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Thai food is arguably one of the best cuisines. And when you visit Thailand, and have the authentic dishes, it’s a completely different experience.
Now Thailand was the first Asian country I ever visited, and I can’t recommend the country, and its food, enough.
It was a country where I tried so many new and incredible Thai foods, explored the beautiful temples, walked through street markets, and also found myself in animal cafes. 😂
It really is a fun place to visit as a foodie destination, explore, and make incredible memories.
Now some of these are Thai dishes I’ve had, and others are going to be ones I need to check off the next time I visit Thailand.
And if you’re planning on visiting (or want to cook at home), then I’m going to give you some suggestions on what to try when it comes to Thai cuisine.
More Good Recipes: 51 Traditional Foods from Japan to Try: Your Japanese Food Guide
39 of the Best Thai Foods
You deserve to level up in every part of your life, I’m convinced.
And helping you to better your life in so many places, is something I LOVE writing about.
Also, trying new cuisines (such as Thai food), and leveling up as a cook, are great places to do just that.
So if you want to feel like a cooking genius, and add some amazing dishes to your arsenal, then I’m here to help! Let’s make this part of your life, a whole lot better. 😊
Thai Curry Dishes
1. Kaeng Kari (Yellow Curry)
Kaeng kari, translating out as “curry curry,” is what you would say if you wanted to order yellow curry in Thailand.
And if you want to make it at home, then it’s suggested by the American Thai cook, Leela Punyaratabandhu, in her curry recipe, to look for kaeng kari paste specifically.
Apparently, kaeng kari paste, and jars of curry paste labeled as ‘yellow curry,’ are not the same.
But essentially, this type of curry is a mild, creamy, and tangy dish filled with meat, potatoes, and other veggies. It’s kind of like the perfect comfort food to have on a cold night. 👌
Other Great Recipes from Around the World:
2. Phrik Kaeng Phet (Red Curry)
I remember the first time I had red curry in Thailand, and it was such a surprise. 😂
I had made it at home, and ordered it at Thai restaurants in America so many times.
But the first time I took a bite of it, I thought something like, “This is not what I was expecting.”
But it wasn’t a bad thing!
In fact, it was just really cool to have the authentic dish, instead of some random recipe I found on the internet.
It had this wonderful combinations of strong Thai basil, creamy coconut milk, savory curry, and veggies I hadn’t used for the dish before.
And if you want to make this Thai dish at home, then here’s a Phrik Kaeng Phet paste recipe you can try!
Side Note: If you want to get some coconut milk for the recipes that require it, then here’s the brand of coconut milk I personally use!
3. Kaeng Khiao Wan (Green Curry)
Again, I had a completely different experience when trying this in Thailand.
It had a strong, almost star anise flavor, combined with a nice creaminess from the coconut milk. It was a very comforting dish.
Of course, it will vary depending on who’s making it, but that was just my experience.
Now beyond the flavors, the history of this dish is also very interesting.
One of the first places this curry recipe was mentioned was by Khun Ying Plien Plassakornwong, who in the early 1900s, was a lady in waiting at the royal palace in Bangkok.
Also, traditionally it’s made with goat, and is served with roti, a delicious flat bread. So I think it’s worth trying the authentic recipe.
And lastly, here’s a link to a kaeng khiao wan recipe made by a chef from Thailand.
4. Massaman Curry
Massaman curry is one of my favorites; it has so many good flavors, and is incredibly savory!
But it’s also completely different than the others.
Being more mild, and taking on the flavors of cardamom and cumin, it’s a wonderful dish to try.
And if you make this Thai dish at home, then here are some suggestions as given by an American Thai cook I’ll link to below:
- Onions and potatoes are best when it comes to produce, use anything more, and it’s not good.
- Use meats that are more tough, and require slow cooking.
- Stick to the spices on the list. Don’t add things like Thai basil, fresh chillies, and other normal ingredients for dishes like red curry. This doesn’t work for massaman.
- Don’t overcook the potatoes.
Also, the massaman curry paste you can get at the store, is apparently pretty close to the original, so no worrying there!
Here’s a Massaman Curry Recipe to try at home. 😊
5. Panang Curry
I love panang curry, it’s a very rich, savory, and sweet Thai curry!
Made with no veggies, and lots of meat (normally beef), it’s a fun dish to have with a hot bowl of rice.
Also, it’s similar to red curry, but has ingredients like peanuts, cumin, and coriander.
So if you’re craving something super hearty, and a bit complex in flavor, then this is a great recipe to try!
Here’s a panang curry recipe that looks pretty tasty!
Thai Meat Dishes
6. Thai Fried Chicken
I remember the first time I had Thai fried chicken, and it was life changing.
And you’re probably thinking, “Ok, but it’s just a different version of fried chicken, what makes it so special?
The spices, the flour used, the perfect tenderness of the chicken.
I’m going to drop a Thai fried chicken recipe for you here to try at home (if you’re not going to Thailand anytime soon).
But just know that if you do visit Thailand, you can easily get it hot and fresh as street food, and it’s super tasty!
Other Tasty Recipes from Around the World:
7. Gai Yang (Thai-Style Grilled Chicken)
Marinated Thai street food chicken.
Honestly, I feel tempted to just leave it at that, because it sounds incredible by itself.
Also, it’s made with at TON of flavorful ingredients.
So you’re using things like Thai lemongrass, cilantro, chilies, garlic, soy sauce, and so much more.
This Thai food really does sound amazing, and I’m wondering how I never had it when I visited Thailand.
8. Pad Kra Pao
Basically, you’re getting a plate full of a meat stir fry, with flavorful holy basil, garlic, Thai chilis, and lime.
Also, it’s served with rice, and an egg on top which just sounds really good!
And while you might get some complex version of this Thai dish at a restaurant, I think this Pad Kra Pao recipe, that some call the ‘original’ version, might be a lot better!
9. Pad Krapow Gai (Thai Basil Chicken)
I love savory garlicky basil meat dishes, and this one looks really good!
Also, it’s been said to be the equivalent of a burger, or sandwich. It’s quick and easy, and something that Thai people grab for lunch.
Oh, and another authentic way of having it is with a fried egg, which sounds really good.
Both look pretty good. 😊
10. Laab Moo
Laab is a Thai food that’s been described as a meat salad, so for people who love their meat dishes, this recipe is for you. 👌
Also, the recipe I link to down below includes flavors like….
- Chili flakes
- Thai Fish sauce (Here’s the fish sauce I use)
- Fresh mint leaves
So you kind of just know that it’s going to be a dish packed with a ton of flavor. 👌
11. Crying Tiger
Steak marinated in soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and oyster sauce, and then grilled and eaten with a tasty Thai dipping sauce.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a beef dish this flavorful.
And coming from Norther Thailand, there are apparently plenty of stories as to why it’s called crying tiger beef.
But one of the stories I read was pretty cute!
It was said that tigers would come down into villages, kill their cows, but then just leave the brisket part behind.
The villagers would take the brisket, cook it, and say that if the tigers knew, they would cry that they were missing out on such an incredible feast.
I don’t care what other stories there are for this dish, I’m gonna say that this one is the best.
Here’s a recipe for Crying Tiger, if you want to try it at home!
12. Beef Satay
Coming from Indonesia, Thai beef satay is a well-known dish in a lot of countries.
It originally came made with beef since the predominantly Muslim Indonesia, couldn’t eat pork.
And since then, pork satay has become a lot more popular in Thailand. However, you can still find beef satay in different spots, and especially in Muslim neighborhoods.
13. Aeb (Thai Fish Grilled in a Banana Leaf)
Grilling fish in a banana leaf sounds incredibly tasty!
Coming from Northern Thailand, it can be made with different fishes, like tilapia or catfish, and flavorful herbs and spices.
It sounds like a very fun street food to try at home! And if you want to make it yourself, then here’s an aeb recipe here.
14. Khao Kha Moo
Khao Kha Moo is a slow braised pork leg on rice, and it looks like amazing Thai street food.
Apparently, it’s not spicy, and has a nice salty-sweet flavor. When you’re in Thailand, you can grab it at different food courts, and street vendors.
It looks like a very comforting and filling dish!
15. Pla Plao
I’m pretty sure I had this exact same dish years ago, and loved it!
Pla Plao is a whole grilled fish, that has a thick layer of salt crust. Also, it can be served with a Thai garlic chili seafood dipping sauce.
It could also be made with other types of fish as well, so it’s up to you and how you want to make it at home.
16. Thai Chicken Satay
The majority of Thai people make satay with pork, and while you can find it made with chicken in Thailand, it’s not easy.
Now, if you’re not in the mood for pork, then here’s a chicken satay recipe you can try from a Thai food blogger.
It honestly looks pretty good! 👍
Thai Mixed Dishes
17. Pad Thai Noodles
I love Pad Thai, but I’m going to assume that the ones I’ve had so far, aren’t authentic. So I really do look forward to trying a good authentic Pad Thai when I visit Thailand next.
Also, according to a Thai cook (who I link to below), the best way to get pad Thai outside of Thailand, is in your own kitchen. Here are a few of her tips:
- Make sure to use a stir-fry wok, so that the noodles don’t come out wet, but more dry and a little smoky.
- Have a good balance of sweet, sour, and salty. Don’t have any one flavor being more strong that the others.
- Make sure to load it up with beansprouts to give the dish a nice freshness, and not make it super heavy.
More Tasty Recipes to Try:
18. Pad See Ew
If you’re craving some fried noodles (like how I almost always do), then this Thai version might just hit the spot.
A dish you can commonly get as street food in Thailand, it includes ingredients like…
- Large flat noodles (the texture has to be amazing 👍).
- Dark soy sauce (super tasty and different than normal soy sauce).
- Garlic 🧄
- Also some tasty toppings!
This dish can be traced back to China, and there are other versions of it in other Asian countries, but I think the Thai version sounds incredible.
19. Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)
I love fish cakes.
I’ve visited multiple Asian countries, and have really enjoyed trying so many fish cake recipes. And now I can’t wait to try the Thai version!
You can find this dish in many Thai restaurants and street vendors, and if you want to make it at home, it’s actually not too complicated!
I really like the method this cook uses for Tod Mun Pla, since she shows how to make it taste really good and fresh!
20. Tod Man Khao Pod (Thai Corn Fritters)
Fritters are so tasty, and these corn fritters look like an amazing snack to make.
Being seasoned with Thai makrut lime leaves, curry paste, and other tasty ingredients, I think I’d like to try this as fun appetizer.
Or just grab some the next time I’m in Thailand!
21. Kuay Teow Neua
While beef isn’t super common in Thai cities, like Bangkok, this beef noodle soup is something you’ll definitely find.
You get nice rice noodles, bean sprouts, and yummy pieces of beef. It sounds like a very satisfying soup to try.
22. Kai Jeow Moo Sab (Thai Omelete)
A Thai pork omelette sounds like an amazing dish to make for breakfast, or at any time of the day.
Being different than a western omelette, it’s deep-fried, and has tasty ingredients like soy sauce.
I’d personally love to try this with some rice, and if this sounds good to you too, then here’s a good recipe for Kai Jeow Moo Sab here .
23. Khao Pad (Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp)
Being super common at different street food stalls, and restaurants in Thailand, Thai fried rice can come with many different toppings.
Now one of the ways you’ll see it be made is with shrimp, and this version is called, khao pad.
Also, being made with wonderful flavors like chilis, Thai fish sauce, and oyster sauce, you know it’s gonna be packed with flavor.
So if you’d like to try the Thai version of shrimp fried rice, then here’s a good recipe for Khao Pad here.
24. Khao Mok Gai
Apparently being one of the top dishes in Thailand, Khao Mok Gai is the Thai version of chicken biryani (an Indian dish).
And with this dish, you’re getting marinated chicken, fried shallots, cinnamon, cardamom, and other amazing ingredients.
I love biryani, so I would love to try the Thai version of it! And here’s a recipe for Khao Mok Gai if you’re curious as well.
25. Khao Kluk Kapi
Coming from Central Thailand, Khao Kluk Kapi is another version of Thai fried rice, but this time it’s made with shrimp paste.
Coming with lots of different sides and toppings such as green mango, pork, and sausage, it sounds like a really delicious Thai dish to try!
26. Hor Mok Pla
Being similar to Thai fishcakes, this recipes is steamed and firmed in banana leaves.
Apparently, they have a custard-like consistency and have other tasty Thai ingredients like palm sugar, fish sauce, and curry paste.
And whether you’re in Thailand, or at home, this looks like a fun recipe to make!
27. Sai Oua
Coming from Northern Thailand, these grilled pork sausages are mixed with curry paste, and then served with sticky rice. Now that sounds incredible! 👌
Also, being a very common food, you’ll find it in different cities like Chiang Mai. So this is something to look out for when you’re visiting the country.
28. Gai Hor Bai Toey
Originally from Bangkok, you’re getting chicken that’s wrapped in pandan leaves.
It has tasty ingredients like white pepper, garlic, and palm sugar, so I’m definitely up for trying this dish.
And if you want to serve up this restaurant-style Bangkok dish, then here’s a good recipe for Gai Hor Bai Toey here.
29. Ba Mee Kiew
Ba mee kiew is a Thai food dish, that’s essentially a wonton noodle soup.
Also, you have other tasty ingredients like bok choy, long egg noodles, chicken, and white pepper.
Of course, these are just a few of the ingredients, and this Thai version of wonton soup sounds incredible.
So I’d definitely try some if you’re in Thailand, or just make this Ba Mee Kiew right here.
If you like congee, or rice porridge, then you might like trying the Thai version called, jok.
It’s a breakfast dish, but you can have it at any time of the day.
Also, it’s very flavorful with ingredients like soy sauce, chicken stock, fish sauce, and white pepper. And if that sounds amazing to you too, then here’s a good recipe for jok here.
31. Som Tum
Som Tum is a Thai green (unripe) papaya salad, that you can eat with sticky rice, and it sounds super refreshing. 👌
You’ll see it being prepped with ingredients like palm sugar, peanuts, lime juice, and tamarind juice. And to be honest, this sounds like the perfect dish to make for a hot day.
32. Hoi Tod
Hoi tod are Thai pancakes made with mussels, bean sprouts, tapioca flour, and other delicious Thai ingredients.
Also, being something you can get at street stalls during festivals, or in markets, it sounds like a tasty dish to put on your list when going to Thailand.
Thai Soup and Side Dishes
33. Khao Jee
They’re grilled sticky rice patties with eggs; I don’t know how you can go wrong.
Being a tasty Thai and Lao dish, it sounds like the perfect snack to grab from a street vendor.
They’re grilled till golden, and seasoned with an egg wash, salt, sauces and more. This one is a yes from me. 👍
34. Tom Kha Gai
Tom kha gai is a comforting coconut milk soup, made with chicken and tasty herbs.
Apparently, it’s one of the most popular Thai soups in different countries. But in Thailand itself, instead of chicken, they typically make it with different meats like fish, or seafood.
Now if this sounds like a very delicious dish to you, then here’s a recipe for tom kha gai here.
35. Khao Soi
Coming from the north of Thailand, it’s a popular curry noodle soup. And apparently, it’s so popular that some think you didn’t even visit Northern Thailand, if you didn’t have this dish.
It has a nice creamy coconut curry broth, can be made with chicken or beef, and it’s topped with deep fried crispy noodles. Yum.
It sounds like a perfectly satisfying dish to grab. Can’t wait to try it!
36. Khao Niao (Thai Sticky Rice)
A very common Thai recipe, it’s chewier, and more dense than normal white rice. Also, it’s nice to pair with different meat dishes, or to have in desserts like mango sticky rice.
Also, being made with long grain sticky rice, and in a bamboo cone steamer, it has a super satisfying texture, and it’s worth making. Definitely give it a try!
37. Tom Yum
Being one of the most popular Thai foods, and a soup I’ve seen in basically every country I’ve ever visited, it’s a great first-time Thai dish to try.
It’s a hot and sour soup, with yummy Thai ingredients like lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.
Also, it can be made with seafood (like shrimp), or meat.
And whether you’re having it at a nice Thai restaurant, or at a street side eatery, I think you’re going to like it.
38. Khao Niao Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice)
Probably the most famous Thai dessert, it’s incredibly creamy, sweet, and fresh.
Also, if you want to make this at home, then I highly recommend getting nam dok mai mangoes, if at all possible.
I thought I knew what a good mango was, until I had this type in Thailand.
They’re these super soft and sweet golden mangos, that go with so many dishes!
And if you want to try this Thai dessert at home, then here’s an authentic recipe for mango sticky rice.
39. Kluai Buat Chi
Kluai Buat Chi is a super simple Thai cuisine food that consists of bananas and coconut milk.
And being made with palm sugar, it sounds incredibly sweet and delicious!
Also, if you can, try looking for Thai bananas at your Asian grocery store, to get a more authentic experience.
What is Typical Thai Food
I feel that one of the main dishes a lot of people think of when it comes to Thai food, are creamy coconut curries.
And while I do talk about Thai curries above, I’ve quickly learned that Thai dishes are so much more than that.
Depending on the region you’re visiting, you can have Thai cuisines and dishes that have been influences by countries such as…
- Indonesia, India, and Malaysia, which have influenced the south with ingredients such as coconut milk and turmeric.
- Laos, Burma, and China, who have influenced northern Thai food cuisine with certain noodle dishes, glutinous rice, and different spicy curries.
- Vietnam which has some culinary influences in parts of eastern Thailand.
- Portugal, who, while they’re not nearby, did influence Thailand by brining ingredients, like chilis, over.
So as you can see, the answer to what typical Thai food might look like isn’t so simple.
I could say something like, “Well there’s a lot of different curries, rice and Thai noodle dishes, and soups,” but that just wouldn’t cover it.
Thailand is a complex and diverse country when it comes to food. And it is so worth exploring!
Thai Dishes FAQ
I really do think Thai food is one of the best cuisines in the world, so I totally encourage you to explore it more!
And if you want to learn more, then here are some frequently asked questions that people have about the food from Thailand.
The are a lot of them, but here are just 3 key ingredients for Thai cuisine:
1. Chilies: This ingredient is commonly used in Thailand, and in so many dishes like stir fry and curries.
2. Fish Sauce: It’s a very common Thai ingredient, with a nice tangy flavor.
3. Basil: Obviously not a surprise, you’re going to find basil in a lot of dishes in Thailand.
I believe that what makes Thai cuisine famous is the use of unique ingredients that, when combined, create wonderful diverse flavors.
A lot of people have their own answers, but I personally believe that Pad Thai is the most popular Thai food. I’ve been to many countries around the world, and this is a very common dish you’ll see.
Pad Thai is a great Thai dish for beginners!
It doesn’t have to be spicy, and has wonderful flavors of peanut and garlic. Also, it’s made with tasty noodles, which a lot of people love.
It’s an easy recipe to try!
While there are Thai foods that have been inspired by different regions from China, the flavors can be pretty different!
I’ve found that Thai food is a lot hotter, and you’re going to see a lot more curries, and different combinations of herbs and spices.
In closing, I just want to say that I hope you thoroughly enjoy exploring Thai food!
You’re going to have so much fun trying all the different flavors, and new dishes.
PS – If there’s a dish that wasn’t on this list, and you think it should be added, then let me know! I might just add it. 😊