Top 10 Thai Dishes You Must Try
Some people visit a certain country for its breathtaking beauty, while others (especially women!) jet off to a particular holiday destination just to indulge in one of their favorite hobbies – shopping. And some travel around the globe in search of the best food planet Earth has to offer.
If you belong to the latter category, you should definitely be thinking about buying a plane ticket to Thailand. Besides being an exotic holiday destinations with its smiling, friendly people as well as the gargantuan gentle beasts we all know as elephants, warm yet heavenly beaches, Thailand is a gastronomic delight for foodies who revel in having their taste buds caressed by the best tasting food one can ever partake! Whether you are visiting Bangkok or getting a well-deserved tan in Pattaya, you should taste some of the all-time must-try foods in Thailand which includes:
1. Tom Yam Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
This Thai masterpiece soup is teeming with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. It can be ordered loaded with coconut milk (tom yum gung nam kohn) and cream or without (tom yum gung nam sai) for a slightly more sour and healthy version. This soup truly unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet, all in one bowl. This is an authentic Thai delicacy that many locals are passionate about and has spread around the world.
2. Pad Thai (Fried Noodle)
This national dish prides itself for its long history traced back in previous centuries. Pad Thai flaunts the authenticity of Thai culinary arts in using only fresh and best ingredients and the well-balancing of the five fundamental flavors. The stir-fried noodle has become popular because it tastes yummy and is served with a variety of seasonings to suit your tastes. Through history, Pad Thai has evolved into two different styles: the classic and the variation. The classic Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, red chilli pepper plus bean sprouts, shrimp and tofu and garnished with crushed peanuts and coriander while another style is relatively dry and lightly-flavored. The latter is easily found in street vendors and dominant in Thai restaurants in the West but having classic Pad Thai freshly cooked in country of origin is the way to go.
3. Kang Keaw Wan Gai (Green Chicken Curry)
One of the most famous and sought after Thai dishes is Thai green curry. Green curry paste, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chicken, Thai basil, Thai eggplant and the ever present herbs and roots of Thai cuisine (lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves etc), make this curry an unforgettable blend of delights. It is usually prepared quite soupy so a plate of rice is necessary to sop up every intricate drop.
Khao phat kraphao mu is rice fried with a certain variety of Thai basil called bai kraphao (Ocimum tenuiflorum), sliced pork and chillies. Here it is served with a fried egg, slices of cucumber and tomato, and a stalk of spring onion. It’s like a complete meal in one, you get your carbs and protein and the yummy goodness of rice rolling about in your tummy!
5. Tom Yam Gai (Spicy Chicken Soup)
Chicken soup is very good to eat when you have a cold but Tom Yam Gai or spicy chicken soup is a yummy treat that you will fall in love with just in a first sip. Tom Yam Kai is a clear chicken soup seasoned with a blend of chili, lime and fish sauce. The broth is simmered with Thai herbs as lemon grass, shallot and galangal which give it a unique and satiating aroma. My foreign friends order this tasty soup as a favorite where-ever they go so you should not miss it by any means!
6. Gai Pad Pongali (Thai Egg and Chicken Curry)
Chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers are brought alive with a delicate Thai yellow curry paste. What makes the dish spectacular is the egg that is cracked into the dish to curdle and thicken all the ingredients. A generous portion of parsley is added for extra flavor and its unique taste.
7. Gai Pad Met Ma Muang (Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
Chicken is seared in a hot greased wok along with onions, dried chilies and crunchy cashew nuts. Oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and other spices create a sauce that goes exquisitely well with rice. This slightly sweet and salty chicken fried with crunchy cashew nuts is aptly satiating for children or beginners who are not used to spices.
8. Panaeng (Meat in Spicy Coconut Cream)
Panaeng can be cooked using either pork, chicken or beef. Panaeng tastes like Thai red curry but the coconut milk sauce is thicker and richer. Compared to Thai red curry, Panaeng is mildly spicy and sweet. Paneang is best served with warm steamed rice. There is nothing to dislike about Panaeng expect the fact that it can be tooÂ meaty for some people that prefer vegetables with their dishes.
9. Khao Niew Ma Muang (Sticky rice and mango)
One of the more popular things to try dessertwise and rarely disappoints. It’s a ripe mango over sticky rice, topped with a sticky, sweet coconut cream sauce. Available everywhere, from restaurants to street stalls to mobile carts and best during mango season (late winter – early summer months).
Som Tam is one of the most popular foods among Thai people for its fiercely spicy and sour flavors. Som Tam, which literally means Sour Pounded, is a spicy salad made from a mix of fresh vegetables including shredded unripened papaya, yardlong beans and tomato. Som Tam is unique that the spicy dressing and salad vegetables are pounded and mixed in the mortar using a pestle. Somtam is usually served with grilled chicken and sticky rice. Som Tam is good for your health that it contains no fat, low calorie and high vitamins. This is a truly authentic Thai dish that will make a great impression. The only reason why I’m ranking Som Tam at No.7 (though it deserves higher rank) is its strong spiciness that might leave your tongue burned and swollen. Just say Mai phed (not spicy) to your waiter if you want less chili pepper.
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