Tourist’s guide to Thai cuisine: dishes that are worth trying

Thai cuisine offers a lot of unique and unusual dishes for Europeans. The main components of national dishes are seafood and chicken, rice and noodles, vegetables and fruits. But the highlight of any Thai recipe is spices and sauces, herbs and dressings. Most of the dishes in Thailand are distinguished by their high severity, and if you are not a fan of such food, then it is quite simple to correct the situation: when ordering, it is enough to say the phrase “Not spicy”. Thai food can either be fried or cooked, but mostly the dishes here are light and healthy. What is the national cuisine of Thailand, and what kind of food is worth trying during the trip, we tell in detail below.

Thai cuisine

First meal

Thai cuisine is replete with peculiar soups, the main ingredients of which are seafood or chicken. The basis for the preparation of liquid dishes can serve as meat broth and coconut milk, and often both components are combined in one recipe. It is worth considering that Thai soups are slightly different from those that we are used to seeing. In most cases, in such dishes it is customary to eat only the main component and drink the broth, and the remaining ingredients are added only for taste and aroma.

Tom Yam

Among Thai dishes, Tom Yam soup has gained well-deserved fame, there are a great many recipes for its preparation. But the king prawns boiled in coconut milk and flavored with garlic, lime sprigs and straw mushrooms remain unchanged ingredients of the national dish. In the classic version, Tom Yam is cooked on fish stock, sometimes chicken. Each cook, following his own imagination, can add a ton of other ingredients to the soup, such as ginger, tomatoes, galangal, lemongrass, etc. This Thai dish has a sour taste and is unprecedented in its spiciness, so it is often served with boiled rice.

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Tom Yam Soup

Tom kha

Those who don’t really like spicy dishes should try the Tom Kha soup. Just like the previously mentioned Tom Yam, it is prepared with coconut milk, but the main ingredient here is chicken (sometimes fish). When preparing this national dish, standard Thai seasonings are included: cilantro, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves. In some restaurants, Tom Kha is cooked with shrimp and a large amount of chili pepper is added for spiciness. But in the traditional variation, the dish should have not so much spicy as a spicy, slightly sweet taste.

Tom Kha Soup
Kung Som Pak Ruam
Kung Som Pak Ruam

Another popular Thai dish is Kung Som Pak Ruam soup, which has a very specific smell and aftertaste. Usually it is cooked on the basis of meat broth with the addition of stewed carrots, cabbage and green beans. The taste palette of this dish has incorporated all kinds of shades: Kung Som Pak Ruam has a sweet and sour flavor with spicy notes. Often, soup is served with omelettes and decorated with fragrant herbs. In general, this national dish is light and healthy, it is definitely worth a try.

Main dishes

Traditional Thai cuisine offers a range of interesting and delicious dishes based on chicken, pork, fish and a variety of seafood. And among the national side dishes are rice, rice, egg or glass noodles and potatoes. All delights are prepared with the addition of traditional Thai spices, sauces and herbs. Which of them should definitely be tried?

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is perhaps one of the few Thai dishes familiar to most Europeans. Actually, this is rice noodles, which are fried with garlic, onions, bean seedlings and seasoned with vinegar, vegetable oil and slices of hot pepper. Sometimes a little sugar is poured into the dish to give it a more piquant flavor. At the final stage of cooking, the noodles are seasoned with eggs, flavored with a couple of drops of lime and pieces of walnut. You can try the noodles both in a classic form and with the addition of various fillers, which include fried chicken or pork slices, as well as assorted seafood.

Pad Thai

Kung Keo Wang (Green Curry)

This national dish will be appreciated by all lovers of thrills and unusual aromas. Serve Kung Kno Van in a miniature bowl filled with green curry sauce mixed with coconut milk. Inside the gravy you will find pieces of chicken and vegetables, which are complemented by lime slices and a sprig of basil. By the way, among the vegetable components of Green curry, Thai eggplant is often present – a unique Asian fruit with a lot of useful properties.

Kung Keo Wang
Panang Gai (Red Curry)

Traditional Thai dishes have always been very spicy, and Papang Gai is no exception. Tender chicken slices, sprinkled with whipped coconut cream, acquire a fiery taste, falling under a thick gravy of red curry. But there is also a fresh note in the dish, obtained from lemongrass. White rice is an excellent side dish for this hot dish.

Red curry
Massaman curry

Massaman curry is nothing but Thai goulash. Everyone can try it, because the dish is not sharp, but at the same time full of fragrant spices. The main component here is the meat, cut into small pieces and fried with onions in a dressing of curry and coconut milk. Thai cuisine provides two standard side dishes for Massaman curry – potatoes or rice.

Massaman curry
Khau Phat

A simple but rather popular dish of rice-based national cuisine, which is sold in any Thai diner. First, the cereals are boiled, and then fried with pepper, onions and garlic, seasoned with Asian spices. After the rice is mixed with seafood or with pieces of chicken. Sometimes fruit (for example, pineapple) is added to the cereal. And, of course, a traditional lime slice is attached to the dish, giving freshness and juiciness. Some Khau Phat recipes allow the addition of eggs. It is noteworthy that the dish is very budget, so it is very popular with both locals and travelers.

Khau Phat

Sen khao soi

The best Thai dishes are full of flavors, but if you don’t surprise you with fried noodles and rice, then you should definitely try Sen Khao Soi soup. This food is most prevalent in northern Thailand, so you can order it in rare resort restaurants. The base of the soup is curry sauce broth, to which deep-fried egg noodles are added. The dish also includes onions, pickled cabbage, lime juice and chili.

Sen Khao Soi Soup
Plah Plow (grilled fish in salt)

Another delicacy of national cuisine that is worth a try for all seafood lovers is Plach Plow. For cooking use only fresh white fish. It is rubbed with salt, due to which a crispy crust forms during frying. The product must be seasoned with herbs, often adding palm leaves. The dish is thoroughly fried on the grill and flavored with hot additives. As a result, fish meat is tender and aromatic. At will, traditional noodles or boiled rice are ordered.

Plah plow
Gai pad met mamuang

If you still decide what to try in Thailand, then pay attention to this dish. Firstly, it is not sharp, but it is quite fragrant, and secondly, the main component here is chicken, so such food should be to the taste of opponents of seafood. Pieces of tender chicken are fried in a special pan with vegetables and spices, and then seasoned with cashews. This Thai delicacy is served, of course, with rice.

Gai pad med mamuang

Salads and snacks

In Thai cuisine, interesting recipes are also presented among salads with appetizers. The light and useful ingredients used in their preparation find themselves in unthinkable culinary combinations. Among the unusual dishes for a European, you should try:

Catfish there

Features of Thai cuisine are primarily in the ingredients used in it. Have you ever imagined a green papaya salad? It is this fruit that underlies Som Tama, which, among other things, includes garlic, onions, tomatoes and green beans. The final accord of the salad is shrimp and nuts, which give the dish a truly exotic taste. Sometimes, instead of shrimp, crab meat is added to Som Tam. For a fresh note, the salad is watered with lemon juice and a special fish sauce. It is noteworthy that the preparation of Som Tama does not do just cutting the ingredients: all the components are mixed and pounded in a special mortar. As a result, the dish is soft and juicy.

Catfish there
Spring rolls

Among national snacks, it is worth noting spring rolls – a light, dietary dish served in the form of an envelope with a filling. Rice paper serves as a wrapper for the filler, the preparation of which is a whole mass. The most popular in Thailand are toppings from chicken, seafood and vegetables. If you want to try the vegetarian option, then get ready for a bright combination of bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, garlic and rice noodles. Spring rolls with seafood, as a rule, can not do without king prawns. Different methods can be used to prepare a dish – both frying and steaming.

Spring rolls


While traveling in Thailand, not to try Thai national dishes, and especially desserts, would be a crime. Many of them include fruits, coconuts and, of course, rice. There is also delicious savory pastries. First of all, you should pay attention to:

Kao Newg Ma Muang

Among the desserts served in Thailand, genuine interest is a dish called Khao Newg Ma Muang. The dessert consists of three main ingredients: mango, sticky rice and coconut cream. A very unusual, but very tasty combination. Although it is a sweet dessert, many locals eat it for breakfast. You can buy and try Kao Newg Ma Muang both at street vendors and in cafes.

Kao Newg Ma Muang
Thai roti

In Thai cuisine, a dessert called roti is a pancake we all know. It is prepared from batter, which is stretched to the size of the thinnest cake. Chicken and egg, fruit, chocolate or simple sugar are added to the pancake as fillers. It is noteworthy that in reality roti is not a national dessert: the cooking recipe was borrowed by the Thais from the Indians, after which it was widely used throughout Thailand.

Coconut Ice Cream

This is exactly the dish of Thai cuisine, the photo of which can excite taste buds. For many, coconut ice cream may be associated with ice cream, sprinkled with chips, but it wasn’t there! The Thai version does include cream ice cream, but the dessert is supplemented not with chips, but with coconut milk, fruit jelly, grains of sweet rice and even bean beans. The serving of this dish is also very original: the balls are placed in peeled coconut with pulp.

Coconut Ice Cream

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Thailand is known worldwide for its incredible variety of fruits, many of which have such intricate shapes and shades that it is difficult to understand how to eat them. Most exotic tourists can enjoy the taste of most tourists, while others may like only a few. But to try each of them at least once definitely worth it.


A fruit that can cause conflicting feelings even among the most desperate gourmets. Opening the brown shell with spikes, inside you will see a yellowish-greenish fruit. Durian is famous for its unpleasant odor, although it tastes sweet and has a creamy touch. For obvious reasons, storing the fruit in a room or buying it as a souvenir is not recommended. But being in Thailand, you should definitely try exotic durian.

Durian fruit

The fruit is quite famous, characterized not only by sweet juiciness, but also by beneficial properties for the body. The pulp of the fetus, depending on ripening, may be yellow or green. In Thai cuisine, mango is used actively both in salads and desserts. And it is often used in the manufacture of cosmetics.

Exotic Fruit - Mango

This fruit is small in size with burgundy peel, on the outside it looks like an apple, and inside it resembles a head of garlic. The fruit has a sweet and sour aftertaste: someone compares it to sweetened grapefruit, but to someone it does seem like a mixture of grapes and peach.

Fruit Mangosteen
Dragon fruit

Beautiful outside and tasteless inside, the dragon frut (or pitahaya) does not live up to the expectations of tourists. A bright pink peel with green scales hides a snow-white fruit interspersed with black seeds. It would seem that such an intricate fruit should be very interesting in taste, but it is quite fresh and non-aromatic. Locals eat dragon fruit, after wetting the pulp with lime juice.

Dragon Fruit

Papaya is often used in national Thai cuisine, it is the main component of Som Tam salad. A ripe fruit with a neutral flavor is covered with a yellow shell, unripe – green. Papaya includes a lot of useful trace elements.

Papaya fruit
Passion fruit

A small fruit with a purple peel inside is filled with delicate sweet pulp. The fruit has a pleasant aroma, so it is often used in the manufacture of perfumes.

It looks like passion fruit

The fruit is covered with a thin brown shell, which makes it similar to the fruits of potatoes. Inside the sapodilla has a yellow-orange flesh, the aftertaste of which is distinguished by creamy and caramel notes.

Zapodilla Fruit

Longan is a miniature fruit of a transparent color, enclosed in a brownish shell. Outwardly, it resembles a walnut. Inside the fruit is a seed, which in no case should be eaten, since it is poisonous.

Tropical fruit longan

This is a rather large fruit with a spiky green peel, outwardly similar to the durian we have already described. Inside the pulp is yellow, has an interesting aroma. The sweet-tasting jackfruit slightly resembles a Duchess pear. The fruit is often used in Thai cuisine, added to salads and desserts.

Fruit jackfruit

This is one of the most popular fruits not only in Thailand, but throughout Asia. The hairy peel of bright red color covers a delicate white fruit, characterized by a sweetish, pleasant taste. Inside are small poisonous seeds, so you need to eat rambutan very carefully.

Exotic Rambutan Fruit

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Alcoholic drinks

We have already met with the best Thai dishes, and it’s time to talk about national drinks. In Thailand you will find a fairly rich selection of alcoholic beverages, which is distinguished by an affordable price and good quality. Rum, beer and berry wines are especially popular in the country. There are many variations of drinks, so we will only talk about the best, long-established brands:

Beer Chang
Beer Chang

This is a fairly young beer brand that has existed in the Thai market for no more than 10 years, but has managed to gain recognition from both local and tourists. The classic Chang beer has a hoppy finish and is characterized by increased strength (6.4%). However, the brand also offers varieties with a low alcohol content – Chang Draught (5%) and Chang Light (4.2%). Translated from Thai, Chang means “elephant”, the image of which adorns the label on the beer bottle.

Rum Sang Som
Rum Sang Som

Sang Som rum is the most exported national Thai drink, which is definitely worth a try on vacation. Despite the budget price, rum is of high quality and is sold in beautiful bottles. The strength of the drink is 40%, but at the same time its taste is soft and pleasant. In stores you can find bottles of 0.3 liters and 0.7 liters. Sang Som rum will be an interesting and inexpensive gift from Thailand.


Thai cuisine is a real discovery for many travelers. Unusual product combinations and a varied flavoring palette of dishes allow everyone here to find food to their liking. At the same time, most dishes are dietary and healthy, which undoubtedly will be appreciated by adherents of a healthy diet.

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