Spanning four distinct regions, influences ranging from China to the Middle East, a multitude of exotic ingredients, and a reputation for spice, Thai food can be a bit intimidating. To point you in the direction of the good stuff, we’ve put together a shortlist of must-eat dishes from Bangkok and Thailand’s south.
10. Kôw yam
A popular breakfast in southern Thailand, this dish includes rice topped with sliced herbs, bean sprouts, dried prawns, toasted coconut and powdered red chilli, served with a sour/sweet fish-based sauce.
9. P à t tai
This dish of thin rice noodles fried with egg, tofu and shrimp, and seasoned with fish sauce, tamarind and dried chilli, has emerged as the poster boy for Thai food – and justifiably so.
8. Gǒoay đěeo reua
Known as boat noodles because they were previously served from canals in central Thailand, these intense pork- or beef-based bowls are among the most full-flavoured of all Thai noodle dishes.
7. Oh đow
This dish, a speciality of Phuket Town, takes the form of small chunks of taro fried with egg and tiny oysters, and topped with deep-fried pork rind.
Something of a grilled curry, this dish combines coconut cream, a herb paste and seafood, all wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled until firm.
5. Loh bà
A Phuket Town delicacy; deep-fried savoury snacks served with a slightly sweet dipping sauce.
4. Kôw mòk
The Thai version of biryani couples golden rice and tender chicken with a sweet-and-sour dip and a savoury broth.
3. Ðôm yam
The ‘sour Thai soup’ moniker featured on many English-language menus is a feeble description of this mouth-puckeringly tart and intensely spicy herbal broth.
2. Gaang kĕe·o wăhn
Known outside of Thailand as green curry, this intersection of a piquant, herbal spice paste and rich coconut milk is single-handedly emblematic of Thai cuisine’s unique flavours and ingredients.
This family of Thai ‘salads’ combines meat or seafood with a tart and spicy dressing and fresh herbs.