Top 5 Dishes to Try in Thailand

Posted May 20, 2013 by Agness Walewinder in Top 10

When in Thailand, you will not only fall in love with hospitable locals and stunning gold beaches, but also with Thai cuisine – slightly spicy, exotic, unusual and very affordable for every visitor, especially budget travellers. You will certainly discover new flavors and new textures with a great variety of herbs, spices, unknown vegetables and fruits, with each and every dish you try. Thai people cook with their heart and express their culture, history and traditions by their meals. Restaurants, bars and street stalls attract tourists with a great diversity of tastes and aromas. You can taste almost everything, although it takes some courage to try some of their foods, such as fried spiders and smoked scorpions. However, there are plenty of other dishes you must try if  bugs scare you off. Here is the list 3 absolutely must try traditional Thai dishes when staying in Thailand.


1. Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of the most popular Thai dishes and it is very easy to prepare. Its base consists of fried noodles, which are added to the individual components, eggs, chicken, bean sprouts, cabbage and sauces (spicy or sweet depending on your preference). Additionally, you can sprinkle some peanuts, lime and sharp pickled peppers on the top.

This dish first appeared in Thailand in the 30s of the twentieth century, most likely due to Vietnamese traders who brought it to the ancient capital – Ayuthay. Since that time Pad Thai became one of Thai national dishes extremely popular among tourists and travellers around the world for the sake of its simplicity and original flavor.


You will never get bored with Pad Thai as you can choose your favorite type of pasta, different ingredients every time and mix various herbs and spices in order to discover new flavors. You can get Pad Thai with eggs, shrimps, and / or meat.

Pad Thai is known as a street food. It is available practically everywhere in Thailand. In Bangkok the best way to taste this dish is just buying it from one of the street carts. In addition, the Pad Thai is easy to prepare, so you do not have to wait long for it and it is also very cheap. You can get a proper plate of it for only $1.


The dish is usually eaten for a breakfast. You can buy it in the morning, in the afternoon with food stalls usually change their menu to a typical dinner meals. Pad Thai is a healthy and light meal, but very nutritious. Even a small amount makes you feel comfortably full. Served in Thailand, Pad Thai is rather dry – for fried food does not contain too much fat. In western restaurants it is much heavier and more oily.

2. Thai Spring Rolls

It be can a great snack in between your proper meals when travelling in Thailand. Thai spring rolls are freshly fried in a deep oil so they are very crispy and extremely yummy. They are mainly filled with vegetables and pork meat, but you can order some with tofu and baby shrimp. You can get them everywhere in the street and local restaurants. They are often served with plenty of salad, spicy and sweet sauces, peanuts and cost only $1-2 per serving.By the way, it can be a nice topping for your Pad Thai.


3. Papaya Salad

Sweet and juicy papaya, crispy lettuce leafs and fragrant herbs are the main ingredients of this salad cooked either with jasmine or sticky rice and flavored with lime leaves. Papaya salad will not only fill you up but also cool you down in a hot Thai weather.

It’s very light and healthy and costs no more than $4 per portion. Most of the salads are served with rice, but you can also have it with noodles if you want. If you stay nearby a beach, papaya salad can be also served with seafood such as octopus or fresh shrimp. Ask for some spicy chili sauce and sprinkle some peanuts on the top and enjoy it!


4. Bugs

Walking down the streets of Bangkok, you can spot many food vendors selling various fried insects such as grasshoppers, scorpions, ant eggs, cockroaches and beetles. They might look disgusting to you at first, but once you try them you will like their salty taste and chewy texture. As you might not know, insects are highly prized in Thailand for the sake of their protein content and they are one of the most favourite dishes of local people.  There is also a common belief that eating the tails of scorpions makes people grow stronger and healthier. You can get a small bag of bugs for 50 cent or have one scorpion for $5-8.


5. Thai pancakes 

Thai pancakes are very sweet and tasty, served with coconut ice cream can cool you down on hot days. You can have them with chocolate syrup, Nutella, slices of your favourite fruits such as bananas, strawberries, mangoes and they are always topped with sweetened condensed milk and sprinkled with some peanuts. If you don’t like them sweet, ask for one with an egg and cheese folded inside, it’s also yummy and not that sweet! The best place for this indulgence would be China Town in Bangkok where you can get enormous pancakes for $1 each.


As you can see, Thailand has a lot to offer when it comes to food. Are you a big fan of spicy cuisine? That’s great – enjoy chili spring rolls for your lunch. Are you vegetarian  Have some egg Pad Thai for breakfast. Looking for a fresh and exotic dish? Don’t miss papaya salad with a dash of lemon for your dinner! For more information and photos of Thai cuisine you can visit Agness’s blog.

About the Author

Agness Walewinder

Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She writes about her adventure on

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