What to Eat in Thailand: Food You Will Love!

Thailand is my absolute favorite country when it comes to cheap quick meals. As backpackers, we normally try to order the cheapest thing possible on the menu and this doesn’t pose a problem when you go to Thailand. Everywhere you go you can find delicious and CHEAP street food that will both satisfy and awaken your taste buds. Given the wide range of things to eat, here is our list of must try Thai dishes. So get ready for a culinary delight as you try out a broad range of tastes and flavor.

Pad Thai

Naturally, no Thai food list is complete without the ever so famous Pad Thai. Readily available in almost every street food cart, this dish is something you can never go wrong with. Thick noodles topped with a variety of shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, egg, and tofu, stir-fried together in goodness. To be honest, I find the pad thai served in the streets to be more delicious and authentic than those in restaurants. Nomadic Matt swears by a food stall by Sukhumvit Soi 33 in Bangkok. Best thing about it? An entire meal, plus other dishes will cost you no more than a dollar. Can I get a hell yeah?? If interested,Check out this guide to the best pad thai in Thailand

Pad Thai with prawns

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in learning how to cook Thai food, I recommend attending Cooking Classes in Thailand which will teach you how to make these incredible dishes.

✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…

Travel Insurance

Coming from someone who has been traveling the world for the last 8 years AND has been in the hospital 2x, travel insurance is something everyone NEEDS to get. Get a quote below!

Tom Yum Soup

This for me is the soup of all soups! It is the perfect rainy day comfort food and is delicious on every level. The soup is generally sour and is made with a mixture of lemongrass, chili, ginger, kafir lime leaves and is often topped with shrimp and mushrooms. Be wary though as they often serve this HOT! I always request it with no spice and it often comes back with the right amount of spice that I can handle.  Tom Yum with prawns

Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)

Oh man. This dish, I can eat every day. For me, it’s the perfect blend of flavors and texture and goes well with every meal. It’s like the ultimate side dish to cleanse your palate. Shredded papaya mixed with green beans, garlic and chilies marinated in a vinaigrette type of sauce topped with peanuts. Great to help combat the spiciness of your usual Thai dishes.

Read: Planning Your Dream Trip to Thailand Som Tum

Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried Basil and Pork)

Another crowd pleaser right here! A quick one-bowl dish that is both cheap and delicious. It is basically a stir-fry pork or chicken dish cooked with lots of basil, garlic, and chilies served on top of a piping bowl of white rice. Often, it is topped with an egg and is a perfect meal any time of the day (hangover days included) Again, like most meals in Thailand, tell them how spicy you want it or you will end up with something ridiculously spicy. I highly suggest getting at least some basic Thai down (like how to tell them not to burn the roof of your mouth with spice)

Read: Basic Thai for Travelers: Essential Phrases You Need to KnowPad Krapow

Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with Cashew Nuts)

One of those meals which I can eat every day! Kai Med Ma Muang (whew, what a mouthful!) is a sweet and savory chicken stir-fry topped with cashews and vegetables. Loads of flavor and kick to it. I would order this dish at least once a day when in Thailand. I literally can’t get enough of it! Kai Med Ma Muang


A minced meat stirfry that is both juicy and flavorful. Larb is traditionally from the Northeast of Thailand and is made from ground meat seasoned with rice powder, chilies, lime juice, fish sauce and fresh herbs. Sounds a bit odd? Trust me, it’s delicious!

Close up of larb
Photo source: Joe Foodie | via Flickr Creative Commons

Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry)

Naturally, no Thai food list will be complete without some curry. My personal favorite is the gaeng daeng which is red curry. When made correctly (which is very easy to find in Thailand), this stunner of a dish is a fantastic meal. Fresh coconut milk is used to create the delicate flavor of the curry itself, leaving it thick and creamy. Often mixed with any topping you want from chicken, seafood, of even roasted duck. They then top it with kafir lime which makes even more flavorful!  gaeng daeng

Khao Soi

Again, another dish typically found in Northern Thailand, Khao Soi is a curry based noodle soup which is rich and flavorful. Topped with shallots and a piece of lime, it’s like heaven in a bowl. Tom and I were in Chiang Mai and drove around for hours in search of a tiny hole in the wall restaurant that allegedly served the best Khao Soi in the area. Our verdict? Worth it! When in Chiang Mai, check out Lamduon Fahrm Kaosoi, a 70+ year old establishment that is unpretentious and downright delicious!Khao Soi

Pad See Ew

To be honest, if asked to choose between the many Thai dishes, I wouldn’t choose this one but that is just my opinion. Pad See Ew is like the sticky version of Pad Thai. Essentially it is a thick and sticky fat rice noodles stir-fried with lots of soy sauce and topped with some veggies or chicken or beef. Flavor wise, it is actually quite delicious- I’m just not a fan of the sticky texture.

Pad See Ew
Photo source: Ed Kwon | via Flickr Creative Commons

Mango Sticky Rice

One of Thailand’s most popular snack and dessert. To those new to the Asian cuisine, the concept of eating rice and fruit together may seem strange, but it is actually very tasty! Known locally as Khao Niaow Ma Muang, it is a combination of sticky rice and juicy mangoes topped with a sweet coconut cream. Each bite is like a symphony of flavors! Mango sticky rice on a banana leaf

Unfortunately, I cannot possibly keep writing this post as I am now craving for Thai food. Big time. So there you have it, folks. A guide to what to eat and devour while in Thailand.

Although settling for banana pancakes and burgers might be the easy go-to for a lot of travelers, remember to explore your taste buds, eat local, and make the most of the many cheap and affordable street meals Thailand has to offer. Aside from the meals listed here, check out our street food guide to Thailand to find out things you shouldn’t miss.

Want to read other food guides around Southeast Asia?

Inspired? Pin it! Looking for the best must try dishes? Here is our list of dishes you need to try when in Thailand

Share This!

Anna Faustino

Editor In Chief

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years, living in 5 different continents. She is passionate about giving destination advice, entrepreneurship, outdoor travel and discovering good food while on the road. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Forbes, Yahoo! Travel and more.

7 thoughts on “What to Eat in Thailand: Food You Will Love!”

  1. If you’re ever Los Angeles, you can always stop by “Red Corner” in Thai Town and have an excellent time and food.

  2. A Chiang Mai local stumbled upon your blog.

    – At present some dished might exceed one dollar a bit.

    – There are 2 styles of Som Tam. Th picture you posted is Thai style. Lao Style is another version. Also you and adapt them to many dishes ie. cucumber salad, carrot salad. Also you can eat it with other dishes like Khanom Chin (ขนมจีน) or rice vermicelli

    Tip: 1. Many said papaya salad best paired with Coco-cola (or Pepsi) and I agree!
    2. Also many said that eating papaya salad alone is not as fun as eating it with friends. Again I agree.

    – Chicken with cashew nut is originated from Chinese cuisine. Actually you can say it Chinese dish since we adapt nothing with the dish. I don’t know why many people misunderstood it for Thai dish.

    – There are 2 styles of larb. One is from the northeastern as you said. Another style is from the north. The taste is…well totally different. Next time you visit CM I would recommend you to try Northern style.

    Our country is not different from every places. We have both good and bad things, also good and bad people. Hope you see the first ones wherever you go.

    Welcome and be our guest again anytime.


Leave a Comment