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Must-Try Dishes from Thailand: A Thai Gastronomic Feast

Updated on September 23, 2012
Tom Yam Goong
Tom Yam Goong | Source
Pad Thai
Pad Thai | Source

Thai dishes are one of the perennial favorites of food lovers from across the world.


Thai dishes have a balance of five flavors – spicy, bitter, sweet, sour, and salty.

The flavors are then enhanced with the use of fish sauce, which is actually a versatile seasoning of fish extracts and salts that is used as a dip as well.

The explosion of flavors gives Thai dishes faint tastes and fragrant tangs that delight the senses.

To add to that, Thai dishes are prepared using blends of herbs that have multiple benefits to human health.

Potential Health Benefits of Thai Dishes

In particular, Thai dishes use garlic heavily.

Garlic has been known to enhance cardiovascular health by preventing heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even certain types of cancers.

Some foodies, however, can argue about the health benefits of Thai foods, which are often spicy and oily.

Perhaps the key here is not to over-eat Thai foods, as should be the case with any other foods like western staples of hamburgers, pizzas, and hotdogs.

Moderation is the key.

The list of mouth-watering dishes from Thailand may be long as Thailand has several unique dishes that have become so popular all across the globe.

To know which dishes to start off with, below is a list of must-try Thai dishes in no particular order.

Tom Yam Goong - the Signature Dish from Thailand

One of the signature dishes of Thailand, Tom Yang Goong is a really spicy and sour shrimp soup.

It is prepared with lemon grass, lime, tamarind, galangal and chili pepper.

This Thai dish is so renowned in Thailand that it has developed two varieties.

One variety has clear soup while the other variety uses coconut milk.

A versatile Thai dish, Tom Yam Goong can be prepared with chicken, shrimps, other seafoods, and even mushrooms.

Tom Yam Gai - Thai-style Chicken Soup

Tom Yam Gai is chicken soup with a Thai twist.

It is prepared by extracting chicken broth, adding in tomatoes, and then seasoning this broth with chili, lime and fish sauce.

The broth is then left to simmer with lemon grass, shallot, and galangal, which is actually a ginger-like spice that is native to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand.

This Thai dish is topped off with coriander.

Moo Sa-Te - Skewered Pork of Thailand

Moo Sa-Te is pork prepared with either curry or turmeric powder, grilled, placed in sticks, then served with at least two kinds of dip.

One dip tastes sweet and sour for it is made of vinegar, sprinkled with pepper, then combined with cucumber and shallot.

Another dip is spicy because it is made of ground peanuts, coconut milk and curry powder.

This versatile Thai dish may be suitable to those who like either mildly spicy or sweet and sour foods.

Pad Thai - a Thai Dish with Long History

Pad Thai is a national Thai dish that has a long history.

This Thai dish balances the five flavors of sweet, spicy, salty, bitter, and sour and allows the eater to customize the taste even more with the use of seasonings.

Over time, Pad Thai has evolved into two types.

The genuine Pad Thai dish is stir-fried noodles mixed with eggs, bean sprouts, fish sauce, tamarind extract, chili pepper, shrimp, and tofu.

This Pad Thai is then topped off with peanuts and coriander.

Another version of Pad Thai dish is easily found in Thai restaurants in the west or on the streets of Thailand.

This version is a bit dry and only lightly flavored.

Gai Pad Met Mamuang - Stir-Fried Chicken Thai Dish

Gai Pad Met Mamuang is a Thai dish made of stir-fried chicken sprinkled with cashew nuts.

This dish may be different from other Thai dishes because it is not spicy.

This Thai dish is sweet and salty and its cashew nuts are crunchy, making it palatable even to children or people who do not prefer too much spice in their foods.

Som Tam - a Really Spicy Thai Dish

Som Tam is a very spicy and sour Thai salad made mainly of papaya.

This Thai dish is prepared by shredding unripe papaya, yard-long beans, and tomatoes.

All these ingredients are then mixed together.

The concoction is flavored with chili, sugar, garlic, lime, fish sauce, shrimp paste, pla ra, and hog plums.

Customarily, Som Tam is served with sticky rice, pork ,or chicken to mitigate is spiciness.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

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    • tenet profile image

      tenet 6 years ago from Harbin, Heilongjiang China

      Kabayan! I so love Thai foods. This hub makes me miss Thai food and Thailand so much. I used to work and live there for 6 months. Pad Thai, Som Tam, and Tom Yam Gai are my favorites ever! Voting this hub as awesome! :)

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @anjperez I'm not good at making Pad Thai myself! Hahahaha :D They say there is an authentic way of cooking it so I'm checking out YouTube for Thai cooking vids. Good luck in preparing your next dish! I'm sure it would be better than the last.

    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 6 years ago

      i love thai dishes. esp tom yum and pad thai. i tried making them at home. not quite successful but i only did it once. which reminds me, i need to try it again. your hub reminded me...

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Riviera Rose Not to worry, I think there are easy-to-prepare Thai foods that you can make at home. BTW, French foods aren't that bad. In fact, they're heavenly :) People also say French women don't get fat because of what and how they eat :)Thanks much for leaving your comment.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 6 years ago from South of France

      This hub's made me hungry! How I love Thai food, and it's so hard to come by in France :(

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Dolores Monet Thank you for dropping by! Right, we should always try to add pics to recipes so we'd know what the dishes are supposed to look like.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up. The recipes sound delicious and you have presented them so well! The pictures really add to the hub - I always love a picture with a recipe so I know what it's supposed to look like!