Top 20 Most Popular Thai Dishes (With Photos)

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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!

Most Popular Thai Dishes

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 palm sugar, unripe papaya, 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 like laksa 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 lemon grass, tomato, mushroom, 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)

Photo by Alpha via Flickr

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. The dish 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.

See Also: Most Popular Ethnic Foods in The World

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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19. Jook

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.

Conclusion

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.