Best Thai Dishes | The Very Best Thai Food Around

This is a list of the very best Thai dishes. You know the sort. The very best of Thai cuisine, the dishes that have helped propel Thai food to the very top of the culinary mountain as one of the world’s most inarguably popular cuisines.


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Introduction

Objectively speaking, I think Thai food might be the coolest cuisine around. With exotic ingredients, like galangal and kaffir lime, Thai food has a depth and a freshness that is almost entirely unique.

Those beautiful, fresh ingredients lend Thai food a vibrancy and zing with which no other cuisine can compete. And when you add the unbridled heat of Thai chillies to the mix, you end up with a ferocity of flavour that simply doesn’t exist in any other cuisine.

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Throw in creamy coconut milk, heaps of fresh herbs and a bit more chilli for good measure, and you have a cuisine capable of hitting absolutely every single note.

When it comes to Thai food, even the descriptions border on the pornographic. So you can see why I felt a list of the very best Thai dishes might be a solid idea.

So here is the very best Thai food I can provide.

10. Larb

If you go by its premise alone, Larb doesn’t exactly do a lot to stand out from the crowd. Referred to as a meat salad, by western standards, it sounds not only like a strange and inexplicable contradiction, but possibly a bit of a bore.

While that does make it conceptually unique, so are lots of extremely unappealing things. So that alone isn’t quite enough to do it justice.

Yet when you actually dive in and try it, looking past its straightforward simplicity, larb gets a lot right.

The important thing to remember is that any salad is largely dependent on the potency of its flavours.

Salad, by nature, is uncomplex. It may be replete with all manner of ingredients, but salads are rarely layered with any real depth.

What you’re looking for, then, is that initial flavour explosion. Which is something larb packs in by the bucketload.

The meat is lightly cooked and really does function as part of a salad. So when you accentuate it with chilli it really does bring it right to life and your salad is already a very different beast to the salads we think of in the west.

Add mint, by which I mean a really good whack of mint and then another few for good measure, and the whole thing sings out like few other dishes will.

So if you fancy a few singing lessons, you can make it yourself by following this link!

9. Pad Krapow Gai

As with a great many of the dishes on this list, Pad Krapow Gai is a deceptively simple plate of food.

It’s name simply means chicken fried with basil, and if that was a British dish I have no doubt that’s exactly where the complexity would end.

But of course, this is not a British dish. This is a Thai dish. And while I’m not trying to decry the food of my own country – a cuisine that deserves a great deal more love than it gets – I am willing to admit that Thai food tends to be just that little bit more daring with even the simplest of flavour combinations.

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As such, Pad Krapow Gai has the comforting warmth of chicken, the brightness of basil and a whole host of other supporting flavours as well.

With the gentle depth of soy and the saltiness of fish sauce, a simple, warming sauce can be made and sweetened with palm sugar. Add a little lime to the mix and as easy as it sounds, it’s kind of like Thai comfort food.

So if you’re looking for a little comfort, check out my Pad Krapow Gai recipe right here!

8. Pad Kee Mao

Pad Kee Mao was introduced to me through the superbly small menu of a wonderful Thai chef who works nearby.

Referred to as drunken noodles, it’s a really simple dish. Comprised of chicken, noodles, greens and a simple sauce made from soy, lime and fish sauce, it’s incredibly simple and surprisingly satisfying.

So much so, in fact, that I tend to use it as the template for any stir fry I make without a real dish in mind. If I’m in a hurry, rushing around, or even if I just have some bits and pieces to use up, I lean toward a simple bowl of noodles with a simple set of ingredients and a simple soy-based sauce.

Because it works.

If you’d like to make some drunken noodles yourself, follow the link!

Authentic Thai Yellow Fish Curry | Thai Yellow Curry Paste Recipe

7. Thai Yellow Curry

The Thai Yellow curry gets a little less love than the other two at times. It’s not as feisty as the Thai green, nor as fiery as the red.

What it is, is just as exotic as either, and just as tasty.

With all the usual Thai suspects and a good helping of turmeric to boot, the Thai yellow has an earthy quality that sets it apart not only from the other coloured Thai curries, but from all Thai dishes.

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Unlike the Massaman or the Panang, the Thai yellow doesn’t stretch its influences so far as to feel like a hybrid of Thai cuisine and any others. But it does bring a depth of flavour through unusual aromats and wonderful dried spices that help to form a solid backdrop for the usual assortment of wonderfully fresh Thai flavours.

Often served as a super-creamy dish, the Thai yellow curry is best when, like its red and green siblings, it is first reduced until it splits and then rebuilt from the ground up.

Don’t worry, you’ll know what I mean when you check out my Thai Yellow Curry recipe!

Best Thai Food

6. Chicken & Cashew Nuts

Chicken and cashews is one of those simple sounding stir fries that decorates many a vaguely oriental takeaway menu.

With roots in both Thai and Chinese cuisine, the dish’s true origins appear either Chinese or even American but I have found that difficult to verify. Regardless, it is fair to say the dish is a staple of many a Thai menu and that a homemade version can certainly be suitably Thai-ified if the situation demands it.

Either way, what you get is a delicious and very straightforward stir fry with a wonderful, warming mix of sweetness and saltiness.

It’s easy eating. It’s very tasty easy eating. So even if it’s not strictly a Thai dish, I think it has a place on the list.

Why not go and make it yourself?

Best Thai Dishes

5. Pad Prik King

Pad Prik King, aka Phat Phrik Khing, is thought of as a dry curry, which I would argue makes it more of a stir fry with a paste. But who’s splitting hairs?

What really matters is that when you add that paste to a stir fry, you naturally add in heaps and heaps of flavour. What you don’t then do is water that flavour down with a whole load of stock, coconut milk, tomato juice or whatever else you might normally add to your curries.

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The result is the most wonderfully Thai take on a curry. A light, stir-fried dish with reams and reams of the most intensely fresh and wonderfully vibrant flavours.

You end up with a dish that almost dares to throw raw and unrefined curry paste at you. Almost. But not quite.

So you get those amazing flavours in their untarnished form, but still properly cooked into the whole.

In short, it’s amazing. Make it. Now.

Make your own Pad Prik King right here!

Best Thai Dishes

4. Pad Thai

When it comes to the Pad Thai, you’ve kind of got to think it’s the national dish for a reason.

With super-satisfying, silky rice noodles, fresh, crisp prawns, a touch of green and a good hit of peanut, the Pad Thai has everything you need for a simple and delicious meal.

Finished with a tamarind based sauce and enough soy and palm sugar to balance it out, as well as some chilli and a wedge of lime, the Pad Thai ticks pretty much every box.

The only unusual thing about it is that as the national dish of Thailand, it’s one of the least definitively Thai dishes on this list. Rumoured to have origins elsewhere in Asia, the Pad Thai has all the freshness and flavour of a good Thai dish, but the ingredients themselves are far from uniquely Thai.

Nevertheless, it came to great prominence and became its national dish, so in the spirit of adaptation, if you’d like to make your very own Pad Thai, follow this link and give it a try!

Best Thai Dishes

3. Panang Curry

I haven’t included a typical Thai red curry on this list because I don’t find it quite as interesting as the other two coloured Thai curries.

Fortunately, there exists a wonderful variation on the Thai red that adds a whole new and very worthwhile dimension. The Panang Curry.

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To the usual array of wonderful Thai ingredients, the Panang curry incorporates a whole heap of peanuts, which bring a nutty, creaminess to the sauce, a crunch to the top and an extra depth of flavour that really helps it to stand out.

My own version is made with chicken, but you can make this dish with whatever protein you like.

If you’d like to make a Thai Panang Curry, you know what to do!

Best Thai Dishes

2. Massaman Curry

At number 2 on this list of the best Thai dishes, we have my favourite Thai dish of all, the Massaman Curry.

Just pipped to the post by a true Thai classic, the Massaman hits every single nail right square on the head.

Fragrant and creamy, the Massaman curry takes the best characteristics of the Mughal cuisine from which it is derived and packs in a whole bunch of Thai freshness and flavour. The end result is a beautiful, creamy, fragrant dish with enough flavour to satisfy any palate.

Unique in the world of Thai curries, the Massaman stands out amongst the crowd. Almost a hybrid of various, delicious cuisines.

And to whatever protein you might choose to use, the Massaman adds chunks of supremely satisfying potato, to provide an extra bit of bite few other curries can claim.

To make a Thai Massaman Curry of your very own, check out my recipe right here!

Best Thai Dishes

1. Thai Green Curry

So here it is. The number 1 dish on this list of the very best Thai dishes is the Thai Green Curry.

And let’s be honest, how could it not be?

Thailand has any number of true classic dishes. Many, many of which are deserving of the status as the absolute best of them all.

In fact, you could even argue that amongst the coloured curries, there are many people who would put the red above the green.

But I am not amongst them.

In my eyes, the Thai green curry is THE quintessentially Thai dish. The truest classic and the best example of Thai cuisine. One packed with enough potency and ferocity of flavour that it even outstrips the Pad Thai, Thailand’s national dish, as the dish we all think of first when we think of Thai food.

With blistering green chillies, zesty lime and a whole host of deliciously fresh vegetables, the Thai green curry somehow manages to be a little bit of everything. Sweet in name, fiery and sour in flavour, yet creamy and warming in texture, it is in many ways the perfect dish.

To check out THE Thai classic dish, head on over and try out my Thai Green Chicken Curry recipe.

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