1. KRATONG TONG
There are actually tons of Thai appetizers and snacks. Many of them are fried, because of the Portuguese influence in the area. Kratong tong is one of the fancier appetizers that are often tine in the classier eateries of Thailand. These small, fragile fried shells may have a variety of ingredients – chicken, potato, corn, and carrot being especially common. There’s a creamy sauce that ties it all together.
2. GAI HAU BAI TOEY
This treat may be a little bit hard to find, but trust is – when you do find it, order more than one dish. This is basically chicken that is soaked in a soy sauce, sesame oil, and coriander root mixture. It is then wrapped in a fragrant pandan leaf and fried. The leaves leave a pleasant aroma on the chicken, making it very fragrant and herbal. Definitely a big upgrade from your usual fried chicken.
3. GAENG KEAW WAN
This spicy green curry is often served with either steamed white jasmine rice or rice noodles, called kanom jeen. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and a little salty. It’s the combination of flavors that makes this curry absolutely delicious.
4. RHAD NA
A Thai comfort food, rhad na is thick noodles in a thick gravy. The gravy is made up of some fish sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster sauce. It is thickened with a little flour or cornstarch. It’s a dish that is more salty than it is sweet, and it’s usually served with dry chili flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and chilies in vinegar that you can use to flavor your rhad na to your taste.
5. PAD THAI
Pad thai will never be genuine without pickled radish, bean sprouts, dried shrimp, and roasted peanuts. If you ever see carrots or peppers, turn around and walk right out of that shop. Vermicelli instead of pad thai noodles is acceptable, however. It’s a common practice in Thailand. Some restaurants serve pad thai wrapped in an egg omelette, but the flavor of the pad thai inside is still the same.
6. GAENG MUSSAMAN
This creamy, nutty curry will definitely have potatoes, carrots, and chicken legs. It’s a Muslim curry that is usually eaten with steamed white jasmine rice. There are a variety of spices here – coriander, cumin, gloves, and cinnamon, among others. It’s one of the less spicy Thai curries with barely any chili kick. Instead, it’s more on the sweet and sour side.
7. PLA RAD PRIK
There’s no pla rad prik without a whole pla. Pla is fish in Thai, and this dish is only served with a whole fried fish (yes, head and tail too). Grouper and striped bass are both commonly used. The fish is usually fried in some garlic and lots of oil, then covered with a delicious sauce that is sweet, sour, and spicy at the same time. Don’t let the whole fish scare you off – it’s delicious!
8. PAD KRA PRAO
This dish is a Thai classic. It’s sold everywhere, from street stalls to high-end restaurants. It is made with either chicken, pork, beef, or seafood fried with holy basil and lots of garlic and chili. It is served on steaming jasmine rice. You’re missing out of you don’t get a fried egg with a runny yolk and crisp edges. If the egg is present, you know it’s real. The additionals for this dish are simple: fish sauce and chopped chili. Add at your own risk.
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