Thai cuisine has become hugely popular outside of Thailand, and the country’s dishes are now widely available worldwide, from London to Las Vegas. But suppose you want to experience genuine Thai cuisine and enjoy the authentic flavors that made it famous. In that case, you should participate in fun traditional Thai experiences such as floating markets and elephant riding. Here are five popular Thai dishes that you should make sure to try.
Tom Yum Kung
One of Thailand’s most popular dishes, Tom Yum Kung, is a clear soup that you can find at every street-side vendor in Thailand. This delicious soup is made with many types of mushrooms and chili peppers to provide a delightful flavor. This meal has complex and rich flavors that will keep you coming back for more.
If you visit a Thai restaurant, try Tom Yum Kung there! You can serve the dish as an appetizer or a main course. The best way to eat this soup is to mix it up with some fried garlic, adding another dimension of flavor. Be warned: this dish can be spicy depending on how much chili pepper it contains, so make sure to ask your server before ordering.
The name Khau Kling translates to mix and eat in English. The dish is a mixture of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy ingredients. Some versions of Khau Kling include fresh vegetables like bean sprouts or cucumbers, and you can eat either a hot or cold dish with sticky rice or bread for dipping. It is delicious and served as an appetizer or main course. You can make Khau Kling from tamarind sauce, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chilies, coriander root, and lemongrass. It’s available at many restaurants that serve authentic Thai cuisine.
A local favourite, Massaman curry, is prepared using coconut milk and is flavored with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and anise. The dish was first by Muslim merchants returning from trade in Southeast Asia. Served alongside chicken or beef and steamed rice, Massaman is a great way to try authentic Thai cuisine for beginners. It’s also one of the more mild dishes on this list, so if you don’t have a strong stomach but want to experience Thai food, start here.
The taste is rich and sweet, with hints of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and peppercorns. One thing that makes it stand out among other dishes is its red color, which comes from the dried longan fruit used as a substitute for tomatoes in some recipes.
Sticky Rice with Mangoes
For a lighter alternative to rice, try eating sticky rice (also known as sweet or glutinous rice) with mangoes. The combo has long been popular among locals for dessert and is also great for meal time. The stickiness of sticky rice can be a little intimidating at first, but if you dig your fork into it and pull up a handful, you’ll find that it’s not so different from any other kind of rice—and even has its unique taste and texture.
To eat this dish, peel the skin off the top layer of the rice and sprinkle over some sugar, fresh coconut milk, and chopped fresh mango. Use a spoon to mix it all before digging in! According to many, the result is an irresistibly refreshing snack that blends the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
One of Thailand’s most well-known dishes, bami, consists of fried noodles topped with various types of meat such as shrimp, chicken, or pork belly. Dried fish: Dried fish isn’t exactly what one would call a traditional Thai dish, but still worth trying out at least once in their lifetime. A staple of traditional Thai cooking, bami is served alongside many different dishes and will give your meal a more savory taste.
Bami comes in several variations, including white rice that has been steamed or boiled and then sautéed together with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and eggs. The dish has a mild flavor and is perfect for those who are hesitant to try other Thai flavors.
If you’re looking for something with a bit of spice, look no further than khao soi! Known as Northern Thailand’s signature dish, this creamy coconut curry soup has a spicy ginger-chili paste and green onions on top. Though you can eat it alone, khao soi pairs well with other dishes like fish cakes or stir-fried chicken.
A hearty Northern dish, Khao Soi is a fried noodle dish made of rice noodles and can be served mild or spicy. This Northern specialty is often served with chicken, pork, beef, or egg and topped with pickled cabbage. The delicious aroma wafting from every Khao Soi carton leaves you craving for more.
Eating authentic ethnic cuisine is a great way to explore new cultures. Even if you’re not quite ready to book your flight to Thailand, you can experience some of that culture by visiting an authentic Thai restaurant in your area. If you want to make a night of it, break out your chopsticks and invite friends over for dinner. Cheers!