This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 01:17 pm
Thailand is a paradise for lovers of good food. Just like faith, eating is an important part of life in Thailand. There are hundreds of delicious dishes to choose from. Once you taste the famous “Pad Thai” there is no turning back. The night markets, the street food, and the atmospheric small restaurants provide an unprecedented eating sensation! Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about eating delicious food in Thailand.
The food in Thailand has a great variety. This is mainly because they combine many flavors and spices in dishes. This makes eating in Thailand a feast for people who love good food. The food in Thailand is known as one of the most tasteful in the world.
The best-known ingredients are vegetables, fish, and rice. Thailand is even the second largest rice exporter in the world. A lot of vegetables and fruits are also grown in Thailand. A fruit salad or fruit shake is available nearly everywhere. They also have many herbs that give the food extra taste and fragrance. Like many Asian countries, the dishes in Thailand are quite spicy.
Thai Street Food
In Thailand, you will see many small food stalls, especially in the evening, where they sell street food. Although this is a strange appearance for most of the western population, these foods are an absolute must-try during your trip through Thailand! Eating this street food is delicious and definitely not dangerous to your health.
What Does Thai Food Taste Like?
Many Thai dishes are based on rice, which is not surprising given the position of Thailand in rice exports. In addition to rice, a lot of fresh vegetables are used in the dishes. They use a lot of herbs, which they use to flavor Thai food. The rice is often combined with fresh vegetables, meat, and fish.
Tip for vegetarians: Vegetarians have a choice of different fresh dishes. If you can’t find vegetarian dishes on the menu, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Ask for it in the restaurant or at your hostel/hotel.
Thai Street Food
Are you going to Thailand for the first time and are you a bit hesitant about trying the local dishes? No worries. Thailand is pretty well geared towards tourists and there is plenty of Western food to get. However, we do recommend everyone to at least try some of the local dishes. The local food is really delicious. Often you will find the tastiest food at the small food stalls. And often only for a few dollars!
Distinguished Flavors in Thai Food
In Thai cuisine, you can distinguish four flavors: sour, bitter, salty, and sweet. And every chef, whether in a restaurant or a food stall, strives to add a lot of variety to their dishes.
Lemongrass, basil, coriander, laos, chili, garlic, lime juice, coconut milk, and fermented fish sauce are just some of the typical ingredients that bring these dishes to life. Below we will give you an overview of some well-known Thai dishes.
Rice and Noodles
Rice and noodles, together with curry, are the most sold, especially in food stalls on the street. Noodles come in different variants. There is kway tiaw (made with rice flour) and ba mii (egg noodles).
The most famous of all is pad thai (or phad tai), a delicious combination of noodles (usually kway tiaw), egg, tofu, and spring onions, sprinkled with ground peanuts and often combined with small dried shrimps.
TIP – If you want to try noodles, go for the Ba Mii (or Ba-Mee) noodles made from egg and flour. Very tasty!
The Thai Curry (kaeng) is a well-known dish. It consists of a mix of herbs, spices, garlic, shallots, and ground peppers. The curry was imported from India a long time ago. Curries that are not made with coconut cream are less sweet and thinner.
These look more like soup. Other curries, such as kaeng karii and kaeng matsaman (with potatoes, peanuts and mostly beef), are slightly more firm. Typical Thai curries are kaeng khiaw wan, kaeng phet and kaeng phanaeng.
Delicious noodles, vegetables, spices, and beef at Thai Express
A less well-known dish of Thai cuisine is the salad. Salads come in many variations – with noodles, meat, fish or vegetables – but the core of each salad is a dash of lime juice and a little pepper. Salads that you should try are yam som oh, yam hua plee (banana flowers) and yam plaa duk foo (fried catfish).
Thai Wok Dishes
Stir-frying is indicated by “pat” and this style came over from China. The wok dishes in Thailand are very tasty and available at every food stall on the street. Vegetables, fish, and meat are a staple of every wok dish.
Chopsticks are intended for noodles only. Sticky rice is always eaten with the right hand. Never eat with your left hand, which is used when visiting the toilet. Eating is done with a fork (left) and a spoon (right). You don’t get a knife because the food is presented ready to eat. With every meal you will get steamed rice (khao).
Drinks in Thailand
The drinks in Thailand are not as special as the food. Yet there is plenty to try. Lovers of tea, fruit shakes, and cheap beer are at the right place here.
Tea and Coffee
The locals mainly drink tea. The Thai iced tea is very well-known and it cannot be compared with the iced tea in the western world. Tea is often served with meals, usually for free. They also drink a lot of coffee. They even have their own version of Starbucks in Thailand in the form of Black Canyon Coffee.
The two most famous beers (bia) are Singha and Chang, but many travelers opt for less strong Singhas or Leo. In the stores, you will pay around 30 baht ($0.95) for a 330 ml beer. There are also all kinds of more expensive foreign beers available in Thailand, including Heineken and Asahi. In the more touristy areas, you can get imported bottles of wine from all over the world.
Tap Water in Thailand
Tap water in Thailand is not drinkable! This can lead to stomach flu and diarrhea. You can find water bottles everywhere on the street and in supermarkets. Make sure that these are still firmly closed when you buy them and that they are not refilled!
Plastic bottles with drinking water (nam plao) are sold throughout Thailand. Even in the smallest villages. You have to pay around 10 baht ($0.30) for a bottle of water.