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What Food To Eat In Thailand

What Food To Eat In Thailand

When traveling abroad, it's not always easy to know what food to order and what should go with it. Thailand is no exception but most restaurants have their menus in Thai and English and often with photos to give you a good visual of what you'll be getting.

What food to order in Thailand or Bangkok is down to what you like and whether you can eat spicy food or not because a lot, not all, of Thai food is spicy.

Note: Thais eat with either spoons and forks or chop sticks. It's 90% spoons and forks which makes eating Thai food easy but if you ask for a knife, they'll happily provide one.

Below is the beginning to a more comprehensive guide to Thai food with images and what you can expect when ordering at Thai restaurants.

Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice served in ThailandFried Rice is a simple, cheap and yet very tasty dish. It is usually made with onions, eggs and some chopped spring onions but some cooks add tomatoes, garlic and even cabbage or other vegetables.

Be specific about what kind of fried rice you want because generally, you add meat or seafood but you can have egg fried rice or garlic fried rice.

Kao Pad + Kai = egg fried rice
Kao Pad + Gai = chicken fried rice

+ Neua = beef
+ Moo = Pork
+ Gratium = Garlic
+ Goong = Shrimp
+ Pla-meuk = Squid
+ Pla = Fish

Green Curry

Thai Green CurryThai Green Curry is probably the most commonly eaten Thai dish outside of Thailand. Made from coconut milk, a spicy paste, lime leaves, palm sugar and meat of choice, a green curry always pleases and can be eaten with plain rice or fried rice.

Thai green curry is generally made the same way but it can vary. Some chefs add different vegetables but the flavour only changes slightly. Beef and chicken make for the best green curries but you can add pork, shrimp or fish.


A curry is never as good freshly made as when it's been allowed to stand for a few hours.
Whilst you can get a green curry from the street and cheaper places, it's likely their ingredients will be cheaper. Fish will be fish balls, chicken will be the legs or thighs and beef of poor quality so we suggest eating this dish at a restaurant.

Thai Name: Gaeng Keo Waan + Neua (beef), Gai (Chicken), Moo (pork)

Red Curry

Thai Red CurryThe red version of the Green Curry, Thai red curry is not as popular as but is still very nice and enjoyable. Made from coconut milk, a spicy paste, bamboo, palm sugar and meat of choice, a red curry makes for a nice change and can be eaten with plain rice or fried rice.

Thai red curry is generally made the same way but it can vary. Some chefs add different vegetables but the flavour only changes slightly. Beef and chicken make for the best red curries but you can add pork, shrimp or fish.

Thai Name: Gaeng Daeng + Neua (beef), Gai (Chicken), Moo (pork)

Northern Crispy Noodle Curry

Northern Thailand Crispy Noodle CurryKao Soi is a northern Thailand dish and is common in Chiang Mai. It's a spicy curry soup type dish with crispy noodles and chicken (often a chicken leg). If you can take the spiciness of the dish, it's delicious to eat.

Served in a soup bowl and with chop sticks, the main dish is complimented with a smaller dish of condiments which you can add or ignore. One of the condiments is an oily red chili paste which is a killer because the paste floats on top of the soup and so when you slurp it into your mouth, it hits the back of your throat and the coughing and spluttering begins.

Unless you are a seasoned veteran with spicy food, enjoy the dish without adding the condiments apart from the veggies.

This is a superb dish; full of flavour and well worth trying for lunch or as a quick top up meal.

Thai Name: Kao Soy Gai = Kao Soy with chicken

Dried Pork Strips

Thai style dried pork stripsDried Pork Strips (Moo Ded Deo) is a side dish made up of strips of dried pork often with a sprinkling of sesame seeds; a little bit like a pork jerky but the pork has been quickly deep fried. The dish is served with a small bowl of mashed chili and other vegetables and the pork tastes so much better if dipped into the sauce which is, in general, not too spicy..

Order this as a side dish to your main meal or as a snack with a pint of beer. It always goes down a treat.

Thai Name: Moo Ded Deo

Spicy Minced Chicken On Rice

Graprao Gai. Minced pork on riceOne of our favourite dishes as it's tasty, cheap and filling. Spicy Minced Chicken on rice is known as Graprao Gai and often comes with a fried egg on top, which, to most Westerners might seem odd but it goes so well that you'll probably always eat this dish with the egg. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it, but most waitresses / waiters will ask the question.

Most places don't put green beans with this dish but some do and we find that annoying as it changes the flavour. This dish can be spicy so if ordering ad "mai ped" which means "not spicy".

This dish, as with almost every Thai dish, comes with a very small bowl of fish sauce with chopped chilies and probably garlic. At the very least, sprinkle some of the fish sauce over the dish as this will enhance the flavour as it's used instead of salt. Only add a sprinkle at a time otherwise it can become too salty.

Thai Name: Graprao Gai
To add the egg: Graprao Gai, Kai Dao.

Stir Fried Flat Rice Noodles With Chicken

Ku Gai - stir fried flat rice noodles with chickenThis is another tasty, cheap and very filling meal. It's basically thick flat white rice noodles, fried with meat of your choice (generally chicken or pork) with chopped spring onions, bean sprouts and finely chopped up scrambled eggs.

This dish is also served with the small bowl of fish sauce, chopped chilies and garlic.

We strongly urge you to add the garlic and a sprinkle of the fish sauce as this will greatly improve the flavour.

Thai Name: Kua Gai

Stir Fried Flat Rice Noodles With Chicken (2)

Pad See Eu is a delicious Thai food noodle dish found in Bangkok and ThailandThis is very similar to the dish above. It's basically thick flat white rice noodles, fried with meat of your choice (generally chicken or pork) with chopped spring onions, Chinese broccoli and finely chopped up scrambled eggs.

Served as above, the difference in this dish is that black soy sauce is added making the noodles come out brown.

Noodles can be thin, medium or thick like the photo but we prefer to eat the dish as shown as it feels more substantial.

Thai Name: Pad See Eu (Thick noodles = Pad See Eu Sen Yai)

Stir Fried Chicken In Ginger

Pad See Eu is a delicious Thai food noodle dish found in Bangkok and ThailandChicken In Ginger is another popular Thai dish eaten outside of Thailand. It's easy to cook and the ingredients are easy to find and makes for a fresh tasting and fairly healthy meal.

Eaten with either steamed or fried rice, it comes with onions, spring onions, mushrooms and plenty of sauce to help moisten the plain rice you might eat it with.

This common Thai dish is eaten all over Thailand and might be a good choice for anyone wanting to eat Thai food without being too adventurous or spicy.

Thai Name: Gai Pad King

Stir Fried Beef In Oyster Sauce

Pad See Eu is a delicious Thai food noodle dish found in Bangkok and ThailandAnother popular dish outside Thailand, beef in oyster sauce is a simple yet tasty dish eaten with steamed or fried rice.

Don't be put off by the word "oyster". There is nothing fish tasting or seafood tasting about this sauce and it ends up looking and tasting more like gravy than anything fishy, so you'll really be eating beef in a gravy.

The quality of the beef is certainly a deciding factor in this dish so aim to eat this at a reasonably decent restaurant.

Beef in Oyster Sauce has quite a lot of mushrooms, onions and spring onions but some restaurants might add different vegetables.

Thai Name: Neua Pad Nam Mun Hoy

Spicy Soup With Shrimp

Tom Yum Goong is a spicy shrimp soup favoured in ThailandThis spicy soup is a huge favourite amongst the Thais and frequently ordered as part of an evening meal. Thais call it Som Tum Goong.

Usually ordered with shrimps, this is a lemon grass, lime leaf and galangal based, clear soup that can be very spicy which hits the back of the throat if slurped.

It is a very light soup so order other food to go with it. The idea is that the soup comes in a large bowl and then smaller bowls provided into which you'll spoon your soup and eat from there.

Som Tum Goong is a tasty soup in its own right but for real flavour ask them to add coconut milk as this thickens it up and really enhances the flavour and the best place we've eaten this dish is at The Front Page which is a small cafe / restaurant on Saladaeng road just behind the HSBC bank building.

The picture above shows the soup with coconut milk added.

Thai Name: Tom Yum Goong (Tom Yum is the soup, Goong means shrimp)

Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon = Tom Yum with shrimp and coconut milk

Creamy Spicy Chicken Soup

Creamy spicy chicken soupThis is a very tasty, slightly spicy, creamy chicken soup made creamy and flavoursome by the addition of coconut milk and galangal.

The spicy aspect is there but it is very subtle and so it's probably more palatable than the Tom Yum Goong above.

Often served as shown in the image which means there's a fire underneath keeping the soup hot. Small bowls are provided into which you spoon your personal helping of soup, chicken, mushrooms and other vegetables....not all are to be eaten.

Thai Name: Tom Ka Gai

Stuffed Omelette

Kai Jeo Yad Sai is a Thai style stuffed omeletteThis is a Thai take on an omelette but not what you'll get for breakfast from your hotel. It's more of a wrap than an omelette.

The omelette is made wide an thin in a pan, topped with lots of onions, tomatoes and minced pork. Some people add tomato sauce for a stronger flavour. The omelette is then wrapped around those ingredients and it's served with a side dish or chili sauce.

This is a good dish for breakfast or lunch but you can eat it any time.

When you cut open the omelette, it releases the contents which, because of the tomatoes and onions, is fairly runny and a little messy to eat.

Thai Name: Kai Jeo Yad Sai

Spring Rolls

deep fried spring rollsMost people like spring rolls and they are very common in Thailand. Most spring rolls come with either pork or prawns but they are usually pre-prepared so you can order specifically, you should ask what they have but some restaurants might have a choice. Just be careful if you have an allergy to shrimps.

Thai spring rolls are deep fried and crispy if sold in a restaurant. The street food versions might look the same but they will be mainly vegetables and will be a little soggy. Only buy if you see them freshly fried

Spring rolls generally come with a sweet plum dipping sauce or possibly a sweet chili sauce.

Thai Name: Bo Pia Tod

Thai Style Fresh Spring Rolls

fresh spring rolls as served in Bangkok and ThailandThis is the healthy version of the spring roll and sold throughout Thailand.

This is more of a wrap that a spring roll whereby each is wrapped in a thin rice wrapper and filled with mint leaves, prawns or pork, vermicelli noodles and sometimes chopped carrots.

The idea is that the wrapper is there just to hold the ingredients inside rather than being much of a flavour enhancer..

These are very healthy to eat and not heavy on the stomach but they can be dry in the mouth and so take a bit of chewing and a gulp of water / beer to help get down. Good ones have almost whole shrimps inside.

Thai Name: Goyteo Lui Suan

Chicken Satay

Thai style chicken satayChicken Satay is a delicious Thai snack that can be ordered in a restaurant or from the street.

Satay chicken is just thin strips of chicken grilled on a barbeque style grill and skewerd on thin wooden sticks and served with a peanut dipping sauce.

This classic Thai dish is great on its own or eaten with sticky rice.

Thai Name: Gai Sa-Tay (Gai Ping)

Deep Fried Fish

Deep fried fishWe love deep fried fish. It's to die for; especially if the fish is really fresh and not overly fried.

The whole fish is lowered into a vat of boiling fat and allowed to deep fry but it should be just enough so the outside is a crispy golden colour but the meat inside is still white and juicy.

The fish is serve with a spicy seafood dipping sauce which you spoon over your share of the fish.

This really is a great Thai dish but if ordering it in a group, don't expect to get much more than a taster as there is not often much to go round as deep frying it tends to shrink it. It's also quite expensive when compared to other food on the menu. It's best to order this between two people..three max.

Thai Name: Goyteo Lui Suan

Red Pork Stuffed Roll

fresh spring rolls as served in Bangkok and ThailandWe're not sure the exact English translation of this dish so it's best to describe it.

This is essentially a noodle type wrap but stuffed with shredded red pork and mushrooms served in a type of gravy with more muchrooms as a topping..

This dish, although Thai, has Chinese characteristics and can be eaten alone as a side dish or with rice.

Thai Name: Goyteo Lord





durian is a very popular seasonal fruit in ThailandDurian is a very popular, seasonal fruit widely eaten in Thailand. Many say it is a very smelly fruit and many hotels ban it but get the right one and it's delicious..

There are a few types of Durian with Mongtong being the most favoured.

Street vendors sell it by the kilo during March, April, May times. It's either freshly cut out of the spiky shell or sold already cut out. Fairly soft "meat" inside is the best texture.


Thai mango and sticky rice is very popular in ThailandMango is another seasonal fruit and very popular and cheap. When in season, Mangos are stacked high on vendors carts.

Yellow mangos are the sweet kind and the green ones a little sour. Mangos are fairly cheap when in season and sold by the kilo and you cut them up yourself. Some super markets have then pre-cut for you.

A ripe mango should be a little soft to the touch and then it's juicy and sweet.

As the image above shows, Thais love to eat mango with sticky rice so why not try this as an option ?

Thai name: Mamuang

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