The Best Thai Food You Can’t Miss Out On

Thai cuisine is the official food of Thailand. Thai cookery emphasizes each of its gracefully arranged plates with strong, fragrant ingredients and a zesty twist. Thai food demonstrates intricacy, attention to detail, texture, color, taste, and ingredients that are beneficial both medicinally and therapeutically, as well as having an incredible flavor. Thorough attention is devoted to the smell, context, and appearance of the food. Dissimilar to numerous other cuisines, the art of Thai cookery targets the use of many ingredients for creating the perfect finale. Similar to a complicated instrumental chord, it should possess an even surface but the appearance beneath the surface is unimportant. This cuisine should not be dictated by simplicity.

Gaeng (Curries)

Customary Thai cookery can be easily categorized into four distinct sections – Tom (simmered plates), Yam (spiced salads), Tam (pulverized staples), and Gaeng (curries.) Deep-fried dishes, steamed dishes, and stir-fried dishes are derived from Chinese culinary arts.

During 2017, seven Thai plates were listed as the ‘World’s 50 Best Foods,’ according to an electronically performed survey by CNN Travel of 35,000 people globally. Thailand entered more foods on this list than did any other nation. These dishes were Tom Yam Goong (4th,) Dad Thai (5th,) Som Tam (6th,) Massaman Curry (10th,) Green Curry (19th,) Thai Fried Rice (24th,) and Mu Nam Tok (36th.)

Historical Impact

The skill of vegetal shaping is believed to have started in the Sukhothai Kingdom close to seven-hundred years ago. Thai cooking and its food practices, as well as dishes of Thailand’s neighbors, have equally impacted the other throughout the span of hundreds of years. A Thai monk once wrote that Thai cuisine was influenced by Indian cuisine. He also wrote that the people of Thailand began to adopt the use of spices for their dishes in numerous ways from the people of India. Thai people also adopted the techniques for concocting herbal medicine from the Indians. Certain plants, such as Sarabhi from the Guttiferae family, Kanika/Harsinghar, Phikun/Mimusops Elengi, and Bunnak/The Rose Chestnut, etc. were also derived from Indian cooking.

Khao Kha Mu

Many types of food that are favorites in Thailand today were formerly Chinese cuisines. These foods were introduced into Thai cuisine by the Hokkien people beginning in the 1400s and by the Teochew people who began inhabiting the area in greater numbers from the late 1700s forward, mostly in the large cities and small towns. Today, they make up the bulk of Thai foods. These plates involve Chok, Rice Porridge, Salapao (steamed buns), Kuaitiao Rat Na (fried rice noodles), and Khao Kha Mu (stewed pork with rice.) The Chinese also presented the people of Thailand with the wok for cooking – an apparatus used for deep-frying and stir-frying foods like certain kinds of noodles, Taochiao (fermented bean paste,) tofu, and various soy sauces. Originally introduced by merchants and then by colonists of these regions while using dry seasonings, the menus of India and Persia had given growth in popularity of Thai revisions and plates such as Kaeng Kari (yellow curry) and Kaeng Matsaman (Massaman curry.)

Originating in the Americas, chili peppers were initially brought to Thailand by the Spanish and the Portuguese. Beginning in the year 1511 when the first political quest of the Portuguese came to the court of Ayutthaya, the influence of the West allowed them to create plates such as foi thong (the Thai adaptation of the Portuguese fios de ovos) and sangkhaya in which coconut milk takes the place of cow’s milk when preparing a custard. These dishes were believed to have been introduced to Thailand in the 1600s by Maria Guyomar de Pinha – a biracial woman of Japanese ancestry, Portuguese, ancestry, and Bengali ancestry. She was born in Ayutthaya and later married Constantine Phaulkon, who was King Narai’s Greek adviser. The most significant impact of the West may be the presentation of the chili pepper in the 1500s or 1600s from the Americas. This staple, along with rice, have since become two of the most essential features of the Thai menu. Portuguese and Spanish ships transported new foods from the Americas like tomatoes, corn, papaya, pea eggplants, pineapple, pumpkins, cilantro, cashews, and peanuts during the Columbian Exchange.

Provincial Variants

Northern Thai Cuisine

Provincial variants often link to neighboring provinces and often share a similar cultural background/ethnicity on each side of the border, as well as similar geography and climates. Thai food of the North tends to share similar plates with Shan State in Burma, with the Yunnan Province in Northern China, and also with Northern Laos. The foods of Isan (in Northeastern Thailand) are comparable to those of Southern Laos and also uses the influence of Khmer cuisine of Cambodia and its Southern region, and of the Vietnamese cuisine in the East. Southern Thailand uses many dishes that involve large quantities of fresh turmeric and coconut milk. They share that commonality with the cuisines of India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Thai food is more correctly conveyed as consisting of five regional cuisines, which correspond to the five main regions of Thailand:

Cuisine of the Bangkok/Metropolitan area

Food flavors and appearances in Bangkok that have transformed slightly over time as other cuisines (such as Asian, European, or other Western countries) have influenced them. Because of Teochew and Portuguese influences, Bangkok cuisine has been impacted by more dedicated, royal cuisine as a capital city.

Cuisine of Central Thailand

Food of the level and wet/central rice-cultivating plains, place for the early Thai empires of Sukhothai/Ayutthaya, and the Dvaravati culture of the Mon people prior to the arrival of the Siamese in this region. Coconut milk is a major ingredient used for Central Thai cooking.

Cuisine of Isan or NorthEastern Thailand

Food of the drier Khorat Plateau that is culturally comparable to Laos and is also inspired by Khmer cooking. The best-recognized constituent is most likely pla ra (fermented fish.)

Cuisine of Northern Thailand

Food of the wooded mountains and the cooler valleys, the Thai highlands were formerly ruled by the early Lanna Kingdom and were home to the Lannaese (which made up the majority of northern Thailand.) This cooking style uses many of the same ingredients as does Isan.

Cuisine of Southern Thailand

Food of the Kra Isthmus, with much of its cuisine based on Hainanese and Cantonese influence.

Royal Cuisine

Thai royal culinary arts date back to the Ayutthaya kingdom (1351 – 1767, CE) and their Cosmopolitan Palace dishes, along with regional cuisines. The refinement of each dish, the preparation methods used, the appearance exhibited, and the usage of each ingredient all greatly influenced the cooking in the central Thai plains.


Thai food was initially consumed by the hands of people who sat on mats/carpets or on coffee tables/the floor in upper- or middle-class families. Some of the Thai traditions continue to be practiced within more old-fashioned family circles. Today however, the majority of Thai people dine with a fork/spoon. Dining tables/chairs were presented for more of a Westernization effect when King Mongkut, Rama IV reigned. King Chulalongkorn is known for his introduction of the fork and the spoon after returning from a European tour in 1897, CE.

Khao khluk kapi

Imperative to Thai cuisine is the custom of Khluk – combining the flavors/textures of separate foods with one’s rice. A customary porcelain spoon is utilized for the soup, and knives usually have no use during meals. It is commonly practiced by both the Thais and by the hill tribe peoples living in Lanna and Isan to first roll their sticky rice into small (and sometimes flattened) balls by hand (traditionally only the right hand,) which are then eaten after being dipped in various sauces.

Chopsticks were seen as alien tools by a great number of the ethnic groups of Thailand (except for the Thai Chinese) and several other cultures, like the Akha people who recently arrived from the Yunnan Province of China. Historically, most of the traditional Thai people would eat with their hands, as did the people of India. Chopsticks are mainly used in Thailand for eating Chinese-style nPodle soups or at Chinese, Japanese, or Korean restaurants. Stir fried noodle dishes, such as pad Thai, and curry-noodle dishes, such as Khanom Chin Nam Ngiao, are also consumed with a fork/spoon in the Thai style.

Khao pad

Thai cuisine usually consists of rice (‘khao’) with lots of additional plates that are enjoyed by the whole table. Each is served at once (this includes any soup,) and it is also characteristic of Thai dining standards to supply more than there are people sitting at the table. Traditionally, a Thai family’s dinner/lunch typically consists of rice and numerous dishes, which ought to pose as a nice array of tastes and consistencies, as well as formulation techniques. Ideally, a meal should be comprised of a minimum five groups –

Nam Phrik

A dip/relish for raw/cooked veggies (Khrueang Chim.) This is the most important part of any Thai meal. Khrueang Chim is thought to be one of the basic plates of Thai food by Chef McDang. It might be a spicy chili sauce or relish known as Nam Phrik (raw/cooked chilies and other ingredients that are mixed together) or a kind of dip that is made with coconut milk called Ion. Additional constituents consist of a clear soup (maybe a spicy tom yam or a more mild tom chuet,) a curry/stew (basically any plate having a kaeng prefix,) a plate that is deep-fried, and a stir-fried plate of meat, fish, vegetables, and/or seafood.

Nam Chim

Most Thai diners have a vast assortment of Thai condiments (Nam Chim) and sauces, whether they be supplied to the table by a server or have already been places on the table in sealed jars. The options might include Phrik Nam Pla/Nam Pla Phrik (garlic, lime juice, chopped chilies, and fish sauce,) dried chili flakes, sweet chili sauce, sliced chili peppers inside rice vinegar, sugar, and Sriracha sauce. Amongst particular plates, such as Khao Kha Mu (pork trotter stewed in soy sauce and served with rice,) entire Thai peppers and fresh garlic are served together with the sour chili sauce. Cucumbers are, at times, consumed in order to chill the mouth after eating especially spicy foods. These foods are usually used as a decoration on the plate, often with one-dish meals. The plain rice, the sticky rice, or the Khanom Chin (Thai rice noodles) placed beside a zesty Thai curry/stir fry usually counteracts its spiciness.

Khao kaeng

Whenever you’re on a tight schedule or when you’re dining solo, individual dishes (like fried rice or noodle soups) are both filling and quick. Alternately, you can have just one serving or a smaller portion of curry, stir fries, or additional foods that are eaten simultaneously with a small serving of rice. This method of food preparation is known as khao rat kaeng (‘rice covered with curry,’) or, for short, khao kaeng (‘rice curry.’) Restaurants and cafes that are geared toward previously-made foods are usually the best location to visit if you’d like to have a meal in this manner. Such locations will provide you with a vast exhibit of the different dishes from which one can choose. Thais will indicate whether or not they’d like for their meal to be served on a series of separate little plates or all together on a single large plate with rice (‘rat khao.’) Quite often, when placing an order with such venues, other dining establishments will then add an assortment of freshly made ‘rice curry’ plates into their menus for individual clientele.


Thailand encompasses a somewhat similar amount of land as Spain and it necessitates a length of about 1,650 kilometers (or 1,025 miles.) In comparison, Italy is approximately 1,250 kilometers, or 775 miles, in length with tropical rainforests/islands in the south, an elevated plateau in the northeast, a lush river basin in the center, and the Himalayan foothills in the north. There are more than forty definitive indigenous peoples, each with a special culture and language. It is not surprising that Thai food in general uses many diverse ingredients and methods for cooking each dish.

Thai cuisine is most popular for its passionate usage of garden-fresh (never dried) herbs, spices, and seasonings. Customary flavorings of Thai foods include garlic, galangal, cilantro/coriander, lemon grass, shallots, pepper, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, chilies, and fish sauce. Palm sugar is derived from the sap of specific Borassus palms and is utilized for sweetening certain foods, while the lime and the tamarind add a sour taste. Animal proteins that are utilized for Thai cooking typically consist of chicken, pork, duck, water buffalo, and beef. Goat/mutton is hardly ever used (except by the Muslim Thais.) Wild game (i.e. wild boar, deer and wild birds) is decreasing in popularty because of a loss of habitat when contemporary techniques of rigorous animal farming were introduced in the 1960s, as well as the growth of agribusinesses like Thai Charoen Pokphand Foods. Customarily, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans have a crucial part in the diets of the Thai populace.