Top 10 famous Thai food dishes that everyone should try while visiting Thailand, personally recommended by our Thai chef, are as follows:
1. Pad Thai (Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles)
Pad Thai is probably the most famous Thai food dish. Pad Thai – which means ‘Thai-style stir-fried noodles’ – might be a good dish to start with if you are just introducing yourself to Thai food. It has a good combination of classic ingredients – like egg, tofu, peanuts, and bean sprouts. The traditional taste is a bit funky (fish sauce & dried shrimp), sour (fresh tamarind paste and lime juice), sweet (palm sugar) and not really spicy, unless you will add too much chili which is usually served to you separately.
2. Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp)
Tom Yum is the most popular Thai soup, both inside and outside of Thailand. It is a clear, hot and sour soup flavored with fragrant lemon grass, galangal root, kaffir lime leaf, bird’s eye chilies, etc. There are hundreds of variations of Tom Yum depending on the main ingredient of the dish. Tom Yum is usually made with prawns (Tom Yum Goong), chicken (Tom Yum Gai), fish (Tom Yum Pla) or mixed seafood (Tom Yum Taleh) and mushrooms. The shrimp (Goong) version is regarded to be the most delicious by locals so as a first timer you should opt for it!
3. Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Galangal Chicken Soup)
Tom Kha Gai is another popular soup between Thais. The key is the “Kha” (galangal) for the herb, and the coconut milk. It is recommended for people who can’t eat spicy food because Tom Kha is much milder than Tom Yum.
4. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Thai Green Chicken Curry)
The most popular curry in Thailand is green curry. It is a curry made from herb and spice blend curry paste cooked with coconut milk. Green curry is not that spicy, it is rather sweet. Green curry is such a great dish, especially when served with steaming rice or kanomjeen noodle.
5. Som Tam (Thai Green Papaya Salad)
Som Tam is a spicy papaya salad from the North Eastern part of Thailand. The flavor of Som Tam combines well with the spice of red chili pepper, the saltiness of fish sauce, the sourness of lime or tamarind, plus the sweetness of palm sugar. It can be mixed with some crab, peanuts, dried shrimps, and rice noodles. In addition, the main ingredient can be used mangoes, cucumbers or other vegetables instead of green papaya. Thai people love to eat it with sticky rice. You should give a try to the most famous Thai salad and order “Som Tam Thai” from the vendors that can be found on almost every street corner of Bangkok.
6. Pad Kra Pao (Thai Basil Stir-Fry)
Pad Kra Pao is a very popular dish for local Thais. When people don’t know what to order, they just order Kra Pao! This dish is quick and delicious. "Pad" means "fried" and "Kra Pao" is Thai name of Holy basil that is one of the main ingredients. Pad Kra Pao can be cooked with chicken, pork, beef, seafood, tofu, or whatever you want. It is served with rice. You can order a fried egg (Khai Dao) on top too.
7. Khao Pad (Thai-Style Fried Rice)
Khao Pad is a favorite for all locals. In Thai, Khao is rice and Pad is stir-fried. The meal usually includes meat of your choice – shrimp, chicken, pork, crab or beef together with egg, onion, cilantro, garlic, tomatoes and a delicious seasoning. Thai fried rice is cooked with Jasmine rice, which is scented. It is usually served with sliced cucumber and limes on the side.
8. Rad Na (Thai Style Noodles in Gravy)
Rad Na is another popular street food dish in Thailand. Rad Na is flat rice noodles and vegetables topped with thick gravy. The meat can be pork, chicken or seafood. You can put some additional sugar, fish sauce, sliced chilies in white vinegar and ground dried chilies on the side when eating.
9. Khao Man Gai (Chicken Rice)
Khao Man Gai is a simple street food that can be found all around Thailand. The boiled chicken and rice usually served with some slices of cucumber, soybean sauce and winter melon soup.
10. Khao-soy (Northern Thai Curry Noodles)
Khao-soy is a northern-style curry noodle dish. It’s made of coconut milk and yellow curry gravy poured over soft eggs noodles, then topped with crispy fried noodles. It is slightly spicy, sweet, and creamy. This dish is a must-eat if you are visiting Chiang Mai!
Don’t forget to dive into the world of extremely delicious local cuisine while traveling in Thailand and your journey will be even more impressive!