Your trip to Thailand would be incomplete without tasting its world-renowned cuisine. In Thailand, food forms a central part of every occasion. This simply reinforces the importance of Thai food as a part of their culture.
Core Ingredients in Thai Cuisine
The essence of Thai food is all about striking the perfect balance. It is about finding a harmony between the sweet & the sour, the spicy & the tangy. Core ingredients like chilies, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, Thai basil, and coconut milk are common across most Thai food. The distinction comes in the way these ingredients tie-in together making every dish uniquely different.
One of the best ways to explore the Thai culture is to experience the extraordinary that is their cuisine. Here are 10 must try Thai food that one should not miss out while visiting Thailand:
1) Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai is one of the most famous Thai dishes. Made out of thick and creamy coconut milk, this Thai food is perfect for people who have a lower spice tolerance. Owing to its thickness, this soup is also consumed as a curry, paired with a plate of rice. This dish is widely available as a vegetarian option as well! While touring the best foodie town- Bangkok, Tom Kha Gai is a must-try Thai food at Nahm Restaurant, Thanying and Supatra River House.
2) Som Tam
One of the most consumed dishes in Thailand, Som Tam hails from Northeastern Thailand. This Green Papaya Salad strikes the right combination of spicy and salty. As with the flavor, the texture is an important aspect of this dish. Som tam’s main component is the shredded green papaya. The shredded papaya has flavors of garlic, peanuts, and chilies. They are then mixed together using a mortar and pestle to amplify the flavors! For the sea-food lovers, adding dried shrimp to this makes it a power-packed meal. You can find this must-try Thai food at almost every street vendor in Thailand!
3) Pad Krapow Gai
Pad Krapow Gai better known as Thai Basil Chicken, is one of the most beloved and popular dishes of all time. This Thai food uses not one, but 3 different types of basil, namely, the Thai sweet basil, the lemon basil and the Holy Basil. A classic, it is paired with fragrant jasmine rice and a fried egg. This is a wholesome meal with an explosion of flavors! If you’re in the locality, do not miss eating this dish at Forget Me Not, Ratcha Bar 32 and Gold Curry, in Bangkok. And have we mentioned? There are multiple vegan & vegetarian restaurants serving this amazing dish!
4) Khao Soi
Another fantastic Thai food from Northern Thailand, this noodle soup is inspired by the Burmese dish Khow swe. It has a rich and creamy coconut base and yellow curry gravy poured over soft eggs noodles, then topped with crispy fried noodles. This silky noodle dish is slightly spicy, sweet, and creamy. Available in chicken, pork, beef, and vegetarian options, this is a must-try Thai food in Chiang Mai. It is considered a haven for this dish!
5) Kai Jeow
There are plenty of Thai street food dishes that are appetizing. Amongst that Kai Jeow proves to be comfort food for many. Prepared in fish sauce, umami gives this Thai Style omelet a different taste. As with other dishes, this omelet can be prepared with pork and served with a plate of rice. Alternatively, it can be cooked with soy sauce and shallots. This must-try – Thai food takes less than 10 minutes to cook up and can be a perfect way to start your day!
6) Khao Man Gai
Khao Man Gai is a simple street food available with almost every street vendor. It is boiled chicken placed over fragrant rice, usually served with some slices of cucumber and dipping sauce. Do not be fooled by the simplicity of this dish. This delectable dipping sauce is made of yellow soybean paste, thick soy sauce, chili, ginger, garlic and vinegar, which packs a punch of flavors. Widely available in every market, this dish can be a quick grab en route to your destinations!
7) Guay Teow
Another flavorful Thai dish, Guay Teow is versatile in its preparation and goes well with chicken, pork, beef, and even veggies. Street vendors also add wontons to the broth to make it a wholesome meal. Based on one’s taste, garnishing flavor can vary from spicy to sour. This dish is best garnished with a selection of condiments including, sugar, dried chili peppers, lime juice, and fish sauce. This noodle soup can be had any time of the day making it a must-try Thai food!
8) Tom Yum
Tom Yum is a simple yet flavorful dish. This soup is made from lemongrass, kafir lime leaves, chilies, and protein (usually shrimp or prawns). But one can always do away with the meat to make it vegetarian. This dish is a prominent feature of even the most luxurious fine-dining restaurants in Thailand. And if you want a creamier version? Just add coconut cream!
9) Kao Niew Ma Muang
A traditional Thai dessert, Kao Niew Ma Muang is made with glutinous rice, fresh mangoes and coconut milk. Also known as ‘sticky rice and mango’, this is a crowd favorite and is unique to Thailand. Variations of this dish include using sweetened condensed milk or durian! The sticky coconut rice tastes like rice pudding while the mangoes provide a spunk of sweetness to it. Thong Lo in Bangkok has many cafés that are preferred by the locals to enjoy this must try Thai food.
10) Khanom Bueang
This yummy treat is an ancient Thai dessert, which is known as Thai Crepes. You can spot these finger-treats everywhere. These crêpes look like tacos. They are usually filled with meringue, followed by sweet or salty toppings such as shredded coconut, Foi Thong, or chopped scallions. If you also like to end your meals on a sweet note, you cannot go wrong with this dish. A Thai dessert that would make you crave for more!
Various Thai Dishes