Our Top 11 Thai Dishes
These are our favourite Thai dishes we enjoy regularly in restaurants, food stands and noodle huts around the island and we recommend you try some of them on your visit.
The presentation and taste may vary wherever you try them, even if you eat the same meal again in the same place on a different day.
We will also give you a few inside tips on how best to enjoy Thai food by using particular herbs and spices to complete the taste, how the dish should be eaten Thai style.
The meals are in random order, we love them all equally.
PS. Yes it is a Top 11, not a Top 10, we couldn't leave out fruit shakes. Although not a dish they certainly compliment any of the below dishes well, and also double up as the perfect fire extingusher should you over do it with Phet mak-mak ("spicy as possible please").
Papaya Salad - Papaya is a local fruit said to have great benefits for your digestive system, it is served sweet & sour with a touch of spice. You'll find Papaya Salad on most menus around the island. It is a favourite dish with locals, usually enjoyed as a side order with a main meal. Thais tend to eat Papaya on a daily basis for the nuturitional benefits, with a side of rice.
Tempura Shrimp with sweet & spicy chilli sauce - Ok yes we know Tempura has Japanese origins. In actual fact it was introduced to Japanese cooking by the Portuguese in the 16th century. We felt it should be added to the list as it is on many local menus, and the shrimp are so fresh and tasty you shouldn't miss out on giving it a try, a great shared starter.
Glass Noodle Soup - It comes with a variety of meat choices or tofu for a vegetarian option. We prefer it with pork or chicken and a bit of tofu if you ask nicely. What you need to know about this soup is it comes bland, with no flavour added. When the soup is served there a four key ingredients that are used to bring the soup alive with flavour, these are; fish sauce, pickled chillis (more like sliced chillis in vinegar), sugar and chilli powder. It is not necessary to use all of these ingredients, although most Thais do. We suggest you try a little of this, a little of that, have a taste, and find your balance. We prefer a little bit of fish sauce and quite a bit of pickled chillis.
Chicken Chashew Nut - This is a savoury dish best eaten with a side of rice. You could add a bit spice to it if you like but it has a rich flavour already and is not served spicy.
Pork Chilli Basil - Also comes as a chicken dish, this is one for the lovers of spice. The meat is lightly shallow fried with soy/fish/oyster sauce, follwed by chilis, basil leaves and garlic. Some places you will get a few green beans and onion mixed in too. This really is a flavoursome meal, served with a side of rice. You don't need to have it too spicy to enjoy the full flavour, but we like it full chili force! Always mention your spice level requirement when ordering this dish.
Tom Yum Goong - Tom Yum is the most famous of Thai Soups, bursting with flavour it makes our mouth water writing about it. Tom Yum comes with shrimp, chicken or just vegetables. Our favourite is Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp). This soup embraces the flavours of sour, spicy and is loaded with fresh chunks of tomatoes, mushrooms, lemongrass, onions and ginger. It is meant to be eaten spicy, if you find it is too spicy for you ask for some lemon (which will actually be a lime) and squeeze the juice in to the soup, it will calm the spice.
Mango Sticky Rice - A mouth watering dessert, that unfortunately you do not see on a lot of menus. If you find it, please indulge, it's worth trying at least once. The combination of sweet sticky rice, coconut milk and and mango is truly magical.
Pad Thai - As far as Thai dishes go, Pad Thai has to be the most well known. A simple noodle dish, served with chicken or shrimp or tofu, complimented with fried egg, bean sprouts, some chili and lime juice. A Thai dish that can be complimented with the various condiments you find at the table, to sweeten, sour or spice up the meal.
Chicken, Garlic & Pepper - A super savoury dish, served with a side of rice. You can also order shrimp or pork, but chicken is our favourite option here. This is not a spicy dish, the garlic and pepper flavour do enough to please the palate, eat as it is served.
Banana Pancakes - A great road-side snack, you'll find mobile pancake stations dotted around the island, or moving about tourist areas. The best 40 Baht dessert money can buy. You'll also find it on many restaurant menus.
Fruit Shakes - Thailand has an abundance of fresh fruits and on every restaurant menu you'll find fruit shake options. Freshly blended fruit and ice, with watermelon, pineapple, mango, coconut and more. A little tip, if you are health conscious ask for no sugar, otherwise you will usually get a fair helping. Besides these shakes are tasty and sweet enough without adding sugar.