Top 10 Foods to Eat in Thailand!
As self-proclaimed “Foodies”, we think it’s only right to share our top 10 Thai foods! We love Thai food, each dish has so many different flavors working together to make literal magic. This list is merely a “beginner’s course” of Thai food, some we may have already mentioned on our YouTube channel, or in our previous Chiang Mai posts. Forgive us if a few of these items are “repeats”, they are just too good not to mention. It is also fair to acknowledge that we only visited 3 cities within the two weeks we were there. I am certain we have many more delicious Thai foods to discover, however, we had the pleasure of eating some really tasty things within our two-week Thai adventure. So here is the list in no particular order because each dish is #1 in its own way!
Tom Yam Soup – Found everywhere.
We had Tom Yam soup a few times on our trip, however, the best bowl of this deliciously creamy soup actually came from the cooking class we took while we were in Chiang Mai. It is filled with beautiful flavors like Thai ginger, onion, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, chilis, and coconut cream just to name a few. A good bowl of Tom Yam will leave you satisfied by all measures. It is salty, sweet, spicy, and creamy, the perfect taste-quartet, something we really love about Thai food in general.
We went to the Zabb E Lee Thai Cooking School located a street off the north wall, inside the old city. If you love Thai food we really think you should take a cooking class, you learn so much about WHY you love Thai food. Plus, you get to eat everything you make… like this Tom Yam soup!
Green Papaya Salad – North Market, Chiang Mai.
At first, this coveted Thai dish was one we were a bit unwilling to try. I’ve had ripe papaya, and I don’t think I’ll ever willingly try it again. However, un-ripe papaya (or green papaya) is a crisp, cool, semi-tart, blank canvas of a fruit that makes a delicious salad! Add in shaved carrot, chopped green beans, chilis, palm sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp (slightly fishy, crunchy, salty goodness), and roasted peanuts, this salad is filled with flavors that somehow work together to make the most refreshingly salty, sweet, and spicy fruit salad you’ve ever tasted.
We really enjoyed the green papaya salad we had at the North Gate Market in Chiang Mai (40 baht = $1.25), if you’re in Chiang Mai you need to check this market out. It was easily our favorite food spot while in this city.
Coconut Ice Cream – Wat, Bangkok
You can find stands and rolling food carts of coconut ice cream anywhere there are tourists in Thailand. We even found one in a touristy area of Vietnam. Each does it a bit differently, some served in a coconut husk, some not. Some give you a few little scoops, others give you a few HUGE scoops. Some come with a few toppings, others you can add all the topping you want! And each stand has a different price point. We tried staying under 40 baht for one serving, but the best coconut ice cream we found was actually near the docks in Bangkok, just near Wat Pho, in easily one of the most touristy parts of town. It was 50 baht, in the husk, two toppings (double peanut is the way to go), with chocolate sauce, and FOUR BIG SCOOPS of ice cream. We love ice cream, so to us, this was a personal moment of euphoria. This may be dramatic, but in the Bangkok heat, we thought we’d found heaven.
Thai Tea pops – Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
Do you love Thai tea? Do you love it as we do?! Let me introduce you to the Thai tea popsicle! We found them at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. You can find someone selling popsicles anywhere around Thailand, just keep on the lookout for something that looks like this:
And yes, there are other flavors, but why would you want any other flavor than Thai Tea??? We got one pop for 5 baht (=$0.15). I regret just buying one. I would spend 15 cents every day if I could have these pops!
Khao Soi – Khao Soi Khun Yai, Chiang Mai
I promise I won’t go so in depth into why you need Khao Soi in your life, as I’ve already delved deep into this subject on the last post.. but seriously.. you need to find some Khao Soi now!! It is creamy, curry, spicy, sweet, noodle-y, pickled mustard green goodness in a bowl. If you DON’T order Khao Soi while in Northern Thailand, did you even go there?
Make a trip to Khao Soi Khun Yai, located on the outside of the north wall of the old city. You cannot beat a FANTASTIC bowl of this soup for 50 baht (=$1.57). We went multiple times, the adorable women who run this place actually started to recognize us by the end of our trip.
Hot Pot – with egg, glass noodles, cabbage, and pork – Night Bazaar, Chiang Rai
This was an accidental discovery on our part. We arrived in Chiang Rai, tired, hungry, HANGRY, and we realized our hotel was right beside the night bazaar. 100% GREAT NEWS. So we walked over and found the open-air food court with the yellow tables and chairs. We were in the right spot, and as we walked around to see our options we realized at least half of the shops were selling hot pot, and most of the people sitting down were eating hot pot. So we went with our gut, chose a vendor, and ordered our first hot pot! Out came a tiny clay cauldron set atop flaming hot coals, and inside this cauldron was super tasty broth ready to cook the ingredients laid out before us.
We ordered a small plate of pork, glass noodles, veggies, and one egg. You add your ingredients and let the broth do it’s magic! Ladle out the piping hot soup into smaller bowls, and you’ve got the perfect meal! Not only is hot pot really delicious, but it is also really fun! We went back the second night for another round and it was just as good as the first night! Especially if you are in Chiang Rai, you don’t have to look very hard for this dish, just go to the night bazaar, it’ll be there for sure.
Pad Thai – North Market, Chiang Mai
Ordering Pad Thai in Thailand is a must. The one problem about Pad Thai is: there’s lots of bad pad thai out there. Pad thai needs to be saucy, not dry. We encountered many dry pad thai, not that they were bad, but once you’ve had good pad thai, it’s hard to deal with a mediocre version.
If you make it up to Chiang Mai, the North Market serves up a delicious vegetarian pad thai. There is a small vendor located right at the center of the market. They sell pad thai and spring rolls. It’s kind of hard to miss, so go find it, and order some veggie pad thai!
Northern Thai Sausage – Outside Wararot Market at night, Chiang Mai
Also called, “sai ua”, this sausage is a must try. The best version I tasted was at a stand just outside the Wararot Market at night. A slew of street food vendors line up at night on a street corner near the Wararot Market, and they have the MEATS. You’ll see a dark red looking sausage, usually in a spiral. That’s what you’re looking for! I ordered a piece that was about 4 inches long for 20 baht (=$0.62). If you’re skeptical about trying it, don’t be. It tastes just like curry! If you like/love/adore Khao Soi, then you will be sure to enjoy sai ua. I don’t really even like sausage that much, and I loved it! I regret being hesitant to order it until one of the last nights we were in Thailand, but then I ordered it every night before we left!
Mango Sticky Rice– Found everywhere.
Steamed sticky rice added to a saucepan of thick coconut cream-palm sugar goodness. THEN, ladled with slightly salty coconut cream goodness. And THEN, topped off with perfectly ripened mango. Oh, what a treat! Mango sticky rice is everything your heart desires. It is carbs, sugar, salt, thick, fruity AMAZEMENT… order some.
Fruit Smoothies – ANYWHERE, but especially the North Market, Chiang Mai
You can find fresh fruit smoothies anywhere and everywhere in Thailand. All over Thailand, fruit is abundant and perfectly ripe! We’ve had banana smoothies, watermelon smoothies, banana-mango smoothies, banana-chocolate smoothies, mango-dragonfruit smoothies, blueberry-yogurt smoothies, watermelon-strawberry smoothies, and they were all delicious and perfectly refreshing. You cannot go wrong with any combination of fruit you see on the smoothie stand, but be cautious, especially in Chiang Mai, because you can easily be overcharged. We think one smoothie should cost about 30 baht (=$0.94). We saw them priced at 50-80 baht all over the old city. In our opinion, that’s a rip-off. Go to the North gate night market, there are two dueling stands right across from each other selling delicious fruit smoothies for only 30 baht = perfection!
Hopefully, this list of top 10 Thai foods will guide you on your Thai food journey! Even if you’re not in Thailand, you can find many of these items at Thai restaurants, so push your boundaries and try one! We really loved making this list, but not as much as we loved eating all of the things on it! Thanks for reading!