morning glory) is popular for being healthy. This spinach-like vegetable is usually fried and seasoned with soybean paste, garlic, chilies, and soy sauce. Morning glory is spicy, salty, sour, and crunchy. It can satisfy anyone’s taste buds. This dish is generally made with oyster sauce; however, it is easy to prepare the vegetarian option too.
Pad Krapow (Fried Basil)- Usually, this famous Thai food is prepared using minced chicken or pork which is stir-fried with Thai basil and a lot of chilies. Pad Krapow is not a dish meant for picky eaters: The Thai basil has a sharp, peppery flavor, whereas the chilies add a hefty dose of spices. You can always lessen the hotness by asking the vendor not to make it spicy. The dish is served with white rice and topped with “kai dao”, which combines through the rest of the cuisine for an unforgettable taste sensation.
Gaeng Keow Wan (Green Curry)- Deriving from Central Thailand, Green curry is the spiciest, with the right balance of sweet from coconut milk. Green curry is made from some of the most delicious ingredients, including ginger, fresh green chilies, eggplant, and ginger, and of course, lots of coconut milk. Eat with lots of steamed rice to make it less spicy.
Gai Tod (Fried chicken)- Fried chicken may not be a distinctively Thai dish, but it is quite popular in Thailand. Gai Tod is generally prepared by marinating chicken drumsticks or wings in a mixture of rice flour and spices before it is deep-fried. To add an extra flavor, the chicken is usually served with a spicy dipping sauce like “Nam Jim.” You can enjoy Gai Tod with sticky rice. This is a perfect on-the-go snack.
Kai Jeow (Thai Omelette)- Kai Jeow is one of the simplest Thai dishes but is a great protein-rich fast meal on the go or additional dish. Kai Jeow is generally served with rice and sweet chili sauce. Ask for “Kai Jewo Pak” if you would like to add some veggies to your Thai omelet. If you are new to Thailand and have not embraced “jok” for breakfast, then Kai Jeow can be the best way to start your day.
Khao Soi (Creamy coconut curry noodle soup)- Arguably the quintessential Northern Thai dish, Khao Soi is a coconut curry noodle soup inspired by the Burmese. Available in beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian options, this tasty dish has a rich base of coconut curry, boiled egg noodles, and is garnished with deep-fried crispy egg noodles, shallots, pickled mustard greens, ground chilies fried in oil, and lime. Khao Soi should be on every tourist’s “must try Thai food” list in Northern Thailand with Chiang Mai being regarded as the Khao Soi Mecca.
So, the next time you crave for Thai food, try these recipes and you will not be disappointed.