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If you’re a tourist in Thailand and looking for a place to enjoy delicious cuisine(s) with loved ones or alone, I’m sure you’ll like Thai dishes. In this article, we will reveal some of the most popular Thai dishes you can try in the country!
Located in southeast Asia, Thailand is famous for its delicious cuisines. They have one of the world’s most flavorsome, fragrant, and exciting cuisines.
Thai cuisine is famous for five flavors from starters to dessert: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy. Thailand has a unique way of making dishes, leaving you satisfied and craving for more.
Now, let’s look at the most popular dishes Thailand you can enjoy!
1. Som Tum
With no doubt that this dish is one of the most popular cuisines in Thailand. It is also known as green papaya salad. This dish is so iconic in Thai cuisines we think it is served at every single Thai restaurant and even outside Thailand.
The term SOM means SOUR, while TUM means to POUND in the mortar. The whole salad is prepared using mortar and pestle.
It is prepared with unripe papaya, palm sugar, dried shrimp, roasted peanut, tomatoes, long beans, lime, tamarind juice, garlic, chilies, fish sauce, etc.
This dish is believed by food historians to be originated in Thailand’s northeast neighbor of Laos.
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2. Pad Thai (Stir-Fried Noodles)
Pad Thai is a well-loved stir-fried noodles dish served in every establishment from the street to restaurants in Thailand. It is not the quickest food to prepare as a lot of preparations must be made.
It is not a spicy food; its classic ingredient is flat noodles, soaked before use. Garlic, shallot, palm sugar, tamarind paste, and fish sauce are used to make the sauce for the pad Thai whereas Shrimp, egg, chives, and tofu are other ingredients that make up this dish.
This dish was born, ironically, from Chinese origins.
3. Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)
This is a famous soup in Thai cuisine and is one of Thailand’s iconic dishes; the soup gives off a spicy, sour taste to your tastebuds. Goong here means shrimp. TOM means to boil, and YUM means salad soup.
This soup has a unique flavor of hot and sour taste; it calls for tomato, mushroom, lemon grass, galangal, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, onion, and shrimp stock as other ingredients to make up this beautiful dish.
The exotic taste of Tom yum perfectly encapsulates the taste of Thailand. It is widely believed that it is a Thai soup that originated in central Thailand, where there is an abundance of fresh shrimp in the Chao Phraya River.
4. Khao Pad (Fried Rice)
This is simple, cheap food. It is served with shrimps. The dish is found everywhere in Thailand, in restaurants and street vendors.
Thai fried rice can be cooked with chicken, pork, beef, vegetable, or tofu together with onion, garlic, egg, fresh sauce, and tomatoes, and it is best eaten with rice with a squeeze of lime and some chili flakes. Yum!
5. Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Soup and Chicken)
This is a Thai dish rich in coconut and galangal root made with earthy Asian mushrooms and tender chicken breasts. It contains lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, giving it a sour taste.
This soup is excellent for people who do not like too much spice; it is best eaten with rice or rice noodles. This is Thailand’s delicious national dish from the north, bearing the influence of neighboring Laos.
6. Pad Kra Poa Moo (Minced Pork Stir-Fried from Chilli and Thai Basil)
This is an outstanding dish eaten almost daily by lots of people. It consists of stir-fried minced pork with chilies, garlic, onion, green beans, and Thai basil.
This dish is a delicious and spicy dish found in every restaurant in Thailand and at most street vendors’ spots. It is recommended to add a fried egg to balance the spice. The origin of pad Kra pow can be traced back more than 40 years.
It is considered fast food in Thailand because it is quick and easy to prepare.
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7. Moo Satay (Pork Satay)
This is actually a classic Asian snack it is found in southeast Asia. It is a lump of barbequed meat marinated in turmeric and coconut milk; tourists, foreigners, and locals love this dish.
The types of meat used vary in restaurants, such as pork or chicken, depending on the restaurant.
This dish was believed to have originated from Indonesia, but it was carried to surrounding countries, including Thailand.
8. Khao Niew Mamuang (Mango and Sticky Rice)
This simple traditional Thai dessert is served with fresh mango, sticky rice, coconut milk, and palm sugar. This dessert is loved by the locals, and it is very cheap during mango seasons.
Mango sticky rice is a typical dessert of the Lao people of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, where glutinous rice has been cultivated over the history of food and myth.
9. Geang Deang (Red Curry)
Red curry is a colorful, spicy, and delicious curry of Thai people. It contains shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, lemon, and galangal.
Red curry uses red curry paste, which gives it a distinctive, vibrant red color and is heavily spiced with red chilies. It is made with coconut milk for creamy balance and is best served with rice or bread.
10. Laab (Spicy Salad)
Laos’s national dish consists of a hot, salty, and spicy combination of flavors. This dish is similar to Som Tum, a type of Lao meat salad made from minced meat, mushroom, mint leaves, coriander, shallot, lime juice, fish sauce, and natural chilies.
This dish is accompanied by raw vegetables as the side of the dish to help reduce the spice. This dish is said to have originated in Laos.
11. Khoa Soi (Thai Coconut Curry Noddle Soup)
Noodle soup is typical street food in Thailand. It can be eaten as lunch or dinner.
This cuisine is known for its mild spicy, fragrant curry broth with heavy coconut milk-based soft egg noodles and chicken or tofu topped with deep-fried crispy egg noodles, vegetables, and shallot.
Khoa soi is rich, creamy, slightly spicy, crispy, and sweet in one mouthful.
12. Massaman Curry (Chicken Massaman and Potato)
Muslims from Malaysia influenced this dish, and it was influenced in the 17th century.
This dish is a rich traditional Thai chicken dish associated with the memories of many Thai people. When sipping a spoonful of broth, you will find a typical flavor of cumin, cloves, and cinnamon.
Other ingredients, including coconut milk, potato, and chicken, produce a perfect dish.
13. Yam Talay (Spicy Seafood Salad)
Yam Talay is a mixed seafood salad. This is the type of dish that tourists will like to eat when traveling to the temple. It is an exceptional and healthy dish with a lot of nutritional value for the body.
Little pieces of seafood appear in the dish, such as squid, shrimps, crabmeat, and mussels. Other ingredients include onion, rice noodles, and tomato to add flavors to the dish. The place of origin of Yam Talay is Thailand.
14. Yam Pla Dook Foo (Catfish and Green Mango Salad)
This cuisine is crunchy and fluffy as well. It’s a perfect combination of the fluffy fried catfish and crunchy green mango salad.
This fried fish and green mango salad are eaten simultaneously, bringing an outburst of flavor to your pallet. This food is considered common among the Essan people. The dish is usually served with rice.
15. Yum Nua (Beef Salad)
Yum Nua is an adaptable Thai salad majorly with beef, aromatics, and plenty of herbs and lime juice. It is characterized by its sweet and spicy flavor it has. This dish always appears on the kalaya menus.
The beef is mixed with different ingredients to provide taste to the meal, but a little bit of salty and sour taste from the fish and lime contributes to the salad recipe.
16. Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts
In Thai, stir-fried chicken with cashew nut is called Kai pad med ma Muang. It is basically stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. It contains soy sauce, pepper, onion, chilies, honey, and a variety of vegetables chopped into this dish, such as carrot and pepper.
It is hardly spicy and suitable for children who may not handle the spicy flavor. This dish was spotted in south-east Asia, including Thailand.
17. Green Curry Chicken
They are known as Guaeng Keow Wan Kai in Thai. It gets its unique green color from green chilies.
This dish contains coconut milk, eggplant, bamboo shoots, galangal, lemon grass, coriander, and stew basil. It pairs well with flatbread or rice and is originally invented in Thailand.
18. Thai Pineapple Rice
This combination of freshly chopped pineapple and hot Thai spicy flavor. It is commonly served in a pineapple in Thailand and is an excellent mix of sweet and savory with a hint of spicy to liven up fresh shrimp side dish.
This dish is believed to have originated from Chinese people living in Thailand.
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Jook is a healthy rice porridge eaten in Asian countries consumed in Bangkok for breakfast. This dish is basically broth added with chopped pork, cilantro, fried garlic, ginger and lemon, and chives.
It is served in a bowl because it is mainly broth. It can be eaten plain, typically served with side dishes.
20. Gai Yang
It is a grilled or barbecued marinated chicken with a sauce, sticky rice, and green papaya salad at the side for better consumption of gai yang. This dish has an origin in the Lao people of northeastern Thailand.
Thailand is a country known for its exquisite cuisine. Thai cuisines have made a mark for themselves, making foreigners (tourists) from far and wide and locals want more; you will experience the five major flavors which is the sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy.
These popular dishes will help you pick a dish you may want to try as a foreigner or local.
Note: Most of their dishes are vegetarian because it is difficult to get meat or seafood, and they also value their animals more than being slaughtered.
And we hope this article has helped you know the most popular dishes out there.
Can you name any popular Thai foods? ›
One also commonly gets to see the use of minced or sliced meat in the dishes. Some of the popular Thai dishes include Thai curries, Som Tam Salad, Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai noodles, Satay, among others.What is America's favorite Thai food? ›
The most popular Thai dishes in America are Pad Thai, Tom Kha Khai, and Thai Fried Rice. Not only do these dishes taste divine but also provide a warm and homely feeling. Various types of Thai curry are also loved in the US, allowing you to eat a new dish every day of the week.What is the best Thai dish for beginners? ›
The best Thai food recommendation for new Thai food eaters is fat or thick noodles and curry. Choose a salad, some vegetable dishes and rice. If this is your first time eating Thai, get a simple Thai curry sauce, maybe yellow for starters and make sure there is a coconut base, whatever you choose.What is a typical Thai dinner? ›
When eating out, or making a meal at home, a group of Thai diners would eat a variety of meat and/or fish dishes, plus vegetables, a noodle dish, and possibly soup. Everything is shared, except the soup each person might order, or each person gets a personal bowl to get a serving of the soup.What is a popular Thai street food? ›
Guay teow, or noodle soup, is the most popular street food dish in Thailand. You'll find big bubbling pots in Bangkok street food markets and across the country, with vendors ready to dish up a hot bowl of noodles, meat and broth.What do Thai people eat for dinner? ›
Examples of dinner dishes are: curry dishes, dry curry dishes such as Phanaeng, steamed crab (Pu Neung), deep fried fish (Pla Thod), roasted sliced squid (Pla Meuk Yang), fried rice (Khao Pad), Tom Yum soups, etc. After the meal, Thais like desserts. There are so many kinds of dessert in Thailand.What are three Thai dishes that tourists must try? ›
- Massaman Curry. No one has yet to pin down where exactly this rustic curry dish came from. ...
- Pad Kra Prao. ...
- Kao Ka Moo. ...
- Khao Soi. ...
- Yam Nua (Beef Salad) ...
- Pad Woon Sen (Stir-fried Glass Noodles) ...
- Kway Teow (noodle soup) ...
- Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn (seafood coconut curry)
- Ice Cream.
- Chicken Tenders.
- Soft Drinks/Soda.
- Oreo Cookies.
- French Fries.
- Hot Dogs.
Traditional Thai cuisine loosely falls into four categories: tom (boiled dishes), yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), and kaeng (curries). Deep-frying, stir-frying and steaming are methods introduced from Chinese cuisine.What do Thai people eat daily? ›
Most Thai meals consist or rice or noodles eaten with grilled fish, and fresh vegetables, which are sometimes grown around the house, and to a lesser extent chicken and pork, flavored with “nam pla” (a salty fish sauce), “nam phrik” (shrimp paste dip), lemon grass, pungent shrimp paste, coconut milk or “cham pla” (a ...
What is the most famous Thai dish for the foreigner? ›
The fried noodle dish pad thai is known the world over and is more often than not the first Thai meal foreigners will sample, both at home and when they visit Thailand, where it is a staple of Bangkok's colorful street food scene.What is the most popular Thai noodle dish? ›
Pad Thai is one of Thailand's most popular and well known dishes. It's made by pan frying thin flat rice noodles with a unique sweet and sour sauce flavored with tamarind, lime, sugar, and other seasonings, along with shrimp, egg, tofu, peanuts, bean sprouts, and a wide variety of other possible ingredients.What is the most famous ingredient in Thai cooking? ›
There are many herbs used in Thai dishes, but the most common and popular and important to have on hand are cilantro and Thai basil, and you can't make respectable Thai food without them. These are Thai food ingredients that are impossible to live without.What is the main taste of Thai food? ›
Although sour, sweet, salty and spicy are by far the most common taste elements in Thai cuisine, it wouldn't be complete without including bitterness.What is a favorite appetizer in Thailand? ›
1. Thai Chicken Satay. There are few Thai food appetizers better than Chicken Satay with peanut sauce to start your meal off with. Chicken satay is a trendy street food in Thailand, and once you taste it, you'll see why. The chicken is marinated for at least 2 hours, skewered, then grilled to perfection!Which is the tastiest Thai curry? ›
1. Green Curry. This Green Curry is one of the best Thai curries if you like hot, spicy food. It's creamy, fiery, and delicious, deriving its heat from a generous amount of green chilies.What Thai food is good for picky eaters? ›
- Dish 1: Khao Pad (Fried Rice)
- Dish 2: Kaho Man Gai (Oiled Chicken Rice)
- Dish 3: Kai Jiao (Omelette)
Mango sticky rice is without any doubt one of the most popular desserts in Thailand. This dessert is something you have to try while you're holidaying in the beautiful country of Thailand. To prepare this dessert, chilled mangos are first sliced fresh and then they are put over steaming hot sticky rice.What is the most popular Thai salad? ›
Yum Naem Kao Tod (Rice and Sausage Salad)
Yum Naem Kao Tod is the most requested dish among Thai salads because it is served in restaurants outside Thailand but is considered street food in its native land. It composes of crispy fried rice bowls, fermented sausage, and a bunch of herbs.
Tom Yum soup is the most popular Thai soup. In Thai, “tom” translates into “boiled” and “yum” refers to the traditional sour, salty and spicy flavor found in lots of Thai dishes.
What not to eat in Thailand? ›
Food and drink to avoid in Thailand
Generally speaking, pork and shellfish are regarded as higher-risk meats in Thailand due to how they're prepared; pork often isn't cooked thoroughly (even when grilled), and shellfish is often eaten raw or not cooked thoroughly.
Aside from meals, Thais are renowned “snackers”. It is easy to pick up a quick but delicious snack for mere pennies along the roadside or at marketplaces in Thailand. Popular snacks consist of spring rolls, chicken or beef satay, raw vegetables with spicy dip, soups, salads, and sweets.
Pointing at another person with one's index finger or feet is considered rude. The soles of one's feet should never be pointed at another person. One should sit in a way that avoids this. Feet should also not be rested on tables or pillows that people sleep on.What is a must eat in Thailand? ›
35,000 people worldwide were polled by CNN Travel and the dishes they voted into the list were tom yum goong, pad thai, som tam, massaman curry, gaeng keow wan, khao pad, and mu nam tok.What is the #1 eaten food in the world? ›
Rice is a food staple for more than 3.5 billion people around the world, particularly in Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa.What is the number 1 most delicious food in the world? ›
Source Often called "the world's most delicious dish," Rendang is prepared by simmering beef with coconut milk with a mixture of the best of spices including turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, chillies, and galangal.
Pizza is the topmost liked food in the world. Today you can find pizza in almost every corner of the world. This traditional Italian dish is made of flattened round dough topped with cheese, and tomatoes, and additionally garnished with basil, olives, and oregano.What is the most common Thai curry? ›
Green curry is considered the most popular curry in Thai cuisine. The green color of Thai green curry sauce has become more vibrant over the years with the addition of fresh coriander (cilantro), makrut lime leaf and peel, and basil.What is the main Thai dish? ›
Pad Thai is one of Thailand's most recognized dishes. Fistfuls of small, thin or wide noodles, along with crunchy beansprouts, onion, and egg are stir-fried in a searing hot wok. The dish is also flavored with condiments such as fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chilli, and palm sugar.What is the national Thai dish? ›
Thailand's national dish is fried rice noodles, also known as Pad Thai. This dish consists of fried rice noodles, which are refined with fresh vegetables, bean sprouts, egg and a sweet-spicy sauce. There are also different variations to choose from. With tofu, meat, fish or with Thai basil the dish is completed.
What is a typical Thai meal? ›
When eating out, or making a meal at home, a group of Thai diners would eat a variety of meat and/or fish dishes, plus vegetables, a noodle dish, and possibly soup. Everything is shared, except the soup each person might order, or each person gets a personal bowl to get a serving of the soup.Which Thai dish is very popular among foreigners? ›
The fried noodle dish pad thai is known the world over and is more often than not the first Thai meal foreigners will sample, both at home and when they visit Thailand, where it is a staple of Bangkok's colorful street food scene.What is the most popular Thai curry dish? ›
Panang beef is one of Thailand's most popular curry dishes. You'll know it from the distinct flavors of mace, cardamom, cumin, and coriander seed. It is delicious and creamy, not very spicy, and quite easy to make up for a quick and easy one dish meal with the steamed rice.What is a Thai noodle dish called? ›
Noodle dishes, or as the Thais call it, “guay tiew,” is always a popular option for locals when casually eating. Most noodle dishes are also something simple if you want to learn to cook Thai food.What do Thai people eat for lunch? ›
A typical Thai lunch is curried chicken or stir -fried vegetables with rice, noodles or soup. Dinner is generally eaten between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. It is the main meal of the day. It is generally an informal meal with meat or fish, rice and is similar to lunch except often more dishes are served.