8 Thai Foods and Drinks You Must Try

Find out all you need to know about the best Thai food and drinks before your trip.

Thai food is one of the lightest among Southeast Asian cuisines. It makes use of various local ingredients and aims for a harmonious finish. Spices and herbs consist a pivotal part of Thai culinary arts, giving each dish a distinctive aromatic edge. It carries traces from Chinese cuisine, especially in the street food scene, with deep-fries and stir-fries among the most popular snacks. You will love the experience of browsing the food stalls for different flavors and dining multi-course at Thai restaurants. With a large number of regional variations and historical influences, Thai food may be difficult to explore. Check out this guide for food in Thailand and make sure you get the best of it. Before you arrive, also keep in mind these Thai food tips:

  • Try to consume bottled water instead of tap water as much as possible, and approach iced drinks and uncooked meals with caution.
  • Don’t mind the waiting and always go to the busiest street food stalls and shops, as they will have the freshest food.
  • As part of the tradition, restaurants usually serve rice in separate bowls. Put a few spoons of your main dish, sauces, and condiments on top of the rice to dine like a local.

Must-Try Thai Foods

Here are the top dishes of the Thai food scene that will help you eat like a local:

Thai food

Guay Teow

A signature Thai food that has received international recognition, Guay Teow is the Thai version of the quintessential noodle soup of Southeast Asia. It is the classic broth filled with rice or egg noodles and either pork, beef, or chicken. Sadly, vegetarian versions are rare, but you can always ask. The best and most distinctive feature of Guay Teow is the toppings that turn the meal into a carnival of flavors. They usually include fish sauce, lime juice, chili pepper, and sugar. Keep in mind that ordering Guay Teow is a meticulous process. You can choose from a variety of noodles (rice, vermicelli, or egg), meatballs (pork, fish, chicken, beef), and additional toppings, which create the heart and soul of the dish.

Thai food

Tom Yum Goong

The traditional pot meals of Southeast Asia feature fresh shrimp in the delicious dish called Tom Yum Goong. A hearty mix of Thailand’s best foods swims in a rich broth. Tom Yum is famous for its intense spice content, generally featuring lemongrass, galangal, and chili peppers. Lime juice and kaffir lime leaves give the dish a refreshing aroma. But, if you are looking for a more fulfilling meal, you can always order creamy Tom Yum prepared with coconut milk. Locals often consume it at lunch.

Thai food

Som Tam

A Northeastern original, Som Tam is a cheerful salad of seasonal ingredients including green papaya, shrimp, beans, palm sugar, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and chili peppers. It belongs to the family of Thai pounded salads which are common across the tantalizing street food eateries across the country. There are both spicy and non-spicy versions available at Thai restaurants. The latter is sweet and a perfect choice for a light lunch.

pad thai

Pad Thai

You might have seen it everywhere from casual pubs to fine-dining restaurants. Thailand’s most iconic dish is also an international favorite, available both vegetarian and with meats. Pad Thai is fried noodles usually made with chicken or shrimp and seasoned with peanuts, bean sprouts, sesame, and sweet and sour sauces. You will mostly see it in street food stalls. You can replace the fish sauce with soy sauce if you are ordering a vegetarian Pad Thai.

Thai food

Pad Phak

This colorful Thai food is one of the best vegetarian dishes the country has to offer. It is not as common as the other dishes and street food, but you will find it if you look hard enough. It is stir-fried pumpkin dipped in oyster and soy sauce, garlic powder, and other seasonal spices. For a more fulfilling plate, order it with freshly steamed jasmine rice.


Thai Roti

Thai people replace waffles and pancakes with Thai Roti. It is a greasy and mouthwatering sweet dough cooked in street grills at almost every corner in Thailand. It is the signature dessert dish and a favorite quick bite for locals and travelers. You can choose among a variety of toppings and fillings to be added to the buttered dough. Local fruits are delicious, and we recommend coloring up the scene with Nutella or various other chocolate toppings.

Must-Try Thai Drinks


Named after the legendary Mekhong river of Southeast Asia, Mekhong is one of the oldest and most cherished drinks in Thailand. It is the first domestically produced spirit in the country and holds a dear place in the hearts of Thai people. Distilled from sugar cane and rice, Mekhong comes from the breweries outside Bangkok. What creates the matchless aroma and strong flavor is the indigenous herbs and spices that go into it. It is the main alcohol in many of the local cocktails, which are a great way to taste the ‘spirit of Thailand’. However, we recommend drinking it neat to relish its unique taste.

Sri Lankan food

Nom Yen

Better than any milkshake you have ever tasted, Nom Yen will make you smile on the hot and humid days in Thailand. It is basically an iced milk drink made unique and 100% Thai with some aromatic sala syrup. You will hear locals refer to it as pink milk. There are more Nom Yen vendors on the chaotic streets of Thailand than anything else. So, sooner or later you will help yourself with this delightful Thai beverage. Try the local desserts made with Nom Yen as well, if you come across one in the cafes.

Thai food

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