Over the past few years, Thailand has become a popular travel destination for globe trotters. Thai cuisine is significant in Thailand tourism, as it allures food connoisseurs with its aromatic spell.

In 2023, Thailand was awarded “Asia’s best culinary destination” by the World Culinary Awards. The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) claimed that Thailand is one of the world’s top 15 primary ingredient exporters.

From aromatic curries to mouthwatering best thai food, Thailand is a heaven for food enthusiasts. A Thailand trip is not just about exploring breathtaking landscapes and ancient temples; it’s also an opportunity to tantalize your taste buds with a plethora of delicious Thai street food recipes.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through the top 10 best Thai food you must try while visiting the Land of Smiles.

1. Pad Thai (Stir-fried Noodles)

Being a signature dish of Thailand, you can find this Thai food everywhere in the country, from mobile carts to upscale restaurants. Though this Thai cuisine varies regionally, the prime ingredients remain the same.

Thin rice noodles are stir-fried with a medley of Thai food ingredients, often including shrimp, tofu, egg, and bean sprouts.

The dish is seasoned with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, palm sugar, and chilli flakes, creating a delicate balance that awakens the taste buds with every bite.

Stir-fried Noodles

One of the best ways to enjoy Pad Thai in Thailand is by indulging in the bustling street food scene. Wander through vibrant markets, where skilled chefs whip up Pad Thai on sizzling works right before your eyes.

Pad Thai noodles are not just a meal but a culinary masterpiece embodying the spirit of Thailand’s food culture. With its captivating flavors, delightful textures, and rich history, Pad Thai stands as a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of Thai cuisine.

Price: One plate of Pad Thai noodles with chicken or tofu could be around $1.

Do Pad Thai noodles have maida?

Pad Thai noodles are 100% rice noodles. It contains 90 % rice flour and 10 % water.

2. Tom Yum Goong

Tom Yum Goong will certainly be on our list when discussing the best Thai cuisines.

This spicy, aromatic, sour soup comes with shrimp, vegetables, spices, and herbs. The soup base is a fragrant broth infused with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal (Thai ginger), and chilli peppers.

Tom Yum Goong - best Thai food dishes

Plump shrimp, mushrooms, and other Thai food ingredients add depth and complexity to the soup, making each spoonful a delightful dance of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory notes.

The soup is not only a beloved comfort food but also a symbol of Thai hospitality and the warmth of sharing a meal with loved ones. It’s commonly enjoyed as a hearty appetizer or a main course, often accompanied by fragrant jasmine rice.

Price: starts from $3

Is Tom Yum Goong healthy?

Tom Yum Goong can be considered a healthy dish thanks to its nutritious ingredients and health benefits. Tom Yum Goong is a traditional Thai soup made with a flavorful broth, herbs, spices, and vegetables and typically includes shrimp (Goong).

The inclusion of shrimp in Tom Yum Goong provides a good source of lean protein. Tom Yum Goong is generally low in calories, especially if you choose a clear broth or a broth that is light on coconut milk. This dish is ideal for those looking to manage their calorie intake.

3. Kaeng Luang (Yellow Curry)

Among the vibrant tapestry of Thai curries, Kaeng Luang, or Yellow Curry, stands out as a beacon of color and flavor. This aromatic and visually captivating dish is a testament to Thailand’s culinary ingenuity, offering a unique and delightful experience for the senses.

Kaeng Luang is a curry that draws its distinctive hue from turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice.

Beyond its visual appeal, Kaeng Luang boasts a complex flavor profile that balances spices’ warmth with coconut milk’s richness. The curry is typically prepared with vegetables, meat, or seafood, creating a harmonious blend of tastes and textures.

Kaeng Luang (Yellow Curry)

Lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and shallots combine to infuse the curry with a fragrant aroma that is both refreshing and comforting.

This dish is often enjoyed with steamed jasmine rice, the perfect canvas for soaking up the rich and flavorful curry.

4. Som Tum

Are you a vegetarian? Then you should try this zesty papaya salad (Som Tum) on your Thailand trip. Though it originated in Northern Thailand, this dish combines all four flavors sweet, sour, salty, and chilli.

The dish uses unripe or green papaya, which is shredded into thin strips. It provides a crisp and slightly firm texture that forms the base of the salad.

The salad is then enhanced with a medley of ingredients, including cherry tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and dried shrimp, adding a variety of flavors and textures that come together harmoniously.

Som Tum

The dressing for Som Tum is where the magic truly happens. Lime juice infuses the salad with a tangy zest, while the fish sauce and palm sugar contribute a savory sweetness that balances the flavors.

On your Thailand trip, you will encounter many local food markets and street vendors offering freshly prepared Som Tum and allowing you to witness the art of its creation.

Price: it could be around 77 cents to $1

5. Massaman Curry

This popular dish seamlessly weaves together Thai, Indian, and Middle Eastern elements to create a symphony of tastes that is both familiar and exotic.

Tender chunks of meat, often beef or chicken, are stewed to perfection in a velvety coconut milk-based sauce. The curry is then infused with an array of spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

Massaman Curry

Its unique balance of sweet and savory notes sets Massaman Curry apart. The addition of palm sugar imparts a gentle sweetness that complements the richness of the coconut milk, while tamarind paste adds a delicate tanginess.

Price: the price starts from $2

6. Khao Pad

Khao Pad has become a staple in Thai cuisine with its enticing aroma, flavorful ingredients, and cultural significance.

At the heart of Khao Pad lies perfectly cooked jasmine rice, stir-fried to golden perfection. What truly elevates this dish is the bunch of ingredients that accompany the rice. From succulent chunks of meat – such as chicken, pork, or shrimp – to crisp vegetables, scrambled eggs, and fragrant herbs, each element contributes to a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Khao Pad

The art of seasoning is a key component of Khao Pad’s allure. A combination of fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and aromatic spices infuses the rice and ingredients with a savory umami profile.

The garlic and Thai chillies add a hint of pungency and heat, while a squeeze of lime or a sprig of fresh herbs provides a burst of freshness that brightens the dish.

Price: the price starts from $1.5

7. Khao Niao Ma Muang or Mango Sticky Rice

Do you have cravings for sweets? Don’t forget to taste this Thai dessert on your trip.

Khao Niao Ma Muang, or Mango sticky rice, combines the irresistible sweetness of ripe mangoes with the rich creaminess of coconut-infused sticky rice.

The magic unfolds as the tender, glutinous rice is cooked to perfection and then bathed in coconut sauce, creating a heavenly blend of flavors and textures. Pairing the fragrant tropical fruit with delicate rice is nothing short of divine.

This Thai dessert is often associated with the season of abundance when mangoes are at their peak. It is a celebratory treat that reflects the rhythm of nature and the joys of communal gatherings.

Khao Niao Ma Muang or Mango Sticky Rice

The presentation of Khao Niao Ma Muang is a feast for the eyes and the palate. The vibrant golden hues of ripe mango slices contrast beautifully with the creamy white rice, creating an exquisite visual tableau that entices and delights.

Sprinklings of toasted sesame seeds or crispy mung beans provide an added crunch and a touch of elegance.

Price: the cost could be around $4

Is mango sticky rice good for you?

With its blend of succulent mangoes, creamy coconut milk, and glutinous rice, Mango sticky rice offers a delightful indulgence that celebrates Thai culinary tradition. While it may not be an everyday health food, it can be enjoyed as an occasional treat within a balanced diet.

8. Laab

Originating from the Northeastern Isaan region of Thailand, Laab is a dish that exudes authenticity and heritage. Traditionally, Laab is made using minced meat – often pork, chicken, or beef – that is cooked with an aromatic medley of fresh herbs and spices.

Laab

Fresh mint leaves, cilantro, scallions, and shallots contribute a refreshing zing, while the bold heat of chilli peppers adds a fiery kick. The dish is generously seasoned with fish sauce and lime juice, creating a captivating blend of tastes that dance on your taste buds.

Roasted rice powder, a signature ingredient, adds a unique textural element and imparts a subtle nutty aroma, elevating the dish to new heights of complexity.

Price: the cost of one plate Laab could be around $3.

9. Green Thai Curry

Green Curry, known as “Gaeng Keow Wan” in Thai, is a flavorful and aromatic concoction that captures the perfect harmony of sweet, spicy, savory, and creamy elements.

The curry is prepared by simmering succulent meat, often chicken or beef, in a fragrant blend of coconut milk, fresh green chillies, and an array of aromatic herbs and spices.

Green Thai Curry

One of the defining features of Green Curry is its customizable level of spiciness. From mild to fiery, this curry can be tailored to suit your personal preferences.

The green chillies provide a pleasant heat that complements the creaminess of the coconut milk, creating a dynamic interplay of flavors that keeps your taste buds engaged.

Price: it starts from $2.

10. Khao Phat

Khao Phat, also known as Thai Fried Rice, is a timeless dish that embodies the elegance of simplicity. Originating as a clever way to repurpose leftover rice, Khao Phat has evolved into a flavorful, comforting and delightful creation.

The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility – it can be customized with various proteins, vegetables, and seasonings, making each rendition a unique culinary experience.

Khao Phat

The dish is brought to life with a medley of ingredients contributing to its harmonious flavor profile. Tender morsels of meat – such as chicken, pork, shrimp, or crab – are sautéed with crisp vegetables, scrambled egg, and aromatic herbs.

The marriage of savory flavors with the subtle sweetness of the rice creates a satisfying balance that delights the palate.

Price: it starts from $1.

Conclusion

Apart from the above Thai cuisines, you can also try some other dishes like Yam Nua (Beef Salad), Kuay Teow Reua (Rice Boat Noodles), Kai Jeow (Thai Style Omelet), and Roti Gluay (Fried Banana Pancakes) on your trip.

A journey to Thailand is not only a feast for the eyes but also a delight for the senses. The country’s rich culinary culture entices many tourists to visit this tiny yet diverse country.

On your Thai trip, explore these top 10 Thai street foods to truly immerse yourself in the flavors that define this captivating nation. Your taste buds will thank you for the unforgettable culinary adventure!

FAQs

Is Thai food always spicy?

While it is true that many Thai dishes are known for their bold and vibrant use of spices and chillies, not all Thai cuisine is inherently spicy. While some dishes, such as Tom Yum soup or Green Curry, are intentionally spicier, plenty of milder options are available for those who may not have a high tolerance for heat.

Many Thai dishes can be customized to your preferred level of spiciness. Additionally, some dishes, like Pad Thai or Chicken with Cashew Nuts, are typically prepared with only moderate heat.

Why is Thailand famous for its food?

Thailand’s fame as a culinary destination is rooted in a combination of rich cultural heritage, diverse flavors, and a deep appreciation for food.

  • Flavor Diversity: Thai cuisine is celebrated for its harmonious balance of flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami – in a single dish. This intricate interplay of tastes creates a multi-dimensional experience that tantalizes the palate and leaves a lasting impression.
  • Fresh and Vibrant Ingredients: Thailand’s tropical climate provides a bounty of fresh ingredients, including aromatic herbs, spices, tropical fruits, vegetables, and an abundance of seafood.
  • Street Food Culture: Thailand’s bustling street food scene is a sensory delight. Streets and markets come alive with the sizzle of works, the fragrant aroma of grilling meats, and the vibrant colors of fresh.
  • Cultural Significance: Food is deeply woven into Thai culture, serving as a means of connection and expression. Shared meals are central to social gatherings, celebrations, and family occasions, fostering a sense of community and strengthening bonds.
  • Skilful Preparation: Thai chefs are known for their meticulous attention to detail and skilful techniques. From intricate vegetable carvings to the art of balancing flavors, the craftsmanship involved in Thai cooking is admired globally.

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