Traditional dishes for the tourist palette

You may have wondered if people actually eat “drunken noodles” in Thailand. But heck, you might not care because they’re so darn tasty! Here’s 5 super traditional dishes that you have to try when you visit Thailand!

GAI HAW BAI TOEY

Photo Credit: Carla Marie Pinlac

Photo Credit: Carla Marie Pinlac

Few non-traditional restaurants offer this dish because it calls for pandan leaves, an essential ingredient for this dish. The leaves are wrapped around chicken marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and coriander roots. When fried, the leaves perfume the chicken, imparting a grassy, herbal flavor.

GAENG KEOW WAN

Photo Credit: Craig Wall

Photo Credit: Craig Wall

Thai green curry is usually eaten with steamed jasmine rice. This curry leads with a sweet flavor, followed by a little heat from chilies and salty umami from the fish sauce. What’s essential to know is that all Thai curries start with different curry pastes made up of entirely different combinations of fresh herbs and spices.

KRATHONG TONG

Photo Credit: thailandselect

Photo Credit: thailandselect

So many types of appetizers find their way onto Thai menus. We’ve seen a fair number of restaurants thinking they can get away with fried cheese triangles, but fried appetizers are actually very common in Thai cuisine thanks to the Portuguese influence. Krathong tong can be found at fancier restaurants. These delicate fried shells are typically filled with chicken, potato, corn, carrot and a tangy cream sauce — we know, we know, not very Thai-sounding ingredients, but trust us on this one.


GAENG MUSSAMAN

Photo Credit: The Roaming Cook

Photo Credit: The Roaming Cook

Expect to find potatoes, roasted peanuts and chicken thighs in this fragrant curry. The word “Mussaman” in Thai means “Muslim.” Unlike green curry, Gaeng Mussaman is not served with fermented rice noodles but over jasmine rice. Look for a pungent aroma from the combination of coriander, cumin, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. The flavors of this curry are slightly sweet and sour from tamarind sauce.


PLA RAD PRIK

Photo Credit: BaliThai

Photo Credit: BaliThai

This dish is done right when the fish is fried whole — head, tail and all. Striped bass and grouper are both good candidates for this treatment, topped with a traditional sweet, sour and spicy sauce. A word to the wise: The stuff in the head is delicious.

Bonus!

PAD KRA PRAO

Photo Credit: eatingthaifood

Photo Credit: eatingthaifood

Most commonly called basil chicken, beef or shrimp, this dish is a Thai favorite. Served over warm jasmine rice, and the best part: a crispy fried egg. The condiments for this dish are usually fish sauce and chopped chilies.