There are so many reasons to visit Thailand and high up on the list has to be the food. The best Thai dishes are a combination of spicy, sweet, hot, herby – and always delicious. Thai food is so varied and you can find so many great examples of good food in Thailand that you will never be short of something tasty to try.
You can eat Western food in Thailand but why would you want to when there is genuine Thai food for every taste, available everywhere from the cheapest restaurants in Bangkok to the most upmarket places in Koh Samui. It can be a little overwhelming when you check out a Thai menu for the first time, so to make it easier here are a few ideas for the dishes you just have to try when you are visiting Thailand.
Eat These Best Thai Dishes
1) Pad Thai
If there is one Thai dish you will always find on the menu, it’s pad Thai. Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish but it is so much more than that. Pad Thai may be served with chicken or seafood, or just with veggies. You get peanuts and hot sauce if you want on the top, although without additional seasoning the pad Thai dish is not really spicy. It is popularly served on the street from small stalls.
Thai minced chicken salad comes from the northeast of the country and it is a delicious concoction of minced chicken with lime juice, herbs, fish sauce, and rice powder. You can eat this with sticky rice for the ultimate in comfort food.
3) Tom Yum Goong
This amazing Thai soup is packed with ingredients and flavors, from shrimp to lemongrass. It is often known as hot and sour soup and this dish is, predictably, a little spicy and pungent. Don’t forget to ask for a less spicy dish or a milder soup if you are not a fan of spice, but you will find that the heat of the soup really intensifies the lovely flavors.
4) Phat Kaphrao
This is a delicious stir-fried chicken dish that comes with holy basil inside and some lovely flavors from garlic and fresh chili. It is often topped with a fresh fried egg for added flavor.
5) Som Tam
This dish could be called, in English, green papaya salad. It is a great example of a street food dish that mixes together all the flavor sensations – sour, salty, savory, hot, and sweet. It is always tasty wherever you get it from, and comes with a satisfying sweet kick.
6) Kai Yang
The grilled chicken in this Thai dish is marinated in fish sauce and a blend of tasty additions like garlic and coriander root, making it anything but bland. This is one of the best dishes to combine with a green papaya salad and some lovely sticky rice. Bliss!
7) Gai Med Ma Moung
This dish is fried chicken with cashew nuts and it may often be spicy. It is served with vegetables and you can also eat it with a good helping of white rice for a filling meal.
8) Geng Kheaw Wan Gai
Thai green chicken curry is one of the most well-known staples of Thai cuisine and it is really one of the dishes you must try when you are in Thailand. Be aware that this is often a spicy dish, so ask for a milder version if you like. The curry is made from fried chicken in a green curry paste, with added coconut milk and vegetables.
9) Spring Rolls
For tasty, hot convenience food you cannot get any better than spring rolls. These are found all over the place from street stalls to posh restaurants. Spring rolls are fresh and really delicious. They are perfect paired with a spicy dipping sauce or you can eat them on their own.
10) Kao Phad
The typical fried rice dish is tasty, cheap, and filling. It is normally rice with an additional protein like chicken or shrimp, and may even be served with crab or beef. You get a tasty and bountiful meal full of egg and garlic, with added vegetables.
11) Massaman Curry
This is a traditional dish that comes from Muslim settlers in Thailand and it is not quite as spicy as the traditional Thai versions of curry. There are so many rich and lovely flavors in this curry, and it is a truly filling dish. Definitely something you should be trying as soon as possible.
12) Mango Sticky Rice
Sticky rice is a delicious meal in itself and the mango version combines sticky rice with succulent mangoes, and some delicious coconut cream syrup. The sweetness of the dish is not for everyone but it is very filling and lovely.
Check out more about Thai food and restaurants, plus the best Thai dishes to try, at PhuketOn. The PhuketOn blog is your destination for top Asian travel tips.