Top 10 dishes to try in Thailand

  • By
    Austin Bush - Travel writer

There are plenty of reasons to visit Thailand, from glorious golden beaches to legendary parties beneath a full moon…and that’s before we mention the food.

Thailand

Thai cuisine is a celebration of the fresh and fragrant. Whatever your reason for visiting, the abundance of delicious flavours will make you want to extend your stay.

Don’t leave Thailand without tasting…

Pad thaiPhat Thai

Invented in the 1930s by a Chinese-Thai chef, this dish of thin rice noodles stir-fried with egg, tofu and shrimp, and seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, tamarind, vinegar and dried chilli has subsequently reigned as the poster boy for Thai cuisine.

Try making your own phat Thai 


Tom yam

This herb-forward broth is often referred to in English-language menus as 'sour Thai soup'. The shrimp version – tom yam kung – is the most lauded, and justifiably so: the combination of fatty prawns and a tart/spicy soup result in an unusual but delicious and distinctly Thai amalgam.

Try making your own tom yam 
 

Thai minced chicken saladLaap

Thailand’s northeast in one rustic dish; laap (also known as larb or larp) takes the form of minced meat seasoned with roasted rice powder, lime juice, fish sauce and fresh herbs. Be sure to eat it with sticky rice, short, fat grains of rice that are steamed and eaten by hand.

Try making your own laap-inspired dish 


Khao soi

When in Thailand’s north, don’t miss this unique, curry-based noodle soup. Typically revolving around chicken or beef, the optional sides of lime, sliced shallots and crunchy pickled greens provide a pleasing contrast with the rich, spice-laden, coconut milk-based broth and soft, squiggly wheat-and-egg noodles.
 

Som tam

Although its origins lie in Thailand’s rural northeast, this dish of strips of crunchy unripe papaya bruised in a mortar and pestle with tomato, long beans, chilli, lime and fish sauce, has found a foothold in virtually every corner of the country. Couple the dish with a basket of sticky rice for a light yet piquant Thai meal.


Stir fried chickenPhat kaphrao

This street food staple combines meat flash-fried with holy basil (the eponymous kaphrao) and a generous helping of fresh chilli and garlic. Served over rice and often crowned with a fried egg, it’s the epitome of the Thai-style one dish meal.

Try making your own phat kaphrao-inspired meal 


Green curry

For Thai food novices, there’s probably no better starting point than this intersection of a piquant/herbal spice paste and rich coconut milk. Remember to do as the Thais and couple the curry with a plate of jasmine rice – it’s not meant to be eaten on its own as a soup.

Try making your own green curry


Thai chicken and runner bean saladYam

As a side dish or drinking snack, you’re bound to encounter this ubiquitous Thai 'salad' that combines meat or seafood with a tart/spicy dressing and fresh herbs.  A good introduction to the genre is yam wun sen, slinky glass noodles paired with minced pork and shrimp.

Try making your own yam-inspired dish


Kai yang

Thai-style grilled chicken owes its fame to the people of the country’s northeast, who marinate the bird in a unique mixture of fish sauce, coriander root and garlic. Couple the bird with sticky rice and green papaya salad, and you have one of Thailand’s most legendary meals.


Fried riceKhao phat

For many Thai people, fried rice is comfort food. The variations are endless, and the dish is often the result of improvisation, but a staple at seafood restaurants across the country is the simple but delicious khao phat puu, rice fried with hearty chunks of crab and egg.

Try making your own Thai fried rice

Are you a fan of Thai cuisine? Do you agree with our selection or have we missed your favourite? Share your must-try dishes below…

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments

Show comments

We’d love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?

Be the first to comment on this recipe…

Questions

Tips