A basic guide to typical thai food

Thailand is known for the beautiful landscape, amazing beaches, great shopping, smiling people (beautiful women?!)..and ofcourse for the food! Just by thinking of thai food my mouth is watering!

Thai food is known worldwide and many of you have problably taste some dishes before going to Thailand for the first time. But once you are in Thailand you will be surrounded by so much thai food that you will ask yourself  What is this??

All this food that you are surrounded by are food that you have never seen, smell and taste before. Food that looks delicious and food that looks…strange. Food that smells good and food that…stinks!

But in this post I am not going to write about strange dishes for you guys !

In this post I will simply separate typical thai food and add them into categories to make it easier to navigate and for you to easier understand what you have to deal with.

  1. Khao gaeng
  2. Noodles
  3. Isaan food
  4. Namprik
  5. BBQ
  6. Dessert


1. Khao gaeng


Photo HERE

Khao gaeng are main dishes you normally eat with steam rice. Often in food court or at the food stalls you can chose between 1-3 dishes to go with your rice. These main dishes can be from red curry dishes to stir fry vegetables.

The most known khao gaeng dishes for tourist have to be the curry dishes such as green and red curry, Massaman curry and Panang curry.

Massaman beef curry. Photo: Here with the recipe

Other khao gaeng also very popular among tourist (and thai) are the thai soups tom yum and my favorite tom kha.

Tom kha gai. Photo: Here with the recipe

And there are stir fries dishes in Khao gaeng category that are also very common for tourist. Some examples are stir fry chicken with thai basilchicken cashew nut and sweet and sour chicken.

Stir fry chicken with basil thai. Photo: Here with the recipe


2. Noodles

If we Thais don’t eat Khao gaeng we eat noodles!

You can order your noodles stir fry like the famous pad thai or you can have a bowl of noodle soup. But the most famous thai noodles you know must be the instant noodles you can buy cheaply in all the grocery stores or the gas stations all around the world!😂

The famous Pad thai. Photo: Here with the recipe

For more details about thai soup noodles dishes please check this blog post Luckypeach!

Photo: Here

My favorite noodles dish? They so are many but if I have to chose I would chose Wonton soup and noodle with fish curry (khanom jeen namja).

Wonton soup. Photo: Here

 

3. Isaan

So, when Thais don’t eat khao kaeng or noodles what do they eat? They eat Isaan food, the thai northeastern food!

Isaan food is known for it’s bold flavors. Sweet,salty, sour, very spicy and often “stinky”😂.. as we love it! Another good part with Isaan food is you normally eat the food with the hands.

The most known Isaan food among the non-Thais has to be sticky rice and papaya salad

Sticky rice. Photo: Learn more about sticky rice. Great post!

Papaya salad. Photo: Taem Laek

The meat salads “Laab” or “Nam tok” are aswell very known worldwide.

Porc salad, Nam tok moo. Photo:Taem Leak

My favorite isaan food is sticky rice with bamboo shoot salad.

Bamboo shoot salad. Photo: Here


4. Nam phrik

Nam phrik. Photo: More about thai hot chili sauce here. Great post!

The least known for the visitors but yet a very popular food in Thailand is Nam phrik = hot spicy sauce/paste ! (My own translation!!!)

There must exist atleast 10000 different kind of nam phrik. I can name some: chili paste with rotten fish, chili paste with shrimp paste, chili paste with grounded fish, chili paste with giant water bug.…and the list goes on.

Giant water bug can be one of the ingrediens in nam phrik. Photo: How to eat giant water bug. Intressting reading!

Our nam prik are not only hot sauces to be added to the main dishes. In thai food culture nam phrik can be eaten as a main course simply serve with boiled/fresh vegetables, and rice or sticky rice. Simple, healthy and so darn good if you ask me!

 I can’t think of any nam phrik that are eaten alot by tourist?!? Unless ofcourse you have a thai gf/bf or are married to one..but then you wouldn’t need this guide.😊

My favorite nam phrik is nam phrik pao. 

Nam phrik pao. Photo: More about what you can do with nam prik pao. Great post!


5. BBQ

The whole Thailand smells like BBQ! That is because we Thais love to eat grilled food. You must have seen a bunch of food stalls or wagons where they sell grilled sauges, meatballs, fish and meat on a stick, everywhere and on every hour of the day.

Grilled sauges and meatballs. Photo: Here

Grilled squid. Photo: Here

Something grilled that is ordered very often by tourist has to be the Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. 

Grilled chicken Satay. Photo: More about the delicious satay here. 

Grilled chicken satay. Photo: Here with recipe

My favorite from the grill is grilled skewer porc with sticky rice and nam phrik!! If you have not try it…don’t wait!

Grilled skewer pork. Photo: Here with recipe


6. Dessert



So much dessert to chose from but alot of tourist has atleast tasted once thai pancake aka roti, right? 

Roti

So so so much different kind of dessert! So complicated to explain.

So I am just going to link some good blog posts about thai dessert.

Enjoy!

Migrationology.com
Live-less-ordinary.com 

Bangkokbits.com


Please let me know if you think something is missing or just let me know your favorite thai dish or dessert. Do you prefer eating noodle, isaan or khao kaeng? 







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8 thoughts on “A basic guide to typical thai food”

  1. What an interesting food guide! In our village, we have a small “Thai fast food” and from time to time I buy my lunch there, but always ending with rice with sweat&sour chicken 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi, there are some but not much! You can ask the fried noodles and rice without meat. Stir fry veggies. But if you are not planning to stay there long its ok!😂

      Like

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