The best thing about traveling is getting to try new foods in exotic locales, and Bangkok is no exception. While the city simply teems with restaurants offering delicious dishes and amping up the flavors of Thailand, it can be helpful to know what to look for when you go. We’re going to talk about our favorite dishes that we look for when we go to Bangkok, and we hope that in the meantime, you’ll come and enjoy the flavors of Thailand at Siam Queen Thai Bistro in San Diego.
Our Favorite Thai Food in Bangkok
Gaeng daeng (red curry)
Gaeng daeng has a striking presentation, though its spice level is actually quite mild (you can request fresh chili be added if you want to up the spice level). It’s an aromatic red curry with meat, red curry paste, and smooth coconut milk, as well as kaffir lime leaves on top. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can request that the chef replace the meat with tofu. This delicious fragrant curry smells amazing and its taste is quite delectable.
Pad thai (Thai-style fried rice noodles)
While you can easily get pad Thai at many Thai restaurants in America, the fresh dish in Thailand is a whole new flavor experience. Handfuls of small, thin or wide noodles are stir-fried in a searing hot wok with crunchy bean sprouts, onion, and egg. The dish is also frequently flavored with dried shrimp, fish sauce, garlic or shallots, red chili, and palm sugar. It’s a dish that usually contains seafood, but some places serve it with chicken, beef, or pork. The stir-fried noodle concoction is plated along with fresh lime wedges, crushed roasted peanuts, fresh bean sprouts, and fresh herbs, especially Thai basil.
Tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup)
The bold flavors and various textures in this soup deliver a delicious hit of spicy shrimp and delightful vegetable tastes. You’ll enjoy fragrant lemongrass, chili, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, and lime juice, together with succulent river shrimp and delicate straw mushrooms. This spicy/sour soup pairs beautifully with white rice. It is filling, refreshing, and spicy all at once!
Som tum (spicy green papaya salad)
Going for a taste of Northern Thailand, we now turn to Som tum, which comes from the north-eastern state of Isaan. A mortar and pestle are employed to grind together garlic, chilies, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and shredded raw papaya. This releases a sweet-sour-spicy flavor that is very distinctive. Some variations by region include peanuts, dry shrimp, or salted crab into the mix. This dish is often quite polarizing, as some people can’t get enough of it, while others are overwhelmed by the spices.
Khao pad (Thai style fried rice)
Often a lunch staple for Thai residents, khao pad is a delicious dish of rice, egg, and onion stir-fried and sometimes incorporating other flavors, such as fresh or preserved vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. Khao pad is sometimes served with tomato, cucumber slices, and fresh lime wedges on the side.
Tom kha hai (chicken in coconut soup)
This is a slightly milder twist on tom yung, infusing fiery chilis, crushed shallots, stalks of lemongrass, tender strips of chicken, and thinly sliced young galangal. The coconut milk helps to offset the spiciness, and it is topped with fresh limes leaves. As is often the case with Thai-style soups, pairing it with steamed white rice is recommended.
Kai pad med ma muang (stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts)
This barely-spicy dish is great for kids or people who really can’t handle spicy foods. It’s essentially, simply, stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. It also contains soy sauce, honey, onions, chilis, and pepper, as well as a variety of vegetables (usually bell peppers or carrots). While there is dried chili mixed in with the chicken and cashew nuts, it’s hardly spicy at all. An excellent choice especially for those who can’t handle spice.
Yum nua (spicy beef salad)
Yum nua is a delicious Thai salad topped with strips of tender, juicy beef. There is a zesty dressing employed that contains lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and palm sugar. You may choose to enjoy yum nua on its own, but having it with a side of rice helps to cut down the bold, sour-sweet flavor.
Gaeng keow wan kai (green chicken curry)
This dish gets its unique coloring from green chilis. The ingredients used in this dish are similar to many Thai curries: coconut milk, bamboo shoots, lemongrass, cherry-sized eggplants, galangal, coriander, and sweet basil. The flavor of this curry, however, is richer and sweeter than the classic tom yum, and it goes well with flatbread or steamed white rice.
Pad krapow moo (stir-fried basil and pork)
This delicious, one-plate dish can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Minced pork, holy basil leaves, large fresh chili, green beans, soy sauce, and sugar are stir-fried together in a work and accompanied by a pile of steamed rice with an egg on top on your plate. It’s spicy and absolutely delicious, and it perks up the senses considerably!
Now that you know our favorite dishes that we look for in Bangkok, what are yours? We would love to hear from you and get to know what your favorite Thai flavors are. It might even give us the opportunity to expand our menu! For a taste of authentic Thai food right here in San Diego, come to Siam Queen Thai Bistro today!