5 classic Thai dishes to discover
If you have plans to visit the Kingdom of Siam soon, get a foretaste with these 5 popular Thai dishes guaranteed to delight your taste buds.
Thai cuisine offers a wide variety of flavours. You only have to travel around the country to discover the regional variety of ingredients and preparations.
Yellow curry perfumes and seasons the dishes of the South, while the flavours in Central Thailand are milder, such as stir-fried chicken with basil.
Taste the influence of neighbouring Burma and Laos in the dishes of Northern Thailand.
So, out with your chopsticks and discover the best of what Thailand has to offer!
5. Sticky rice
The perfect partner for curries and salads alike, sticky rice (khao niew in Thai) is not as sticky as the name would suggest.
Particularly popular in Northern and North-East Thailand, sticky rice must soak in water for 8 hours before it is steamed in wicker baskets.
The rice is then formed into balls which soak up the flavours of the dishes they accompany.
A sweet version of sticky rice, served with mango and coconut milk, makes the perfect, refreshing tropical dessert!
4. Sweet and sour pork, chicken or fish soup
In Thailand the soup is called “tom yam” or “tom yum”; “tom” meaning “boil” and “yam” meaning “spicy and sour.”
The secret of the soup lies in its blend of spices and fresh herbs used for the broth: lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice, ginger, chili peppers and fish sauce.
Coconut milk lends a touch of sweetness.
The defining chicken, pork or shrimp are added at the end.
3. Green curry
Green curry (kaeng khiao wanen) is another delicious medley of flavours, with the spiciness coming from fried green curry paste and the sweetness from coconut milk and palm sugar.
Chicken, fish balls, shrimp, beef or other proteins can be added to the curry sauce.
The dish is then flavoured with aromatic Thai basil, kaffir leaves, cumin seeds, shrimp paste and salt.
The dish is often served with rice or rice noodles.
2. Green papaya salad
Don’t let papaya fool you! This salad calls for unripe papaya, so its sweetness is completely toned down in this spicy salad dish.
The papaya is cut into thin slivers and combined with the four staple flavours of Laos cuisine:
- The acidity of lime
- The spiciness of chili pepper
- The saltiness of fish sauce
- The sweetness of palm sugar
To these classic ingredients, you can also add:
- Dried shrimp
- Stir-fried noodles
The best-known dish outside Thailand is, without question, stir-fired noodles, commonly known as pad thai.
Of the protein alternatives, such as tofu, beef, chicken or shrimp, the Thais are particularly fond of shrimp.
They add bean sprouts, eggs, peanuts and spices.
Still a popular street food dish today, pad thai rose to fame during the economic recession that hit the country after the Second World War. To reduce rice consumption, the prime minister of the time launched a campaign to distribute rice noodles throughout Thailand.