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Top 10 Thai Foods to try for the Newly arrived Expat in Thailand


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One of the first things you will notice when arriving in Thailand is the variety of food available and it makes you wonder what the top 10 Thai foods are. There are also the numerous food malls where you can pick up an affordable yet tasty meal from early in the morning until around 9 PM. However, the first problem many experience when getting here is how to order what looks and smells delicious. It is difficult to know where to start unless you have some idea about what the top 10 foods in Thailand are. So, here is a list to get you started.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a sure to be listed among anyone’s top 10 Thai foods. It is a delicious sticky noodle dish that is famous not only in Thailand but around the world as well. Go to any Thai restaurant in the western world and you will find Pad Thai. The classic version of this dish is with shrimp and there is a vegetarian version as well as one with chicken.

Pad Gapow
This is stir-fried basil leaves and it is mixed with some type of meat. The dish is typically served over white rice with a fried egg (kai dao) on the side. All you have to do is choose the meat. You can choose pork (moo), beef (neua), shrimp (gung), or shellfish (pla meuk). They stir fry it with small Thai chilies so it can be quite spicy. However, the flavor makes you overlook the spiciness. You can also request “mai ped” which tells the cook not to put in the chilies.

Kuay Teow
Kuay Teow is the name for the noodle soup that you see all the Thai people eating at small stands along the road. It is definitely one of the top 10 Thai foods for Thai people. You can also find it in food courts at major shopping venues. Usually, it is ordered with meatballs such as luk chin moo (pork), luk chin gai (chicken), or luk chin pla (fish). So, if you want to order Kuay Teow with pork meatballs, you would tell the vendor “Kuay Teow luk chin moo.”

Gang Keow Wan
In English, this is sweet green curry and it is served with either white rice or thin white noodles. It is probably one of the most famous Thai dishes there is. The ingredients are coconut milk, green curry paste, chicken or pork, Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots, and basil. Most all Thai restaurants serve this delight and it is also popular at events where there is catering. As one of the top 10 Thai foods, you will recognize it by its distinct bright green color and soupiness.

Pad Pak Ruam Mit
Thailand is a vegetarian’s paradise and this dish is a mixture of stir-fried vegetables. It can be served with white rice or eaten as a main dish of vegetables only. The mixture of vegetables might vary from place to place however most dishes consist of cauliflower, baby corn, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and straw mushrooms. Also added to the mix is either soy or oyster sauce. Soy sauce is the truly vegetarian dish.

Som Tam
Any list of top 10 Thai foods will have Som Tam. It is a salad made with grated papaya as the main bulk. The taste is probably the most unique in Thailand with its blend of spices and papaya along with just a tinge of saltiness. The other ingredients that go into this spicy delight include tamarind juice, fish sauce, tomatoes, dried shrimp, string beans, sugar cane paste, fish sauce, peanuts, and lime juice. A variation of this dish is served with bits of chopped crab and known as Som Tam Poo.

Gang Garee
This is a famous Thai yellow curry dish and reminds you of the influence of Indian culture in this land. Basically, it consists of yellow curry soup with chicken and potatoes. The yellow curry soup has coconut milk in it which gives it that distinctive Thai taste.

Gai Pad Met Ma Muang
You can think of this dish as Thai cashew chicken. The chicken is cooked in a wok and combined with onions, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, cashew nuts and dried red chilies.

Moo Satay
This is pork on skewers that is barbequed and served with peanut sauce. The pork is marinated first with a blend of coconut milk, turmeric, Thai curry powder, and soy sauce. In addition to the peanut sauce, it is also served with a white vinegar and cucumber sauce.

Tom Yum Gung
This is another Thai soup that is a mixture of shrimp, lemongrass, mushrooms, galangal, shrimp, and tomatoes. It is super spicy and blends many both salty and sour tastes together. Some variations also use coconut milk in the broth.

There are many more delicious Thai dishes available in the country. Just look at any menu in a Thai restaurant and you will find it to be quite lengthy. Hopefully, with the list of top 10 Thai foods, you can get started trying the many delights this country has to offer.

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