22 Must Try Dishes of Thai Cuisine if You Travel to Thailand

Thailand's cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors, aromatic spices, and diverse textures. Thai food is a delightful journey through a variety of dishes that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. Here are 22 must-try dishes that showcase the best of Thai cuisine.

1. Pad Thai (ผัดไทย)

Description: Pad Thai is one of Thailand's most famous dishes. It consists of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, tofu, shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, and peanuts. It's typically garnished with lime wedges and fresh herbs like cilantro.

Flavors: This dish balances sweet, sour, and salty flavors, often achieved with tamarind paste, fish sauce, and a bit of sugar.

2. Tom Yum Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง)

Description: Tom Yum Goong is a hot and sour soup with shrimp, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed chili peppers.

Flavors: The soup is known for its spicy and sour profile, complemented by the fresh taste of shrimp and fragrant herbs.

3. Som Tum (ส้มตำ)

Description: Som Tum, or green papaya salad, is made with shredded unripe papaya, tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, and chilies.

Flavors: It offers a combination of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet tastes, with a crunchy texture from the papaya and peanuts.

4. Massaman Curry (มัสมั่น)

Description: Massaman Curry is a rich, relatively mild curry with influences from Indian and Malay cuisines. It typically includes beef or chicken, potatoes, peanuts, and a complex spice blend.

Flavors: This curry is known for its creamy, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor with a hint of spice from cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise.

5. Green Curry (แกงเขียวหวาน)

Description: Green Curry is a popular Thai curry made with green curry paste, coconut milk, meat (chicken, beef, or pork), and vegetables like eggplant and bell peppers.

Flavors: It has a spicy, slightly sweet, and aromatic flavor, thanks to the fresh green chilies, herbs, and coconut milk.

6. Khao Pad (ข้าวผัด)

Description: Khao Pad is Thai fried rice, typically made with jasmine rice, eggs, onions, garlic, and a choice of protein like chicken, shrimp, or crab.

Flavors: It’s seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, and sometimes a bit of sugar, offering a savory and slightly sweet taste.

7. Pad Krapow Moo Saap (ผัดกะเพราหมูสับ)

Description: This is a popular Thai street food dish made with minced pork stir-fried with Thai holy basil, garlic, chili, and soy sauce. It’s usually served with rice and a fried egg on top.

Flavors: The dish is spicy, savory, and aromatic from the holy basil.

8. Tom Kha Gai (ต้มข่าไก่)

Description: Tom Kha Gai is a coconut milk soup with chicken, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, and chilies.

Flavors: It offers a balance of spicy, sour, and creamy flavors with a distinct fragrance from the herbs.

9. Laab (ลาบ)

Description: Laab is a spicy salad from northeastern Thailand, made with minced meat (usually pork or chicken), lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and ground toasted rice.

Flavors: It’s known for its tangy, spicy, and savory taste, with a crunchy texture from the toasted rice.

10. Panang Curry (พะแนง)

Description: Panang Curry is a thick, creamy curry made with Panang curry paste, coconut milk, meat (beef or chicken), and kaffir lime leaves.

Flavors: It’s less spicy than other Thai curries and has a sweet, nutty flavor with a hint of citrus from the lime leaves.

11. Gaeng Daeng (แกงแดง)

Description: Gaeng Daeng, or Red Curry, is made with red curry paste, coconut milk, meat, and vegetables like bamboo shoots and bell peppers.

Flavors: This curry is known for its rich, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor, with a creamy texture from the coconut milk.

12. Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย)

Description: Khao Soi is a northern Thai dish consisting of egg noodles in a rich, creamy curry broth, topped with crispy fried noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, and ground chilies fried in oil.

Flavors: The dish has a complex flavor profile, combining the creamy coconut milk with the savory and slightly tangy toppings.

13. Moo Ping (หมูปิ้ง)

Description: Moo Ping are grilled pork skewers marinated in a mixture of garlic, coriander root, fish sauce, and palm sugar, then grilled over charcoal.

Flavors: These skewers are sweet, savory, and smoky, making them a popular street food snack.

14. Pla Pao (ปลาพอ)

Description: Pla Pao is a whole fish stuffed with lemongrass, coated in salt, and grilled. It’s served with a spicy dipping sauce.

Flavors: The fish is tender and juicy with a smoky, slightly salty exterior, complemented by the fresh, tangy sauce.

15. Gai Tod (ไก่ทอด)

Description: Gai Tod is Thai fried chicken, marinated in a mixture of garlic, coriander, and fish sauce, then deep-fried until crispy.

Flavors: It’s crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, with a savory, aromatic flavor from the marinade.

16. Hor Mok (ห่อหมก)

Description: Hor Mok is a Thai fish custard or steamed fish curry, made with fish, coconut milk, red curry paste, eggs, and herbs, steamed in banana leaves.

Flavors: The dish is creamy, spicy, and aromatic, with a tender, custard-like texture.

17. Kai Jeow (ไข่เจียว)

Description: Kai Jeow is a Thai-style omelet, often served over rice. It’s made with eggs, fish sauce, and sometimes minced pork or other ingredients.

Flavors: The omelet is fluffy, savory, and slightly crispy on the edges.

18. Nam Tok Moo (น้ำตกหมู)

Description: Nam Tok Moo, or waterfall pork, is a grilled pork salad with a spicy, tangy dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and toasted rice powder.

Flavors: It’s known for its bold, spicy, and tangy flavors with a hint of smokiness from the grilled pork.

19. Pad See Ew (ผัดซีอิ๊ว)

Description: Pad See Ew is a stir-fried noodle dish made with wide rice noodles, soy sauce, Chinese broccoli, and a choice of meat (usually pork or chicken).

Flavors: The dish has a savory, slightly sweet taste from the soy sauce, with a hint of smokiness from the stir-frying process.

20. Gaeng Som (แกงส้ม)

Description: Gaeng Som is a sour curry, usually made with fish, shrimp, or vegetables, flavored with tamarind, turmeric, and other spices.

Flavors: It’s known for its tangy, slightly spicy, and savory taste, with a light, brothy consistency.

21. Khanom Jeen (ขนมจีน)

Description: Khanom Jeen refers to fermented rice noodles typically served with a variety of curries or sauces, such as green curry, nam ya (fish curry), or sweet peanut sauce.

Flavors: The noodles themselves are mildly tangy, complemented by the rich, flavorful sauces they are served with.

22. Mango Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง)

Description: Mango Sticky Rice is a popular Thai dessert made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and ripe mango slices.

Flavors: The dish is sweet, creamy, and slightly salty from the coconut milk, paired with the juicy, fragrant mango.


Thailand’s culinary landscape is a rich tapestry of flavors, textures, and aromas. Each dish tells a story of the country’s diverse cultural influences and deep-rooted traditions. From the bustling street food stalls of Bangkok to the serene coastal restaurants, these 22 dishes offer a tantalizing glimpse into the heart of Thai cuisine. Whether you’re a fan of spicy, sweet, sour, or savory flavors, Thailand’s food scene promises a delightful adventure for every palate.

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