There is no need to talk about the popularity of Thai food around the world. If you reached this page you probably already heard plenty about it, and hundred of blogs talk about it at length. The list of Thai dishes available is vast and I’m certainly not an authority in Thai cooking! But just like many of you, we really love eating local when we travel abroad. Food is about a third of the pleasure of any of our trips. So once again, faithful to my way of ‘Lazy Writing for Lazy Readers’, I listed here 10 Great Classic Thai Dishes you can try on your first trip to Thailand, just as a hint to start.
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 chili. It is spicy and sour and once you tried, you will never forget… Read more!
A big favourite fir most travellers visiting Thailand, but ironically not all that popular with Thai people! Often sold in night markets streets (where tourists hang) it’s a good introduction to Thai food as it is not spicy at all. Fried white noodles with prawns and omelet, often served with crunched peanuts, soya beans, lime, herbs and… a good spoonful of sugar!
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 chilies.
Another great popular soup using chicken, mushrooms, galangal, tomatoes and lemongrass cooked in coconut milk. And a bit of chili, but so little you might not even notice it, which make this dish great for people who like something exotic but not spicy.
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 very small round ones you might think are green peas. These are known to help lowering cholesterol level. Served with steamed rice.
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 chili. Often toped with a fried egg and served with steamed rice, it is cheap and tasty, but can come with a serious chili punch. Time to use your most useful phrase: “Mai pet” (not spicy please).
This is another great 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 really 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, often eaten with sticky rice of cold rice noodle (kanom jeen). Tastes fishy. Read more
There are so 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 strong. Pick the noodle you like, the meat you like, eat in a shop or by the road, you can find great Kuey Tiaow almost everywhere, day or night.
Not really Thai, chicken rice is a very popular meal and not spicy all unless you pick one of the spice brown sauce. Some shops are so popular, 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 good for diet!
This southern dish is great beef curry that really tastes like a stew and even uses potatoes, but is often eaten with steam rice. Good choice if you can’t take spicy! Note that it contains peanuts and cashew nuts (like many Thai dishes actually)