10 Must-Eat Thai Specialties In Bangkok

Photo of Kelly Iverson
2 November 2016

No flavor is forgotten in the making of a Thai dish. Spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and bitter flavors are almost all guaranteed to make an appearance in Thailand’s most noteworthy dishes. From street vendors to the swankiest of restaurants, Bangkok’s vibrant food scene never fails to impress. Here’s our guide to 10 Thai specialties you must try when in Bangkok.

Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

One of the most unique dishes in Thailand is the infamous green papaya salad. Garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lime, and tamarind juice all go into the making of this mouthwatering salad. Combine this abundance of flavors with freshly shredded green papaya and carrots, chilies, peanuts, tomatoes and sticky rice, and you have yourself the perfect Thai meal.

Papaya Salad

Hot And Sour Prawn Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

What do you get when you combine lemongrass, galangal ginger, lime leaves, mushrooms, chilies, and tomatoes in one flavorful soup? Tom yum goong. Goong means shrimp, but you can dine on this savory soup with chicken or make the meal vegetarian instead. This dish can be found in kitchens around the world but is especially celebrated in Thailand.

Hot And Sour Prawn Soup

Thai Style Fried Noodles (Pad Thai)

You have probably had some knockoff pad Thai before traveling to Bangkok, but no phony foreign dish can compete with the popular noodle concoction that put Thailand on the culinary map. Cooking pad Thai is no easy task; every ingredient has to be meticulously added to create a delectable dish. Pad Thai must be prepared quickly as well to ensure it is hot and flavorsome.

Pad Thai

Mango with Sticky Rice (Kao Niew Mamuang)

If you have a sweet tooth, you will be unable able to resist the mango with sticky rice found on almost every soi (street) in Bangkok. Coconut milk is slowly cooked with both sugar and salt before being poured over freshly made sticky rice. After the milk settles, chilled, ripe mango is peeled, sliced, and put over the warm platter. What it lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for in flavor.

Mango With Sticky Rice

Noodle Soup (Khao Soi)

This is not your typical noodle soup. Khao soi is a northern dish that is believed to have originated in Myanmar but it became popular because of the flavorful twist Thailand gave it. Chicken, beef, pork, or tofu is slow-cooked in a creamy, coconut-based curry. Combine this with yellow egg noodles, cilantro leaves, and deep-fried noodles to top it all off, and you have a noodle soup unlike any other.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Coconut milk is a common denominator among these top Thai specialties. This silky soup, consisting of chicken cooked in creamy coconut milk, is rich with lemongrass, ginger, and more. It is sure to become one of your favorite dishes while visiting Bangkok.

Coconut Soup

Stir-Fried Flat Noodles (Pad See Eiu)

While pad Thai is certainly Thailand’s most legendary noodle dish, pad see eiu, or stir-fried flat noodles, definitely gives the dish a run for its money when it comes to taste. Soy sauce, garlic, eggs, and noodles are cooked to perfection with your choice of meat before being served with ground white pepper, chili flakes, sugar, and vinegar.

Massaman Curry With Chicken Or Beef (Kaeng Mus Sa Mun)

While Thailand has its fair share of curries, none can rival the delicious massaman curry. Massaman curry paste, tender potatoes, onions, and coconut milk are cooked to perfection. The sauce, after becoming thick with flavor, is poured over rice.

Massaman Curry

Stir-Fried Basil With Pork (Pad Kra Pao Moo)

This dish might sound ordinary, but it is by far one of the most delicious Thai concoctions to be found in Bangkok. A seemingly simple plate of rice is transformed by spicy, flavorful basil that is fried with your choice of meat. Top off the meal with a fried egg for the perfect fusion of texture and flavor.

Stir-Fried Basil With Pork

Slow-Cooked Pork (Khao Kha Moo)

Many hours are put into the making of this delicious mea. Indulge in this pork, which is boiled in soy sauce and cinnamon until it is so tender it falls off the bone. You will find this pork steaming throughout the streets of Bangkok and you will most likely smell the savory dish before laying eyes on it, the aroma is that potent and sweet.

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