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Guest post by One Chance Travel
One of my favorite destinations is the islands of Thailand because of their delicious food, friendly people, and affordable lodging!
Thai food comes in many forms and focuses on using spices and herbs like lemongrass. You’ll find fish sauce (it tastes better than it sounds!) and curries in many of the best Thai food dishes as well. With a unique focus on both fresh ingredients and deep-fried goodness, Thailand is sure to have something for every palette. Read on to find out the 10 best delicious Thai dishes that you need to try!
Best Thai Food – Top 10 Delicious Thai Dishes to Try!
1. Som Tum – Papaya Salad
Papaya Salad is a distinctive Thai dish because it comes from the Northeast state of Issan and is generally either loved or hated. Ingredients include garlic, chiles, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and shredded raw papaya which are ground together using a pestle and mortar.
Some regional versions of Papaya Salad have dry shrimp, salted crab, or peanuts in the mix. To make this dish even spicier, add more chiles. To make it less spicy, remove the chiles entirely! This meal can be used as a starting appetizer, side, or entree. To make it more filling, be sure to add some protein – try shrimp to keep with the fresh fish flavor!
2. Tom Kha Kai – Spicy Chicken Coconut Soup
Known as Tom Kha for short, only people with a high spice tolerance should try this popular Thai dish! It’s a mix of red-hot chiles, young galangal, crushed shallots, lemongrass stalks, and melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Top it off with fresh lime leaves for a creamy yet spicy soup.
For a less spicy version of this meal, check out Tom Yum! This is heavier on the coconut milk and lighter on the chiles which makes it only a little spicy. If you’re a lover of spice, this is definitely some of the best Thai food available!
3. Pad Thai – Fried Noodles
Most people who’ve eaten the best Thai food have tried Pad Thai! But it is one of the most famous Thai dishes for a reason! This dish is made in a hot wok with thin or wide noodles, onion, egg, and bean sprouts. Pad Thai can be a little mild tasting, so don’t forget to add condiments like fish sauce, chili powder, peanuts, and even sugar!
4. Kai Med Ma Muang – Chicken with Cashews
If you go your whole life without eating this popular Thai food, you might miss out on the explosive taste combination of well-seasoned chicken with cashews! Kai Med Ma Muang is stir-fried with chicken, soy sauce, onions, chiles, pepper, carrots, honey, and sometimes mushrooms. This simple but tasty combination makes this dish one of the best Thai dishes to try!
5. Chicken Satay – Chicken on A Stick!
Chicken Satay is some of the best Thai food you’ll find -and it usually costs less than $1 USD at any Thai street market! Strips of chicken are marinated in a Thai paste, then grilled or broiled. Finish it off with chile or peanut sauce and you’ll be dreaming about Chicken Satay long after the food is gone!
6. Larb Gai – Pork Salad
Want something fresh but filling? Try Larb Gai, a salad made with pork and fresh mint. This popular Thai dish is perfect over steaming white rice or cold greens! You can also switch it out for chicken, but the pork melts in your mouth with crispy mint leaves, creating a perfect melody of flavors.
7. Panang Curry
Penang curry is one of the most popular Thai dishes. This red curry is a combination of flavors from Burma, India, and Malaysia. Usually crafted with chicken, there are a lot of flavorful and rich elements in this dish! For the best Thai food, always try curry first. You can also try this curry with beef, either way the smell is absolutely intoxicating. Panang is usually made with red curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, onions, garlic, peppers, basil leaves, and kaffir lime leaves to name a few ingredients.
8. Salted Fish
A popular option at restaurants and Thai street markets alike, salted fish is exactly what it sounds like. Pan-fried or made on the barbeque, salted fish is usually some kind of whitefish seasoned with basil, limes, chiles, and coriander. You get a whole fish out of the deal, making this a filling meal. If you love fish, you can’t go wrong with this popular Thai dish.
9. Mango Sticky Rice
If you want the best Thai food, start with Mango Sticky Rice. This is more of a dessert than an entree but also makes a great snack. You’d never think the sweetness of a mango and the glutinous texture of sticky rice would go well together, but they somehow do with that magic Thai touch. One taste and you’ll understand why this is one of the most popular Thai dishes. Fresh mango makes this dish really pop, and coconut sauce gives the rice a little kick. Don’t miss this dessert while in Thailand!
10. Pad See Yew – Vegetarian Friendly!
If you’re wondering if there are any vegetarian options, look no further. Pad See Yew is one of the best Thai food dishes to try! This popular Thai entree replaces the usual pork, chicken, or beef protein with bok choy and shrimp. Many chefs use oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and miso paste to give it an extra pump of flavour.
Which Dish Are You Craving?
Now that you’ve seen the 10 best Thai food dishes, which one makes your mouth water the most? While Thai food flavors spice and protein, there are plenty of popular Thai food options for vegetarians and those with a low spice tolerance. When in Thailand don’t miss these staples! Best of all, local food is usually very affordable, leaving you satisfied without being overly full.
For tips on visiting Thailand, visit One Chance Travel’s website. You’ll learn what to pack, why you should bring your own sunscreen, suggested itineraries, and more!
About the Author
Aimee Engebretson is a writer from One Chance Travel who fell in love with exploring the world at age 15 when she traded in her future-car-fund for a trip to Europe. Paris would end up being the first of many trips, and she continues to travel at every opportunity today between her career projects as a marketing manager. Check out her YouTube channel for tips and tricks on traveling in California and Asia.
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