Top 5 traditional Thai dishes

The fragrant flavours of Thai cuisine are recognised and loved all over the world for their mix of zest, spice and sweetness. From peanut sauce to spicy prawn soup, most people have a favourite Thai food or a signature sauce they can’t get enough of. Here are just some of the dishes prized by locals and travellers alike.

Tom Yum Goong

This bold and spicy dish is actually a thin soup made from the key Thai ingredients of galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass and fish sauce. Said to have originated from the Ratanakosin period in Bangkok – around the late 18th century this flavour combination is the basis for a wide variety of other meals but this variation uses prawns to great effect. The sweet and hot flavour makes this dish one of the most popular in the country.

Moo Satay

Otherwise known as marinated skewers of pork, a good satay can also be achieved with chicken or other meats. There have been debates over the history of satay due to its popularity in other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, but this snack-on-the-go is one of the quintessential Thai street foods. Often complemented by a matsaman (peanut) dipping sauce, it’s a low-cost way of tasting the best authentic Thailand cuisine.

Pad Thai

Probably the best-known and most frequently cooked Thai dish outside of Thailand, pad thai is literally fried noodles straight from the wok. Pad thai was promoted in a World War II campaign by the Thai prime minister, in order to save rice for export to protect the country’s economy. Accompanied by nuts, chilli and fish sauce, this food continues to be an international hit for its simple but authentic flavours.

Gaeng Daeng

Vibrant in colour and aroma, Thai red curry uses the staple coconut milk as a base with a paste of chillies and spices such as cumin and coriander. It’s traditionally one of the more fiery options on the menu, though it can be made for a range of spice levels. Modern varieties can trace their origins as far back as the 13th century, when Thai people established a routine of cooking stew-type dishes with a balance of fragrant herbs and potent spices and accompanied by rice.

Yam Nua

A light and exotic salad made with thin strips of beef, the crunchy textures and mouth-watering tastes involved in Yam Nua are an experience not to be missed. It’s sometimes known in its homeland as ‘waterfall beef’ because of the sound of splashing juices on the sizzling grill. A standard on the summer menus of Bangkok, the dish uses lime juice, shallots and mint combined with chilli to give it a zesty kick.

So if your taste buds are tingling to sample some authentic Thai cuisine, look no further than these five favourites. They provide the perfect introduction to the Thai culinary experience but there are still many more dishes to explore, such as chicken with cashew, yellow curries and salads with papaya. With many essential ingredients and curry pastes now available in supermarkets, it’s not hard to bring the taste of this exciting land straight to your kitchen table.

Post supplied by Tony on behalf of

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