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Traditional Food In Thailand: 15 Dishes You Must Try - Updated 2020

traditional food in thailand
Victor
Victor
Updated

There are a plethora of reasons to visit Thailand. Stunning natural sceneries, glorious golden beaches, legendary parties beneath the full moon, and of course, Thai cuisines are some of the alluring attractions that make tourists travel from far and wide to visit Thailand. The delicacy of Thai dishes results in a blend of freshness and fragrance, and irrespective of your reasons for visiting, an indulgence in the traditional foods in Thailand is something you must never resist. Thai cuisine has a reputation all over the world for being the most delicious and flavorful meal that you will ever have. Though the variety is immense, here is a look at some of the top traditional foods you must never leave Thailand without tasting.

1. Tom Yum Goong - spicy soup

Tom Yum Goong | Traditional Food In Thailand

Tom Yum is a spicy Thai Soup with shrimp, and it is one of the most famous traditional foods in the country. It is typically made with mushroom, tomatoes, garlic, fish sauce, cilantro, onions, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass together with a lot of lime juice. Due to the composition of the ingredients, it is sour and spicy, but lovely to the taste buds. In a traditional setup, the soup may feature meats such as fish, beef, pork or chicken, and it is generally served in a large clay bowl or an aluminum pot with a charcoal burner.

Tom Yum Goong

Address: Rung Rueang Noodle House, 10/3 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Sukhumvit Road Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110 Thailand

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Mondays to Fridays

Price: 1.66 USD to 2.32 USD

Contact: +66 2 258 6746

Tom Yum Kung (Super Flow) in Khao San Road

3 reviews

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2. Laap - seasoned minced meat

Lap pet
Source: Photo by user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Laap has its origins in northeast Thailand, and it is one rustic dish you must never miss during your Thai visit. It is primarily made from minced meat seasoned with fresh herbs, fish sauce, lime juice, and roasted rice powder. The best way to enjoy this delicacy is to accompany it with sticky rice or fat grains of rice that have been steamed and eaten with hands.

Laap

Address: Yod Larb Ped Udon, 106 Soi Rama 9 Soi 49, New Rama 9 Road, Suan Luang Subdistrict, Suan Luang District., Bangkok, Thailand (Suan Luang)

Opening Hours: 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM, Mondays to Sundays

Contact: +66 2 718 3111

Website: https://www.yodrestaurant.com/

Traditional Lao Cuisine Cooking Class by Tamarind Restaurant

Duration: 7 Hrs Duration

14 reviews

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3. Phat Kaphrao - stir-fried meat with basil and chilli

2017 0426 Mu krop phat kaphrao khai dao rat khao in Ayutthaya
Source: Photo by user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you have a thing for traditional foods that you can easily find in the streets, then you have every reason to try out Phat Kaphrao. It is a traditional street food staple in Thailand, and it features a combination of meat flash-fried with holy basil. In most places, you will find it doused in a generous amount of chili and garlic. Mostly served over sticky rice and often topped with fried eggs – it is the definition of traditional Thai-style one-bite meal.

Phat Kaphrao

Address: Raan Jay Fai, 327 Mahachai, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, 10200 Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: 2:00 PM to 12:00 AM, Sundays to Mondays,

Contact: +66 92 724 9633

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4. Khao Soi - noodle soup (from USD 38.0)

2019 01 Khao Soi Kai
Source: Photo by user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Khao soi is another famous traditional noodle dish that delightfully originates from the northern parts of the country. It is primarily a broth of soup that boasts of rich ingredients comprising of curry and coconut milk that gives it a rich, creamy consistency. It is common to find the broth topped over flat egg noodles that have further been topped up with deep fried egg noodles. Meats such as beef and chicken are also familiar accompaniments with khao soi.

Khao Soi

Address: Khao Soi Islam, 22-24 Soi 1, Charoenprathet Rd. Changklan, Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand (1.5 km from Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara)

Opening Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturdays to Mondays

Price: 1.66 USD to 2.32 USD

Eat Like A Local Tour by Feast Thailand Hua Hin

21 reviews

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5. Pad Thai - stir-fried rice noodle dish (from USD 58.0)

Pad Thai

If there is one traditional Thai food known across the globe, then it must be Pad Thai. It is a stir-fried rice noodle cooked in a very hot wok with chili, garlic, tofu and eggs amongst other ingredients. Some of the popular meats you are likely to encounter in Pad Thai include shrimp and chicken, and don’t be surprised if you find it garnished with lime juice, peanuts, spring onions and sprouts. It is a one hearty and comforting Thai meal you will be glad to not have missed.

Pad Thai

Address: Pad Thai Thip Samai, 313-315 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Opening Hours: 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM, Mondays to Sundays

Price: 1.99 USD to 6.62 USD

Contact: +66 02 226 6666

Phuket Thai Cooking Academy

316 reviews

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6. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai – Thai green curry with chicken

Thai green chicken curry and roti
Source: Photo by user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Thai green curry with chicken is another incredibly popular dish in Thailand and one you should try if you want to understand more about the roots of Thai foods. This curry comprises of coconut milk, green curry paste, and chicken as the main ingredients, though you could always replace the chicken with any meat of your choice. The green curry paste comes from a blend of shallots, garlic, and green chilies amongst other ingredients. The coconut milk is where the soup gets the rich, creamy consistency, while the green curry paste makes it hot and sweet. It is best enjoyed with a plate of rice.

Gang Keow Wan

Address: Poisien, Soi Ratchawithi 6, Boonme Building, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand (Near Victory Monument, Bangkok, Thailand)

Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sundays to Mondays

Price: 0.99 USD to 1.66 USD

Contact: +66 (0)84 527 5521

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7. Pad Grapao - minced pork with Thai basil and fried eggs (from USD 144.29)

Minced pork with Thai basil is like a staple food in Thailand, and it is a dish you will never miss in most, if not all of the Thai eateries. The dish is prepared by cooking the minced pork in a hot pan together with the Thai basil leaves, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, and chilies. The food is normally served over rice, with eggs making the cherry on the very top.

Pad Grapao

Address: Forget Me Not, Chulalongkorn Soi 50, 254 Phayathai Rd, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Opening Hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sundays to Mondays

Price: 11.59 USD

Contact: +66 081 642 5215

From Bangkok: Khao Yai National Park and Thai Cooking Class

Duration: 10 hour

9 reviews

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8. Homok Talay - seafood mousse

Neapolitan Seafood Mousse
Source: Photo by user Nano Anderson used under CC BY 2.0

This is one of the traditional Thai delicacies that are traditionally served on a banana leaf. The dish comprises an assortment of fish, delicious curry spices and vegetables which are then cooked and pressed against the banana leaf into a spicy mousse. So strong are the flavors of this dish that some people usually ignore it in favor of the less spicy options. However, it is a good introduction to the authentic Thai delicacies.

Homok Talay

Address: Ko Dang Talay, Warehouse 7, Asiatique The Riverfront, Charoen Krung Road Soi 74, Bangkok Thailand

Opening Hours: 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM Sundays to Mondays

Contact: +66 (02) 108 4498

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9. Massaman curry - rich Thai sauce (from USD 64.0)

Making chicken massaman curry (2)
Source: Photo by user Roozitaa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This is a signature dish in Southern Thailand, and it is believed that it got introduced in the region in the 16th century by a Persian trader. The dish is a mixture of coconut milk, curry paste, and strong peanut flavors. Nutmeg and cinnamon are also used, but very remotely. In most cases, the dish is premade with chicken and may sometimes contain a few chunks of potatoes to soak up the coconut milk and the flavors.

Massaman Curry

Address: Blue Elephant Governor’s Mansion, Krabi Road 96, Phuket, 83000, Thailand

Opening Hours: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM; 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM, Sundays to Mondays

Contact: +66 76 354 355

Half-Day Phuket Easy Thai Cooking

Duration: 3 hours

10 reviews

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10. Gang Jued - Thai vegetable soup

Tom jued tahoo
Source: Photo by user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Gang Jued is a bowl of clear vegetable soup and one of the healthiest foods you will find in Thailand. The soup is normally doused with generous proportions of glass noodles, tofu, minced pork, onions, cabbage, carrots, and with fresh parsley as the garnish. Not necessarily a dish on in its own, but it is always a nice complement to other dishes, and you can use it to make up for the lack of vegetables in its greasier counterparts.

Gang Jued

Address: Sorriso, 15, Sukhumvit soi 20Bangkok, Thailand

*Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM; 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Sundays to Mondays

Contact: [email protected], +66 62 316 6996

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11. Som Tam - papaya salad

Som Tam
Source: Photo by user Seth Mazow used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Thai som tum is not just another typical salad. Thai cuisine presents its edible greenery in a different way, with bolder flavors and a louder combination of ingredients. It’s one of the most quintessential dishes that boast a lot about Thai culture. Som Tum may not be the go-to favorite of travelers and tourists, but it’s something everyone traveling to Thailand must try. Tom sum is basically papaya salad but known for its intoxicating flavors, with a proper mixture of chilies, garlic, dried shrimp, fish sauce, and even sweet palm sugar to make a common salad, one that is anything but bland. Som Tum can be found in many Thai restaurants or dining establishments, even in the streets of Thailand where this is a common staple for locals and expats alike.

Som Tam Nua

Address: 392/14 Siam Square 5, Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening hours: 10:45 AM to 9:30 PM, Sundays to Mondays

Contact: +66 2 251 4880

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12. Tom Kha Kai - chicken coconut soup

Tom kha kai at a restaurant
Source: Photo by user Julia S. used under CC BY 2.0

Tom Kha Kai is often compared to Tom Yum but the difference between the two Thai signature dishes is that it is made with chicken and coconut cream, instead of shrimp and coconut milk like the way Tom Yum is traditionally made. It is the 10th most ordered dish by travelers and foreigners when in Thailand and is beloved for the synchronicity of such rich flavors. Tom Kha Kai makes use of coconut cream, fish sauce, galanga root, and coriander leaves among other ingredients that make the dish come out thicker in terms of consistency in contrast to Tom Yum. Indeed, Tom Kha Kai is a must-try when on a food trip around Bangkok or any other part of Thailand, as it is commonly found in restaurants and kiosks everywhere in the country.

Nahm Restaurant

Address: 27 S Sathorn Rd | Hotel Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

Opening hours: 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM, Mondays to Fridays and 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM, Saturdays to Sundays

Contact: +66 2 625 3333

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13. Khao Pad (stir-fried rice)

ข้าวผัดไก่  Thai Fried Rice - Kao Gaeng Thai AUD8.90 - photo by Julia
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alpha used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Although Thai food looks and sounds different from what you are accustomed to, they have a delectable dish that you will surely recognize and enjoy. Khao pad, which literally translates to ‘stir-fried rice’, is a simple rice dish that usually contains garlic, egg, salting agent, and then topped with spring onions, and spiced with sugar, chili, and lime juice. It also has variations depending on the meat added to it. There’s khao pad moo for those added with pork, khao pad if chicken, khao pad pu for crab, and khao pad sapparot for pineapple which, while obviously not meat, Thais highly enjoy. Khao pad is usually served with pad krapow, a spicy stir-fried dish with Thai basil.

G's Bangkok

Address: 74 Silom 4 Alley, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Facebook: G’s Bangkok

Opening hours: 4pm - 1am (daily)

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14. Khao Klukh Krapi (shrimp paste fried rice)

 Shrimp fried rice
Source: Pixabay

If you can’t get enough of Asian rice recipes, look no further. Thailand has the perfect rice dish that balances saltiness, sweetness, tanginess, and spice. Another rice dish famous in Thailand goes by the name khao klukh krapi, a bowl of traditional fried rice with shrimp paste, garlic, lemon, prawns, and chili. To balance the flavor, you can add toppings which can range from cucumbers, shallots, thinly sliced green mango, thinly sliced egg omelet, sweetened roasted pork, and deep-fried shrimp. If you’ve ever tried bagoong rice from the Philippines, you’ll easily spot their similarity. This dish goes as far back as the time of King Rama II.

SANEH BANGKOK RESTAURANT

Address: 1 Soi Rim Klong Banglumpoo, Samsen Road, Bangkok 10200 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand 10200

Website: SANEH BANGKOK RESTAURANT

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

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15. Thai Pomelo Salad

Tam som-o nam pu
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Experience a feast of the senses when you dig into yam som-o or Thai pomelo salad, a fresh and bright mix of fruit and spices. Being a Thai delicacy, this salad has layers of authentic Thai flavors and texture. You’ll get the sweetness of the pomelo fruit, the tart and heat of the dressing, the crunch of toasted shredded coconut and roasted peanut, the savory taste of dried shrimp, the aroma of lemongrass, and the freshness of mint. However, if you plan to visit Thailand to have a taste of authentic yam som-o, you cannot easily find it in the street food lanes. It is also rarely available in sit-down restaurants.

Blue Elephant Bangkok

Address: 233 South Sathorn Road, BTS Surasak, Bangkok 10120

Website: Blue Elephant Bangkok

Opening hours: 11am - 9:30pm (daily)

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BONUS: Enjoy traditional Thai food in this BKK foodie tour! (45 USD)

traditional food in thailand | bonus: enjoy traditional thai food in this bkk foodie tour!
Source: Magical Trip

What better way to enjoy all the traditional food that Thailand has to offer than having a foodie tour? Foodies, rejoice! This Bangkok night foodie tour is made especially for those who know how to enjoy good food. In this three-hour excursion, you’ll be able to taste about seven to eight different kinds of sweets and food as you explore the biggest night market in Bangkok: Chinatown. You’ll get to taste highly recommended food from your local guide and also learn about Thai culture in between your food trips. You’ll get a taste of Thai-Chinese fusion, Pad Thai, and fried donuts. So if you’re looking for the best traditional foods to try in Thailand, be sure not to miss this tour. Thai tea and a bottle of water are also included in this tour package.

Bangkok Night Foodie Tour in Chinatown

Website:

Duration: 3 hours

Price: 45 USD

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Explore Thailand for the best culinary diversity

The list of traditional Thai food in Thailand is probably longer than this, but the above foods are incredibly delicious and worth trying should you visit Thailand. They are also popular to imply that you will find them in most of the eateries around the country. However, there are many more yummy meals you need to discover in Thailand, and the best way to do that is simply plan a visit to this magical land.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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No one came into this world as a writer, but everyone can become one. I love to write. It makes me share my knowledge and experiences with the rest of the world. With dreams of visiting nearly...Read more

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