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A food guide for tourists to Thailand

Updated on September 29, 2009

The spicy Tom Yam!

A food guide to Thailand

A lot of people come to Thailand and fall in love with both the people and the food, but an equally large number never get the really good stuff. If you want to eat the best of Thailand, you need to avoid the restaurants catering to tourists, get into the small and funky roadside venues, and take a chance…you'll never regret it!

In general, if you are looking for Thai food, the best places to eat are the "regular" Thai restaurants.

Thai places are generally speaking VERY unconcerned with atmosphere, and for that reason, I think that most people coming to Thailand will skip these pretty uninspiring looking places, looking for a nicer place, more to the standards of the west.

The best food in Thailand is almost never found at the fancier restaurants, but at these grotty looking little holes in the wall. Look for a place with plastic chairs and tables, toilet paper roles on the table, and lots of customers, and you will almost never be disappointed.

You will also see a lot of markets that will emerge after dark all over the place. These will be along the roadsides, and will have a few tables out on the sidewalk for al fresco dining. These will generally also offer great eating.

The rule of eating in Thailand is that the food doesn't generally get better as you pay more, it actually often gets worse. Thai's are very passionate about food, and simply won't support any restaurant that isn't delivering the goods, and for that reason, if it's busy, it is going to be good.

Definitely skip the places that are catering to tourists, as they will often "water down" the cuisine, to make that food as they think foreign visitors want it. Don't worry too much about the language barrier, and just do a lot of pointing, and be prepared to accept a few surprises. The food at these places will usually cost well under a dollar a plate, so order lots and try it all!

Don't worry about getting sick. If the place is busy, it will have a great turnover of food, and anyway, the cooking techniques will likely be the same no matter where you go, you just won't see what they are doing at so called "better restaurants"!

Thais are incredibly friendly, and will make a great effort to help you out. They will appreciate that you made an effort to really try their food, and will bend over backwards to make your experience as positive as possible.

A sneak peak!


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