20 Best Thai Food Dishes You Can’t Resist

30 Second Summary

🍴  Thai food is one of the most delicious foods across the globe
🍟. Thai dishes usually pair hot spices with sweet light citrus flavors
🍝  A Thai meal usually includes small dishes
🫕  Thai food dishes are very healthy and can be great for a vegan diet
🥘  Most meals are served with rice

Thai Cuisine🇹🇭

Thai food has established itself as a popular international cuisine. Across the globe, in many parts of the world, Thai food and Thai restaurants have become part of our everyday food offering. The introduction of Thai food to many countries has prompted many people to consider venturing over to Thailand to experience the culture and local cuisine first hand.

If you are considering a holiday to Thailand, part of the experience is trying the local Thai food. However, the number of dishes on offer can be quite daunting, and trying to match your palate with what is on offer can be challenging.

In this article we select the best Thai food dishes that the country can offer so you don’t miss out on tantalizing your taste buds.

Let’s start with the soups.

Tom Kha Kai (Thai Chicken & Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Kai (Thai Chicken & Coconut Soup)
Source: loveandoliveoil

What’s special about this Thai dish

Tom Kha Kai is a chicken and coconut soup. The ingredients are used to make a low carbohydrate soup but can be often served along with sticky rice. It is different from Tom Yum Goong in that Tom Yum Goong is made with coconut milk.

Quite a tongue twister this but Tom Kha Kai is the brother of another Thai soup tom yum goong. This soup is great for those who are not a fan of spicy food. It has a certain uniqueness as it is served with lots of creamy coconut milk along with the spices of galangal, shallots, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.

The base of the soup is made up of chicken strips with flavorsome Asian mushrooms.

This is a great soup for those who want to avoid chilies or spices.

Tom Yum Soup

Best Thai Food Dishes Tom Yum Soup
Source: The Spruce Eats

What’s special about this Thai dish

Tom Yum is an excellent healthy option. As a broth-based Thai dish, it is low in fat and calories.

Tom Yum is one of the popular soups in Thai food culture. This is a spicy yet sour-tasting aromatic soup and is mostly served with Thai fried rice or sticky rice. The main ingredients of tom yum are a mix of fresh ginger, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shrimps, mushrooms, and Thai chili peppers and a sprinkle of coriander leaves on top.

There are variations of tom yum available in many Thai restaurants such as tom yum gai that has chicken and tom yum talay with seafood.

Where to find it?

  • Goji Kitchen & Bar, Bangkok
  • Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant, Chiang Mai
  • Tealicious Bangkok, Bangkok

Also read – Interesting Thai Food Facts You Wish You Knew Before

Khao Soi

Best Thai Food Dishes Khao Soi Soup
Source: recipe52

What’s special about this Thai dish

Khao Soi is a coconut curry broth Thai dish. Khao soi is usually served with shredded chicken and has an amazing fragrant taste.

Found in northern Thailand, this is a sumptuous northern Thai coconut milk-based soup. The soup base is made up of red curry paste and coconut milk that gives it a spicy broth presence.

In this broth, there is usually the addition of either a choice of meats such as chicken or pork. The soup is finished off with a handful of fried Thai noodles and chopped cilantro. In northern Thailand, they would traditionally serve this with fresh lime, pickled cabbage, and chilies.

Where to find it?

  • Siam Supper Club, Phuket
  • David’s Kitchen, Chiang Mai
  • Sam’s Steak and Grill, Phuket

Khao Tom

Best Thai Food Dishes Khao Tom Rice Soup
Source: Riverside Thai Cooking

What’s special about this Thai dish

This rice-based soup is a traditional Thai dish that combines rice with herbs and vegetables. The rice soup is served hot and usually with soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar fish sauce. The rice is usually cooked first then added.

Something a bit different is this rice soup found in Thailand. This hearty soup combines sticky rice Thai style with a flavor-packed broth mixed in with herbs and vegetables. The rice is usually cooked first then added to the broth that already has ginger, garlic, and lemongrass added in.

It is typically laced with fish sauce lime juice and soy sauce. For more satisfying meal meatballs, shredded chicken is added.

Where to find it?

  • Red Sky Bar, Bangkok
  • Nami Teppanyaki Steakhouse, Bangkok
  • D&E’s Jungle Kitchen, Krabi

Tom Yum Goong

Best Thai Food Dishes Tom Yum Goong Soup
Source: Wikipedia

What’s special about this Thai dish

Tom Yum Goong is based on spicy and sour flavors. Tom Yum has fewer calories than tom kha with tom kha having over 350. However, compared to other famous soups like French Onion they are streets ahead.

Also known as spicy shrimp soup, this soup is full of aroma with a bold and fragrant flavor. Made with chili, galangal, lime leaves, and fish sauce, the combination with succulent freshly caught prawns makes this dish to die for. It has an invigorating sour spicy hot taste, this is one of the most popular Thai dishes in Thailand.

Where to find it?

  • Huen Lamphun (Suan Phak)
  • Choy (Phuttha Monthon Sai 2)
  • The Ironwood

Tom Saep

Best Thai Food Dishes Tom Saep Soup
Source: Wikipedia

What’s special about this Thai dish

This is often termed the northern Thai version of tom yum. This spicy and sour Thai dish is infused with kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, and lemongrass.

This is the northern Thailand version of the popular tom yum. This spicy Thai cuisine is infused with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal, and Thai basil. It is usually prepared with beef but can be made with pork or chicken pork.

Quite a spicy soup, fish sauce, or tamarind can be added to this dish.

Where to find it?

  • Han Thueng Chiang Mai
  • Jongjit Kitchen Phuket
  • Krua Kao Kuk Phuket

Yen Ta fo(with stir fried noodles)

Best Thai Food Dishes Yen Ta fo Soup
Source: Wikipedia

What’s special about this Thai dish 🍜

The unusual pink color of Yen Ta fo makes this dish stand out. Made with various noodles, fried noodles, curry noodles, this Thai dish is a noodle soup the dish is topped off with chicken pork

You will find Yen ta fo on offer at many Thai street food venues and is popular throughout the country of Thailand. It has an amazing pink color that might put some off but give this dish a try. The soup has an array of noodles from egg noodles to curry noodles, shrimp paste, and is served with a hearty chunk of chicken or pork chicken.

Also Read  Ping Pong Shows In Thailand (What You Need To Know)

A bowl of Yen Ta Fo can also be accompanied by various fish condiments, squid, shrimps, and even tofu.

Where to find it?

  • Praya Dining Bangkok
  • Jay Jia Yentafo Bangkok
  • Khao Soi Mae Manee

Guay Tiew Reua

Best Thai Food Dishes Guay Tiew Reua Soup
Source: Guay Tiew Reua

What’s special about this Thai dish

This actually means noodle and was a Chinese dish adapted into Thai dishes. Another popular street food in Thailand is a noodle dish with a difference.

Also known as noodle soup, it is also a popular soup served in Thai restaurants and in street food markets. This Thai dish was originally served from the boats meandering down the canals in Bangkok. This noodle dish is made with rice noodles, they are cooked in an amazing beef consomme broth with an array of Thai spices that can be served with chicken or pork.

If you are looking for a healthy option here are a collection of Thai Salads

Where to find it?

  • Blue Elephant
  • Suay Restaurant
  • Nuch’s Green Ta’lay Restaurant

Thai Salads

Som Tam

Best Thai Food Dishes Som Tam Salad
Source: The Spruce Eats

What’s special about this Thai dish

Originating in Laos Som Tam is Thailand’s popular green papaya salad. Som Tam Papaya salad is made with Thai chilies, fresh garlic, dried shrimp, fish sauce, and palm sugar to soften the blow of the Thai chili sauce, peanuts, juicy limes, cherry tomatoes – delic!

Som Tam is also known as green papaya salad this is usually associated with northern Thai. Som tam is a green papaya salad. Consisting of slim strips of green papaya this papaya salad also includes green beans, tomatoes, and roasted peanuts. The spicy sauce is made with fish sauce, garlic, chili peppers, and sugar fish sauce.

The sauce can be adjusted to give that chili sauce or juice and fish sauce flavor and can be a sweet and spicy concoction.

Where to find it?

  • BOOST Cafe Phuket
  • Takieng Thai Restaurant
  • SILK Restaurant & Bar


Best Thai Food Dishes Larb Thai Chicken Salad
Source: Taste

What’s special about this Thai dish

Don’t get confused, Larb is a salad but not a vegetable one. It is really a meat salad Thai dish that is seasoned with fish sauce, Thai-style chili sauce, and sticky rice for texture.

Larb is made with toasted rice and is a heavily meat-based salad dish. It was introduced as Thai food from China and is now deeply rooted in Thai cuisine.

This seasoned salad is laden with chopped herbs and khao khoua which is toasted ground rice similar to fried rice.

The dish base is hand minced meat of really any description from beef, chicken, pork, and even fish. It is normally combined with a souring agent such as lime juice, the combinations can be endless though.

Where to find it?

  • Quince Eatery & Bar
  • Brekkie
  • Broccoli Revolution

Yum Mama

Best Thai Food Dishes Yum Mama Thai Salad
Source: Riverside Thai Cooking

What’s special about this Thai dish

Yum mama is known as an instant noodle salad. Yes made with instant noodles this popular Thai dish is nearly as popular as pad thai. Along with the noodles, you can add just about anything!

This salad uses Thailands most famous noodles – instant noodles. Use with a flavor sachet of your choice a favorite Thai cuisine flavor is Tom Yum. This is a great salad when mixed with any meat or fish of your choice or even Thai-style fried prawns.

Where to find it?

  • Cafe Tartine
  • Farm To Table Organic Cafe
  • Garden Salad by Ms.Chu

Thai Curry

Best Thai Food Dishes Thai Curry
Source: Wikipedia

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of Thai cuisine and go through their famous collection of curry from green curry to chicken curry.

As a curry goes, Thai curry and Indian curry have many similarities as they are both made with an array of fragrant herbs and spices. There are some significant differences though that need highlighting.

  • Most Thai curry dishes use coconut milk as a key ingredient, therefore, making it taste fresh and milky compared to an Indian curry.
  • Thai curry use lemongrass and kaffir lime, you won’t find these in Indian curry.
  • Unlike Thai curry, Indian curry will use peppercorns and tomato paste.

A Thai curry dish is made with Thai curry paste and is more like a stew. In Thailand, curry is known as Kaeng which means a watery dish.

Most Thai curries are made with Thai curry paste. The curry paste is made up of a whole range of ingredients from garlic, chilies, onions, coriander, and lemongrass. Most of the time the paste is mixed with coconut milk, you will find this more in Southern Thailand. The Northern Thai region prefers to use more lime juice than coconut milk.

Like Indian curry, most Thai curry is served with rice – either fried rice or sticky rice, and sometimes with rice noodles – sticky rice is usually the most common accompaniment.

In Thai curry culture there are 5 different types of curry.

  1. Green Curry – Green curry is a very hot and creamy curry. It gets its colour from the green chillies that make up a large proportion of the ingredients. Green curry is the one to watch if you are trying to avoid a hot curry.
  2. Red Curry – Once again a fiery curry, red curry paste is made with red chillies hence the colour.
  3. Yellow Curry – as Thai foods go this is a mild curry.
  4. Penang Curry – once again not as spicy as others but full of flavour. Usually, the only liquid is coconut milk.
  5. Massaman Curry – an exotic curry that originated in mid-Thailand.

Massaman Curry

Best Thai Food Dishes Massaman Curry - Thai Cuisine
Source: Serious Eats

What’s special about this Thai dish?

This mild Thai curry is a hybrid of Thai and Indian curry. As the dishes go it gives an even spice taste but not too hot. Served with stir-fried rice or veg it makes for one of the best Thai dishes.

Massaman curry is probably one of the most fragrant of Thai dishes. This delicious curry is made with a collection of herbs such as cumin, cinnamon, and star anise. Massaman curry is probably one of the least spicy curries in Thai cuisine and is very mild.

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The curry is served with potatoes chunks and usually chunks of chicken although can be served with alternative combinations such as curry noodle.

Where to find it?

  • The House Of Smooth Curry
  • Kebabs & Kurries
  • Ministry Of Crab – Bangkok

Gaeng Ped Gai (Tomoto chicken Curry)

Best Thai Food Dishes Gaeng Ped Gai - tomato chicken curry

What’s special about this Thai dish

The red curry paste used in this northern Thai dish is strong. Depending on your chili preference it can make your eyes water!

This Thai dish is basically a red curry with chicken. The curry paste is crushed chilies with garlic, shallots, and lemongrass and is a Thai food favorite. Tomatoes, eggplant, and mushrooms are added and all simmered in coconut milk. Nicely served with fried rice or jasmine rice.

Where to find it?

  • Thara Thong
  • Kurissara Thai Cuisine
  • Kurissara Thai Cuisine

Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Thai Green Chicken Curry)

Best Thai Food Dishes Gaeng Keow Wan Gai - Green Thai Chicken Curry
Source: Temple of Thai

What’s special about this Thai dish

Popularly known as green Thai curry Green curry is not as hot and spicy as Red curry and can actually be very flavorsome. Serve with fried rice, rice noodles, or stir-fried vegetables.

This is the green curry equivalent – once again served with chicken. As it is green curry it is hot and spicy. The hot sauce is created with coconut milk and enhanced with Thai basil and other spices making it a hot coconut curry. It is mostly eaten with chicken but you can have beef or seafood as an alternative.

Where to find it?

  • Queen of Curry
  • Ruen Mallika
  • May Kaidee

Gaeng Panang Gai

Best Thai Food Dishes Gaeng Panang Gai
Source: Takeaway

What’s special about this Thai dish

Also, red in color but there is a real difference in texture and flavor. This curry is still spicy but bearable and the spice is toned down with coconut milk and peanuts.

This is a thicker curry than the others and is a less soupy option. The paste is made with fish sauce, shrimp paste, and red curry paste. This slow-cooked curry has muted flavors and textures but has a freshness that is achieved by the addition of coconut and kaffir lime.

Where to find it?

  • PEEPS Thai Eatery
  • Aunt Aoy Kitchen
  • Jok Khlong San

Other Famous Thai Dishes

Pad Thai(one of our favroite Thai dishes)

Best Thai Food Dishes Pad Thai
Source: The Spruce Eats

What’s special about this Thai dish

Pad Thai is a stir-fried dish made with fried noodles, shrimp, chicken, peanuts egg, and beansprout. It is actually rated one of the most delicious foods in the world.

Pad Thai is one of the more famous Thai food dishes that you may have already experienced either by street food or Thai restaurants Pad thai is pretty recognizable. As Thai food goes pad thai is probably one you would have heard of before. Pad Thai is basically fried noodles. It is made up of rice noodles. The rice noodles can either be thick or thin and are usually infused with prawns, beansprouts, eggs, and onion. Pad Thai is a tasty Thai dish. In Thailand Pad Thai is normally a snack food and is served in true Thai style. Thai food at its best.

Where to find it?

  • Pad Thai Fai Ta Lu
  • Baan Yai Phad Thai
  • Rock-Un

Khao Pad(Can’t miss this while in Thailand)

Best Thai Food Dishes Khao Pad
Source: takeaway

What’s special about this Thai dish

Or better known as Thai fried rice, this very healthy Thai dish is made with stir fry sauce and meat added. It is different from Chinese fried rice in that it uses jasmine rice.

Khoa Pad is a simple dish once again found on street markets to eat on the go. This Khao Pad Thai fried rice dish is served everywhere in Thailand. It is basically rice, egg, garlic, and opinion and then basically what you want to add to it. Everything is stir-fried together with the flavor blended together to make a tasty fried rice dish that will tickle your tastebuds. Khao Pad is a great takeaway food.

Its related cousin Khao Pad Sapparod is a pineapple version Thai food dish that is also easy to cook and has a hint of oyster sauce, curry sauce, and fish sauce lime juice.

Where to find this?

  • Khao Tom Pla Kimpo
  • Khao Soi Samoe Chai
  • Kin Khao

Pad Krapow – Thai Basil Chicken

Best Thai Food Dishes Pad Krapow - Thai Basil Chicken
Source: Global Kitchen

What’s special about this dish

Also known as Thai Basil stir fry it is usually eaten with rice and egg. As stir-fried food goes it is a tasty dish and only takes 10 minutes to cook!

Pad Krapo is normally made with minced pork or minced chicken and this is stir-fried with Thai basil and chilies. It has a sharp peppery flavor as Thia basil has a sharp taste. This dish is normally served with rice either Thai-style fried or sticky rice and can be topped with a fried egg. A great Thai food example.

Where to find it?

  • Kuakai Nimman
  • Meena Rice Based Cuisine
  • Chom

Have Fun In Thailand…

Now we have tempted your taste buds we hope that you will embrace Thai culture and Thai cuisine on your visit. Enjoy the rich variety of food and sumptuous dishes on offer in restaurants and street markets.

Common Questions from Travelers

Is Thai food ever baked?

Thai food is predominantly stir-fried, deep-fried, or grilled, Thai people very rarely use an oven to bake food.

Thai food dishes are very spicy, do they use chili in every dish?

No not in every dish. In fact, Kway Teow (noodle soup) is one of the most popular dishes and it is usually chili free.

Can I use chopsticks? Do Thai people use chopsticks to eat food?

Of course, you can use chopsticks if you want. However, Thai people never use chopsticks. Thai people use a fork and spoon.

Are Thai desserts served cold?

If it is coconut ice cream yes – however traditionally Thai desserts are served warm or hot.

Do Thai people always eat out?

Thai people very rarely eat at home. It is so cheap to eat out locally than buy the ingredients and cook.

Does Thai food use soy sauce?

While this is popular in Japanese and Chinese food it is rarely used in Thai food.

What Is The Most Popular Thai Dish?

The dish that is eaten the most in Thailand is Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup).

James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers