Thai Language Blog

20 Common Thai Dishes Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Beginner, Culture, Travel

What comes to mind when you think of Thailand? Sandy beaches? Wild parties? Glistening temples? For many people around the world, the first thing they think of when it comes to Thailand is the country’s famous cuisine. Thai food (อาหารไทย – aa-hăan tai) often tops lists of best in the world, and for good reason. Thai cooking utilizes all of the major tastes – sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy – usually three at a time in one dish, and sometimes all five! The cuisine of Thailand varies greatly depending on which region you’re in, and can roughly be broken down into four main ones – Northern, Isan (Northeast), Central, and Southern. That being said, there are certain dishes that you can find all across the country, and even in Thai restaurants all over the world. To help you learn more about delicious Thai cuisine along with a bit of language, here are 20 common dishes in English and Thai:


There's rice in there somewhere, buried underneath that delicious pork omelet!

There’s rice in there somewhere, buried underneath that delicious pork omelet!

  • sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียว – kâao nĭeow)

  • fried rice (ข้าวผัด – kâao pàt)

  • pork and rice omelet (ข้าวไข่เจียวทรงเครื่อง – kâao kài jieow song krêuang)

  • Hainanese chicken rice (ข้าวมันไก่ – kâao man gài)

  • roast red duck on rice (ข้าวหน้าเป็ด – kâao nâa bpèt)


Pad Thai

Perhaps the most famous Thai dish.

  • Pad Thai (ผัดไทย – pàt tai)

  • Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย – kâao soi)

  • egg noodle soup with red roast pork (บะหมี่หมูแดง – bà-mèe mŏo daeng)

  • drunken noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดขี้เมา – gŭay-dtĭeow pàt kêe mao)

  • Pad see ew (ผัดซีอิ๊ว – pàt-see-íw) – noodles stir-fried w/ soy sauce


Thai curry

So many curries!

  • yellow curry (แกงกะหรี่ – gaeng gà rèe)

  • green curry (แกงเขียวหวาน – gaeng kĭeow wăan)

  • red curry (แกงเผ็ด – gaeng pèt)

  • Phanaeng curry (แกงพะแนง – gaeng pá-naeng)

  • Massaman curry (แกงมัสมั่น – gaeng mát-sà-màn)


Tom yum goong

Good ole’ tom yum goong!

  • Tom Yum Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง – dtôm yam gûng)

  • papaya salad (ส้มตำ – sôm dtam)

  • Pad Ka-Prao (ผัดกะเพรา – pàt gà prao) – stir fried pork w/ holy basil

  • Tom Kha Gai (ต้มข่าไก่ – dtôm-kàa gài) – Thai coconut soup

  • chicken w/ cashew nuts (ไก่ผัดเม็ดมะม่วงหิมพานต์ – gài pàt mét má-mûang hĭm-má-paan)

Hungry yet? You should be! Now get out there and order your next Thai meal in Thai! To make you drool just a bit more, here’s a great video about Thai cuisine from Living Asia Channel:




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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.