Thai Cuisine 101
Bangkok is a booming city popular for many things, many of you may have probably watched scenes of it in the “Hangover 2” movie or had the privilege of visiting yourself. Every year, over 20+ million tourists pass through Bangkok, that means it surpasses London by a few million and almost doubles the number of tourists passing through New York City!
Bangkok is known for many things: it’s cheap beers, affordable accommodation, it’s beautiful temples, but nothing more famous than Thai cuisine.
It’s known all over the world as being one of the most aromatic and flavorful cuisines, with a mild to spicy kick in most dishes its best to let the server or the person preparing your food know that you don’t want it to be spicy. With the smart use of chilis, garlic, herbs and many other pungent ingredients, the dishes have their own unique and flavorful taste.
It encompasses various types of dishes including rice, noodles, salads, soups, spring rolls, and grilled delicacies.
In this article, we’re going discuss the top Thai Cuisine that you can’t help but try next time you visit this wonderful city!
1. Tom Yum Goong
This list could never start without putting this amazing dish first, it can be found on just about any corner of Bangkok. Whether it be street food, cafe, or a Michelin star restaurant...you can be assured it’ll taste good!
Tom Yum Goong is a sour and spicy soup typically made with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilis, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fish sauce and a lot of lime juice.
Tom Yum is usually served in a large bowl or in an aluminium hot pot that has a charcoal burner.
The soup usually features meat such as beef, chicken, pork, or the most popular one in Bangkok (shrimp).
Best Tom Yum Goong: P’Aor
This restaurant serves up a mouthwatering Tom Yum Goong!
The restaurant is located down a tiny side street that may not but noticeable at first sight, but you can always use your GPS on your phone. The menu is all in Thai but there are pictures of each dish. The staff is extremely friendly and willing to assist you in having one of the best meals you’ll have in Bangkok!
2. Bangkok Thai Green Curry
The main ingredients of this famous Thai dish are green curry paste, coconut milk and your choice of pork, chicken, beef, or our favorite (shrimp). The green curry paste is made in a mortar by pounding green chilis, garlic, shallots and a few other ingredients. Adding the coconut milk gives the soup a rich and creamy consistency mixed with the green curry paste brings it all together! It sounds very simple when put like this, but the key to making a good curry is knowing when to add all of the ingredients. Don’t forget to order yourself a bowl of rice to pour you curry over and enjoy this Thai Cuisine!
Best Green Curry Bangkok: Sanguan Sri
The most authentic Thai food you can probably find in Bangkok as they’ve been in business for over 50 years! If you can handle the hustle and bustle of a fast paces Southeast Asian place to eat then this is for you. Only open Monday-Friday lunch rush…ENJOY!
3. Pad Thai (Thai Fried Noodles)
Soaked dried rice noodles, which are stir-fried with eggs and chopped tofu, and is mixed with tamarind, fish sauce, shrimp, garlic, shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar. Finally, it’s served with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts. This is easily one of the most trusted things you could possibly order from the street to get the authentic Bangkok Thai experience.
Best Pad Thai: Thipsamai Pad Thai
Ask any local person you’ve met in Bangkok about where to find the best pad thai and we’ll bet you at least half of them will say Thipsamai. It’s located right next to Wat Thepthidaram and prices start at 60 baht and can get pretty pricey if you want to do a few of the add-ons they offer.
4. Bangkok Thai Fried Rice
Different from Chinese fried rice in that it is prepared with Thai jasmine rice instead of regular long-grain rice. It normally contains meat (pork, shrimp, chicken, beef, and crab are all common), egg, onions, peas, and carrots. The seasonings, which may include soy sauce, sugar, salt, possibly some chili sauce, and nam pla (fish sauce), are stir-fried together with the other ingredients. The dish is then plated and served with cucumber, tomato slices, lime and pieces of green onion. Thai cuisine has many, many, MANY varieties and versions of this style of fried rice, this is just the most common you’ll find in Bangkok!
Best Fried Rice in Bangkok is: Mueang Thong Crab-meat Fried Rice 1
It may be a bit out of the way and not in the city center, but you’ll love the real feel of the atmosphere that surrounds you and the best Bangkok Thai Fried Rice you’ve ever had!
5. Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
Garlic, chilies, green beans, cherry tomatoes and shredded papaya get pounded in a pestle and mortar, giving you a spicy yet sweet flavor not to be mistaken. Places in Bangkok throw peanuts, shrimp or crab into the mix, so make sure if you’ve got any food allergies you keep a look out as to what they’re throwing in the mix!
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling through Thailand and you’ve got a food allergy or you’re a vegetarian/vegan, it’s best to write those words down from google translate ahead of time. The last thing you’ll want to do is have to do take an unexpected trip to the hospital and we can only hope that you’ve got great travel insurance
Best place for Som Tam: Somtum Der
This place really does serve up some amazing Thai Cuisine, It’s a bit on the pricier side...but if you’re willing to spend a little bit more one night on dinner, then this is your place!
6. Massaman Curry
Dating back to its Muslim roots and Islamic dietary laws, this curry is most commonly enjoyed with chicken, but varieties of this dish include duck, beef, mutton, goat, or, less commonly so, pork. As pork is forbidden in Islam, this last variant is not eaten by observant Thai Muslims. Vegetarians and vegans have created their own versions of this dish.
Thai Massaman Curry is one of the milder curries in Thai cuisine that is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy w/ the coconut milk adds that slight creaminess to the curry. Served over a bed of fluffy Jasmine white rice and you’ll fall in love with this amazing and flavorful dish!
Best Massaman Curry Bangkok: Smooth Curry
This place not only has some of the most mouthwatering and flavorful Massaman Curry you’ve ever had, but it has an award-winning style menu across the board. This restaurant is absolute perfection from the moment you walk in the door! It’s located inside a luxury hotel, and yes by Thai standards the prices are high...but to Western prices they’re average.
7. น้ำตก (Nam Tok Mu)
One of our favorite types of Thai salad, it is a native food of the northeast of Thailand and it is a popular food among the locals as it’s easy to cook. It is made from grilled pork that is cut into thin pieces and flavored with chili powder, shallots, roasted rice, lime juice, and fish sauce. It tastes sour, salty and spicy like a traditional larb(Laos meat salad). This style of Thai Cuisine is more commonly found in a restaurant rather than a street food stall, as it’s on a made to order basis!
Best Nam Tok Mu: Som Tum G
A very unpretentious and well-executed establishment with a fun and friendly staff, make this low key venue off Silom Road a wonderfully hidden gem with very low prices!
8. Spring Rolls
It is a savory snack made of thin pastry like skin or rice paper wrapped tightly with a mixture of savory fillings, consisting of chopped vegetables; carrots, cabbages, green beans, bamboo shoots, banana heart and leeks, or sometimes minced meat; chicken, shrimp, pork or beef. It is often served as an appetizer or snack and might be served deep fried or fresh (unfried)...If we ever have the option we always go for the fresh springs rolls as they’re so refreshing to eat!
Best Spring Rolls: May Kaidee Tanao Vegetarian Restaurant
Located only a block away from Khao San road is where you’ll find this lovely vegetarian establishment. Serving up some of the best meatless meals you can find in the city!
9. ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง (Mango Sticky Rice)
A traditional Thai dessert made with glutinous rice, fresh mango and coconut milk, and eaten with a fork, spoon, or even your hands! Some varieties of the traditional method exist in the city as well, such as mixing half white rice and black rice to give it a nice purple looking color.
Best Mango Sticky Rice: Mae Varee Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
With one of the best selections on Mango you can find in the city and a generous portion, to say the least, it’s no wonder this fruit shop tops the city! The friendly staff will keep you coming back each and every time.
10. Thai Roti Pancakes
Roti is a wheat flour pan-fried bread. Usually served as a treat, topped with sweetened condensed milk, white sugar, banana or even chocolate. You’ll find this all over Bangkok whether it’s during the day on the street corner, walking down Khao San road, or just a stall in front of your hostel.
Best Thai Roti Pancakes - Citywide
It’s tough to narrow this one down to a certain stall or restaurant as you can find great pancakes all throughout the city! If you’ve got one in mind we’d love to hear what it is and add it in this spot.
If you feel like having a dessert, you can try waffles as well. While Thai pancakes are served as street food, waffles are usually served in cafes. Don’t worry if you are a vegetarian or vegan because in Bangkok you can find some of the best Thailand’s Vegan Waffles.