Eating Thai food is a huge part of your holiday in Bangkok (and Thailand). Thanks to its exotic flavours and fragrances, Thai cuisine is popular worldwide. A walk through the city’s alleyways often results in a stop at a food stall, where you can enjoy skewered meats, fried rice and noodles, as well as spicy soups at rather affordable prices.
If you prefer dining in a more comfortable setting, Bangkok has plenty of restaurants offering an extensive menu of classic Thai dishes. Sample the very best of the city’s local offerings by referring to our guide of the best Thai food.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
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Tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup)
Tom yum goong is a bold, refreshing blend of fragrant lemongrass, chilli, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, lime juice, and fish sauce. Containing succulent river shrimps and straw mushrooms, this spicy and sour soup is best paired with steamed white rice.
Som tum (spicy green papaya salad)
Som tum, or spicy green papaya salad, comes from Thailand’s north-eastern state of Isaan. Garlic, chillies, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and shredded raw papaya are pounded in a pestle and mortar, releasing a sweet-sour-spicy flavour that's quite distinctive. Regional variations include peanuts, dry shrimp or salted crab into the mix. This dish can be polarizing, some can't get enough of its taste, while others simply can't handle the spice.
Tom kha kai (chicken in coconut soup)
A mild, tamer twist on tom yum, tom kha kai infuses fiery chillies, thinly sliced young galangal, crushed shallots, stalks of lemongrass, and tender strips of chicken. The dish also includes coconut milk to reduce the spiciness, before topping it off with fresh lime leaves. Like most Thai-style soups, you can pair your bowl of creamy tom kha kai with steamed rice.
Gaeng daeng (red curry)
Gaeng daeng is an aromatic red curry made with meat, red curry paste, smooth coconut milk, and topped off with a sprinkling of sliced kaffir lime leaves. Despite its striking colour, gaeng daeng is quite mild though you can request for fresh chilli if you’re in the mood for spicy foods. Vegetarians or vegans can still enjoy this curry by asking the chef to replace the meat with tofu.
Pad thai (Thai-style fried noodles)
Pad thai is one of Thailand’s most recognised dishes. Fistfuls of small, thin or wide noodles, along with crunchy beansprouts, onion, and egg are stir-fried in a searing hot wok. The dish is also flavoured with condiments such as fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chilli, and palm sugar. Pad thai usually contains seafood – especially fresh shrimp, crab or squid – but some places serve it with chicken, beef or pork. The stir-fried noodles are often plated with a slice of lime wedge, crushed roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs.
Khao pad (fried rice)
Fried rice, or khao pad, is often enjoyed for lunch in Bangkok. You easily bulk up this simple dish of rice, egg and onion with your choice of ingredients, from prawns, crab or chicken to tofu, basil or leftover vegetables.
Pad krapow moo (stir-fried basil and pork)
Pad krapow moo is a one-plate Thai dish you can enjoy for lunch or dinner. Minced pork, holy basil leaves, large fresh chilli, pork, green beans, soy sauce, and sugar are stir-fried in a wok. The cooked mixture is piled onto a plate of steamed white rice and topped with a fried egg (kai dao).
Gaeng keow wan kai (green chicken curry)
Gaeng keow wan kai gets its unique colour from green chillies, though ingredients used are like most Thai curries. Green chicken curry contains coconut milk, cherry-sized eggplants, bamboo shoots, galangal, lemongrass, coriander and sweet basil. It tastes richer and sweeter than tom yum, and pairs well with flatbread or steamed rice.
Yum nua (spicy beef salad)
Yum nua is a refreshing Thai salad topped with strips of tender beef. It uses a zesty dressing made with lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and palm sugar. You can enjoy yum nua on its own, but having it with rice helps cut down the sour-sweet flavour.
Kai med ma muang (stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts)
Kai med ma muang is basically stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. This dish also contains soy sauce, honey, onions, chillies, and pepper, as well as a variety of vegetables (usually chopped bell peppers or carrots). Unlike most Thai dishes, it doesn’t have chilli so it’ll be suitable for children or those who can’t handle spicy foods.