Food You Have To Try In Thailand
Thailand is one of the top foodie destination in the world. Thai food is renowned for having some complex flavours. Most people know that Thai food is generally spicy, but the key flavours that most Thai food has, is a fine balance between spicy, salty, sour and sweet. Most Thai dishes have at least 2 of these flavour components, some have all 4. The balance between these flavours is key to enjoying the food, and not just 1 flavour dominating the others.
There are thousands of different Thai dishes and every region of Thailand have their own specialities. So if you are visiting Thailand, here is my recommendations on the Thai food you have to try! These are in order of my favourites!
Khao Soi Noodle Soup
Khao Soi is a coconut noodle soup which comes from Northern Thailand. I only recently tried this tasty noodle soup on a recent visit to Chiang Mai. Once I tasted it, this skyrocketed to the top of my favourite foods to eat in Thailand. You don’t need to travel to Northern Thailand to try Khao Soi, as it has become a popular dish all over Thailand. If visiting Bangkok, you will find many restaurants serving this delicious noodle soup.
Khao Soi is generally not spicy, as in chilli hot. The soup broth is made with many different types of herbs and spices but chilli is not a main component. You can spice it up by adding chilllies but generally it is not a spicy hot soup, but packed full of complex flavours from ginger, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and other secrets herbs and spices, depending on the chef.
Pad Thai Noodles
Pad Thai is probably the most famous Thai dish around the world. This noodle dish is simple and complex all at the same time. Rice noodles stir fried with egg and bean sprouts and presented with a range of side foods which you mix in with the noodles. The side food is usually roasted peanuts, chopped garlic and onions, shallots, salt, sugar and chopped chillies. You can also add any meat protein, traditionally you add either Prawns or Chicken or you could have Pad Thai as a vegetarian dish with tofu.
Pad Thai Noodles is another dish that you can eat without the chillies if you do not like hot spicy food. Just ask for no chillies and this will be the perfect dish for anyone wanting to try Thai food but with avoiding the spiciness.
Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai is a coconut based soup found all over Thailand. Another deceptive dish that looks very simple but the soup broth is packed full of complex flavours. The broth is slow cooked with chopped onions, garlic, kafir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass. Added to the broth at the end is mushrooms, shallots, tofu and chicken.
There are no noodles in this soup, just the classic Thai Chicken Soup!
Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad
I have always loved Thai Beef Salad. Now this one is spicy! It is a salad with grilled beef inside. Before the beef is grilled, it is marinated with mix of lime juice, chillies, palm sugar. fish sauce (sour, spicy, sweet and salty). Some of the marinade is left over to pour over the salad of coriander, Thai basil, mint, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
So you get a fresh salad with very fragrant leaves and then the strong flavours of the marinade and then the nice strong flavours of the grilled beef which had been marinated for several hours to make the meat soft, tender and delicious.
Gai Tod Crispy Chicken Wings
Thailand has excellent fried chicken! You will find street carts all over Thailand selling fried chicken pieces but my favourite are the crispy chicken wings (Gai Tod). The chicken skin on these chicken wings are coated with a combination of salt, chilli oil to make the skin extra crispy and that combo of salty and spicy. The chicken meat is tender and juicy.
These Crispy chicken wings are the perfect snack to have with a nice cold Singha or Chang Beer!
Poh Pia Tod Spring Rolls
Now most countries throughout Asia have their own version of the classic spring roll and Thailand has it’s own version they call Poh Pia Tod. You can get Thai Spring rolls with meat, seafood or vegetarian.
With a nice crispy outer shell, and delicious filling inside the spring roll, this is a great snack or entree to start your meal.
Thai Chicken Satay
Satay is another food you will find all over South East Asia. This one is easy to remember as Satay is a Thai word. If you go to Indonesia or Malaysia they spell it Sate but same pronunciation.
Thai Chicken Satay is your classic meat on a stick, in this case chicken on a stick which has been grilled over hot charcoals. It has either been coasted in a spicy peanut sauce or it is served with the peanut sauce for you to dip your chicken on a stick into before consuming. Just delicious. This is classic street food you will find on the streets or night markets all over Thailand.
Pad See Ew – Thai Stir Fried Rice Noodles
Pad See Ew is another stir fried rice noodle dish which is very common all over Thailand, in restaurants and as a street food served from food carts. The noodles in Pad See Ew are flat rice noodles. This Thai dish is very similar to Char kway teow you will find in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern China but the Thai Pad See Ew will have the classic combination of Thai flavours.
The flat rice noodles in Pad See Ew is the main ingredient but you can have this with chicken, beef, pork, seafood or as a vegetarian dish with tofu.