I remember my first trip to Thailand, walking the streets of Bangkok and thinking “what the fuck am I gonna eat here?” fast forward 3 years later and I find myself craving to get back to Asia almost immediately every time I leave. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Thai food (I LOVE it), but when you walk around and see all the different street vendors it can be intimidating! Of course, there are the basics like Pad Thai which is EVERYWHERE, but there’s also a ton of other incredible and delicious dishes to try!
Thai food covers everything from sweet, to spicy, and even sour- all in the same dish! Think flavors like coconut, peanuts, ginger, turmeric basil, and garlic! Today I’m dishing out 10 local foods to try while in Thailand!
What is Pad Thai? It’s a stir-fried noodle dish found on every street corner in Thailand. The typical ingredients you’ll find in Pad Thai are rice noodles, eggs, tofu, fish sauce, shrimp, garlic, red chili pepper, and peanuts on top. It’s a Thai staple and a good way to ease yourself into some local cuisine!
Yam Nua is a spicy beef salad. Yam translates to “mix,” which is fitting for this mixed salad made up of skirt steak, onion, coriander, spearmint, lime, and dried chili!
Mango Sticky Rice
Mango sticky rice translates to “pure bliss”. Seriously it’s SO good! Its a traditional Thai dessert made up of sticky rice, fresh mango slices, and coconut milk drizzled on top.
Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai -sometimes spelled as Tom Kha Kai is a Thai coconut soup! This savory soup includes coconut milk, chicken, galangal (aka Thai ginger, but with a distinctly different flavor than the ginger we know), lime, lemongrass, chili peppers, mushrooms, and fish sauce.
These things are dangerously good. Get them fresh and hot from most street vendors and dip them in a sweet chili sauce! Yum!
This dish is super popular not only in Thailand but in Thai restaurants all over the world! Tom Yum Goong is the most popular version of Tom Yum (just means its made with shrimp). It’s characterized by its distinct hot and sour flavors mixed with different spices and herbs.
Khao Pad = fried rice. Just like the chinese fried rice you’re probably used to except they use jasmine rice. You can add whatever protein you like such as chicken, pork, shrimp, or crab. Some vendors even throw things like basil, pineapple, and sometimes coconut.
Gaeng Keow Wan Kai
All that ^ just means green curry (chicken). One of my FAVORITE Thai dishes. So what makes the curry actually green? It’s green chilies! Green curry is typically served with a huge portion of rice that you use to soak up some of the soup! It’s delicious!
Gaeng Daeng also known as red curry. This dish has sooo many different variations to it, so even if you’ve had red curry before, you’ll probably end up with a totally different version of it every place you go!
Coconut Ice Cream
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably decide that you need one of these every day while trekking through Thailand. Served in a young coconut with chocolate syrup and peanuts on top! It’s the perfect way to keep cool from that Southeast Asia heat!