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  1. #1
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    Thai foods we can't live without

    Given that one of the first things Thais ask each other when they meet up is "Have you eaten yet?" it's clear this is a nation that's extremely passionate about its eats.
    You want to know how good a Thai restaurant is? Don't look at the menu, the decor or even the prices. Look at the number of people inside. That's your quality indicator.
    In celebration of Bangkok's fantastic cuisine and the restaurants that have perfected it, we've rounded up the Thai dishes we couldn't imagine living without.
    Some are world famous, others are more obscure, but they're all worth trying, at least once. If you've got your own favourite that i've missed, let me know...

    Tom Yum Gung

    This Thai masterpiece soup is teeming with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.
    It can be ordered loaded with coconut milk (tom yum gung nam kohn) and cream or without (tom yum gung nam sai) for a slightly more sour and healthy version.
    This soup truly unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet, all in one bowl. This is an authentic Thai delicacy that many locals are passionate about and which has spread around the world.

    Gang Som Pak Ruam

    The Thai fusion of sweet, sour and spicy are all combined into another ultra vibrant soup.
    This soup base can be packed with vegetables like carrots, cabbage and green beans (pak ruam) or it can be served with a deep fried omelet made from eggs and a stringy green vegetable leaf (Thai acacia leaf) called cha om (gang som cha om kai).

    Gang Keow Wan

    One of the most famous and sought after Thai dishes is Thai green curry.
    Green curry paste, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chicken, Thai basil, Thai eggplant and the ever present herbs and roots of Thai cuisine (lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves etc), make this curry an unforgettable blend of delights.
    It is usually prepared quite soupy so a plate of rice is necessary to sop up every intricate drop.

    Panang Gai

    Red curry paste fried up with chicken and then doused with coconut cream creates a succulent and spicy red curry.
    The dish is then served with finely chopped kaffir lime leaves sprinkled on top.
    Panang gai is a dish that if made correctly should explode with dynamic flavors as soon as it touches the tip of your tongue.

    Gang Massaman

    Massaman is a sweet curry that originates from Southern Thailand as a Halal dish.
    The curry sauce is a mixture of curry paste, coconut milk, a strong flavor of peanuts, and a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.
    Massaman is usually pre-made with chicken and always a few chunks of potatoes that have delightfully soaked up the coconut milk like a sponge.

    Jim Jum

    A fantastic way to relax over dinner is to enjoy Jim Jum with a few friends. A small clay pot filled with an outstanding porky aromatic broth sits over a bed of charcoal.
    The host brings an assortment of raw morning glory, cabbage, meats (usually pork and liver), beat eggs, glass noodles, and the all important holy Thai basil.
    The vegetables and meats are thrown into the pot to slowly boil into a nourishing and hearty soup.

    Kao Na Phet

    Roasted duck is a specialty throughout Asia as the meat is fattier and has a more distinct flavor than chicken.
    Thai kao na phet is served on a plate of rice with a selection of duck parts cut and then drizzled with duck stock. A simple but exuberant duck soup is served along with the rice.
    It's easy to distinguish a duck and rice/noodles eatery as the ducks will be hung from their necks in a glass cabinet.

    Kao Niew Moo Yang

    Grilled pork skewers and sticky rice in little bags are available in all the nooks and crannies and at all hours in Bangkok.
    Quick, easy, delicious, available, and filling are all reasons to grab a sack while you're on the go. Kao niew moo yang are available everywhere you look and can't be missed.

    Nam Tok Moo

    Nam tok in Thai literally means waterfall. Grilled tender juicy pork is mingled with generous portions of lemon juice, green onions, chili, mint sprigs, fish sauce and toasted rice, making the meat taste fresh.
    The blood from the meat along with the dressing inspired someone to name this brilliant food waterfall meat, and rightfully so.

    Pad Ga Pow Moo Kai Dow

    If a local Thai doesn't know what to order, it almost certainly comes down to pad ga pow. A stir-fried dish that can be trusted to turn out delicious and satisfying every time and at almost every eatery.
    Chicken, pork or minced meat is stir fried in oil with garlic, chilies, small green vegetables like green beans and the vibrant basil that gives the dish its flavor.
    It's fashionable to eat it over a pile of rice accompanied by a fried egg. Neighbourhood eateries tend to serve the best pad ga pow, though it's available almost anywhere.

    Plah Plow

    A popular fish to eat with som tam and sticky rice is plain grilled and salted fish.
    The fish is firstly stuffed with lemongrass, lime leaves and other ingredients for flavor, and then rolled in a thick coat of salt. It is then grilled, never overcooked, to juicy perfection.
    The result is a soft sweet white meat fish that literally liquefies in your mouth. Chewing is almost unnecessary.
    Plah plow is made with all kinds of fish including snake head fish, Tilapia and snapper.

    Som Tam

    Som tam is perhaps Thailand's most famous salad. Garlic and chilies are first pounded with a mortar and pestle (krok). Tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya are tossed in the krok (som tam thai).
    The sweet, salty, and spicy flavors paired with the crisp crunch of the green papaya and sticky rice is utterly luscious. Many variations are available including one made with crab (som tam boo) and one made with fermented fish sauce (som tam plah lah).

    Gai Pad King

    Ginger is the undeniable king in this splendid recipe. Huge amounts of grated ginger, boneless chicken, various mushrooms, onions, chilies and oyster sauce are fried together in harmony.
    Makes a great addition to any multi-ordered table of dishes and is available at pretty much any Thai restaurant in the city.

    Dozens more dishes out there, a constant journey of discovery.

    CCC

  2. #2
    Custard User stroller's Avatar
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    Northern Gaeng Hang Lay:
    "There is no way in a recipe to communicate what’s going on in here; a thick red chili paste marinate, that bursts in orange turmeric color, provides the perfect seen to the tender, almost falling apart, pork meat. If you like curries with the thickness and complexity of the Massaman Curry, you will enjoy this salty, sweet and sour dish."


  3. #3
    Utopian Expat
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    Not tried that dish Stroller, could eat that now.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Gaeng hang lay is great.

    The Shan make a chicken version called oopguy which is good also.



    Nam prik noom (green) and nam prik om (red) with sticky rice, pork rinds, and veggies.

  5. #5
    I am in Jail

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    CCC you could have Pics which weren't covered in oil.

  6. #6
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    heading to a thai restaurant tomorrow and really can't wait! Haven't had a thai curry for over a year!

  7. #7
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    Wouldn't mind any of those, except for the tom yum and gaeng som. These two popular Thai dishes don't do it for me (which is a bit odd 'cos I love sour tastes).

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    You haven't hated gaeng som until you've tried Southern gaeng som.

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    The selection is overwhelmingly biased towards the cuisine of the centre and south of Thailand, which makes it as biased, unrepresentative, and flawed as the politics of this once booming country.

    Kudos at least for including the Lao/ Isaan dish of somtam. But what about larb? Or grilled chicken- which after all, served with somtam, is as ubiquitous a Bangkok office workers lunch as noodle soup. Or pad kha pao for that matter- I see a whole lot more of that eaten by the majority of the population of Thailand than the largely southern dish of gaeng som (very nice btw, to this farang).

    Maybe a tourist can get use from it, if he/she doesn't venture north of Ayuddhaya.
    probes Aliens

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    The selection is overwhelmingly biased towards the cuisine of the centre and south of Thailand, which makes it as biased, unrepresentative, and flawed as the politics of this once booming country.

    Kudos at least for including the Lao/ Isaan dish of somtam. But what about larb? Or grilled chicken- which after all, served with somtam, is as ubiquitous a Bangkok office workers lunch as noodle soup. Or pad kha pao for that matter- I see a whole lot more of that eaten by the majority of the population of Thailand than the largely southern dish of gaeng som (very nice btw, to this farang).
    Picture 10 in the OP, Sabang.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Pad Ga Pow Moo Kai Dow

    If a local Thai doesn't know what to order, it almost certainly comes down to pad ga pow. A stir-fried dish that can be trusted to turn out delicious and satisfying every time and at almost every eatery.
    Chicken, pork or minced meat is stir fried in oil with garlic, chilies, small green vegetables like green beans and the vibrant basil that gives the dish its flavor.
    It's fashionable to eat it over a pile of rice accompanied by a fried egg. Neighbourhood eateries tend to serve the best pad ga pow, though it's available almost anywhere.

  11. #11
    hangin' around cyrille's Avatar
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    Yeah, really not sure there is bias against the NE.

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    Dear Mr chitty, i am stuck on a mountainside in New Guinea and you go and post pictures like this !

    its just not fair !

  13. #13
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    Thom Yum Gung is my favorte Thai dish. I had a bowl every day when I spent a week in Hua Hin with the family recently. My wife had snapper in spicy lemon sauce every day, which I ate half of.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Dozens more dishes out there
    the Cream of sum yung gai?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Northern Gaeng Hang Lay:
    "There is no way in a recipe to communicate what’s going on in here; a thick red chili paste marinate, that bursts in orange turmeric color, provides the perfect seen to the tender, almost falling apart, pork meat. If you like curries with the thickness and complexity of the Massaman Curry, you will enjoy this salty, sweet and sour dish."


    Oddly, it's available in Black Canyon Coffee shops and, considering they're Coffee Shops, it tastes pretty good.

  16. #16
    ไม่อยู่ใต้กะลามะพร้า ว HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Yeah, really not sure there is bias against the NE.
    One could argue that most of "Thai" cuisines have had significant subliminal Issan influence throughout, with the obvious exception of the deep south, which is quite Malay unique.

    Lao, Khmer, and Chinese are the favoured influences as to what has morphed into acceptable labeled Thai cuisine.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by moose65 View Post
    Dear Mr chitty, i am stuck on a mountainside in New Guinea and you go and post pictures like this !

    its just not fair !
    Hold in there bud mountain rescue have been scrambled

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverna View Post
    Picture 10 in the OP, Sabang.
    Yikes, what a woopsie- even had the fried egg!

    But no larb, no noodle soup (I wager there is more kwai teow eaten here than most of those dishes). Or moo yang:-




    Thankfully though, pad thai is not included- I don't see that much outside of tourist places, and hardly ever in isaan. Bit surprised pad siu doesn't make the cut though.

    Dozens more dishes out there, a constant journey of discovery.
    For sure. A bit curious who wrote the article though- a westerner who presumably hasn't lived in isaan, at a guess.

  19. #19
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    kor mu yang nam cheen jao, aroi.

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    Cor moo yang, khao pad, pad prik gaeng, laab, tom kha gai, moo grob, and farang favourites like gaprow, gaeng keow...Too many to mention, but never pad thai.

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    ไม่อยู่ใต้กะลามะพร้า ว HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Yikes, what a woopsie- even had the fried egg!

    But no larb, no noodle soup (I wager there is more kwai teow eaten here than most of those dishes). Or moo yang:-




    Thankfully though, pad thai is not included- I don't see that much outside of tourist places, and hardly ever in isaan. Bit surprised pad siu doesn't make the cut though.


    For sure. A bit curious who wrote the article though- a westerner who presumably hasn't lived in isaan, at a guess.
    Or even little knowledge or exposure of Thai eating habits, less Isaan - which is a completely different kettle of fish.

    Consider the OP, not from where he gathered the piece.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Thankfully though, pad thai is not included- I don't see that much outside of tourist places, and hardly ever in isaan
    Probably because it's a fake traditional dish. Created by Marshall Plaek Phibunsongkram because he felt Thailand needed a national dish. He did that kind of thing, him and his wife also named the country Thailand, invented the Ramwong, and created what now passes for traditional female costume (It's not genuine traditional Thai female costume if you can't see their boobies) because they felt real Thai culture just wasn't good enough. Pad Thai didn't exist before the 30s/40s.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

  23. #23
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    a lot of good thai food mentioned in the op.

    would like to add this: shrimp paste chili dip with veggies and fish.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    also, a sweet old lady sells this on the street every evening and i pick it up a few times a week (goes well with a few sangsoms with ice water): yam bplah dook foo:

    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
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    First thing I'll eat when I get back is a straight somtam, gai yang set.

    Then I'll embark on an outing with the ale. And I may be some time...

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