Thai food doesn’t need an introduction anymore. If you reached this page you probably already heard plenty about it, and a thousand blogs talk about it at length. The list of Thai dishes available in Thailand is incredibly vast, and I’m not an authority in Thai cooking, but just like you, we love eating local when we travel abroad.
Food accounts for 30 to 40 % of the pleasure of our trips. We listed here 10 Great Classic Thai Dishes you can try on your first trip to Thailand, just as a hint to start, but there are many many more
1. Tom Yam Goong
Certainly the best known Thai dish around the world, many knows about it, and about everybody loves it. Tom Yam is a hot soup coming in many versions, with prawns or mixed seafood, red or clear. Using many herbs such as lemongrass, galangal, kafir lime leaves, lime and lots of chillies. It is spicy and sour, and once you tried, you will never forget.
2. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a big favourite for most travellers visiting Thailand, but ironically not all that popular with Thai people! Often sold in night markets streets (where tourists hang) it’s an excellent introduction to Thai food as it is not spicy at all. Fried white noodles with prawns and omelette, often served with crunched peanuts, soybeans, lime, herbs and, a good spoonful of sugar! Read about the Pad Thai Shop in Karon
3. Khao Pad Kai (or Moo, Koong)
One of the most basic dished served almost anywhere in Thailand. You can order it with chicken (kai), porc (moo), or shrimps (Koong). It is served with few slices of cucumber and goes nicely with ‘plik nampla’ a strong fish sauce with small nasty chillies .
4. Tom Kha Kai (or Tom Kha Gai)
Another favourite soup using chicken, mushrooms, galangal, tomatoes and lemongrass cooked in coconut milk. And a bit of chilli, but so little you might not even notice it, which make this dish great for people who like something exotic but not spicy.
5. Geng Kheaw Wan Gai (Green Curry)
Green curry with chicken is a traditional dish found in many restaurants and is just a little spicy (well, at least to us). It is cooked with two types of eggplants, some big round eggplant cut in quarters and some tiny round ones you might think are green peas. These are known to help lowering cholesterol level. Served with steamed rice.
6. Krapow Moo, Nua or Kai (Fried Pork Basil)
A very traditional dish you can also find easily anywhere. Made of pork (moo), chicken (kai) or beef (Nua) cooked with holy basil leaves and chilli. Often topped with a fried egg and served with steamed rice, it is cheap and tasty, but can come with a severe chilli punch. Time to use your most useful phrase: “Mai pet” (not spicy please).
7. Som Tam
Som Tam is another excellent Thai classic, and a must try, but it might be a little more daring! This grated green papaya salad is served from ‘spicy’ to ‘extremely spicy’ and is delicious. Som Tam Thai is the ‘normal version, but ‘Som Tam Poo Ma’ comes with pieces of raw black crab often served in seaside restaurants, usually eaten with sticky rice or cold rice noodle (kanom jeen).
8. Kuey Tiaow (Noodle Soup)
There are many variations around noodle soups in Thailand; it would take pages to describe half of them! There is a soup for every taste, from clear and light to dark and intense. Pick the noodle you like, the meat you want, eat in a shop or by the road, you can find great Kuey Tiaow almost everywhere, day or night.
9. Chicken Rice
Chicken rice is a very popular meal and not spicy all unless you add one of the brown sauces available. Some shops are famous for it, and they almost sell out in no time, so if you are a bit late, you might end up disappointed. It is served with specially prepared delicious rice and is not suitable for a diet!
10. Massaman Curry
This southern dish is an excellent beef curry that tastes like a stew, cooked with potatoes and served with steam rice. Good choice if you can’t take spicy! Note that it contains peanuts, and cashew nuts (like many Thai dishes actually)
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