Last Updated on March 13, 2023
Bangkok is the well-known capital of Thailand and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Incredible architecture and historic landmarks that are unmatched by most countries fill the city, but, perhaps, one of their biggest draws is their delicious and affordable food options.With nearly 13 percent of the country’s population, Bangkok is able to feature Thailand’s local dishes at their best and there are some must try local dishes in Bangkok you need to know about.
A typical restaurant or street food markets in Bangkok is no stranger to serving locals and tourists classic Thai dishes. It is not uncommon for some restaurants to even specialize in one particular dish that follows a family recipe passed down for generations. This list will tell you about the best local dishes you can find for an authentic food experience in Bangkok!
Tom Kha Kai
Tom Kha Kai is a dish best known to be a coconut milk-based soup. Many of the same herbs and spices that Tom Yam contains are found in this spicy and sour soup, but coconut milk is added to make a creamy broth. Another component of the recipe is the straw mushrooms that give the soup a pleasant earthy flavor.
The course usually contains chicken, but other variations may have seafood, pork, or tofu instead. This soup is the perfect cure for a chilly day in Bangkok, but will taste just as good any time of the year.
Tom Yam is a well-known dish in Thailand. In Thai, ‘Tom’ refers to the cooking process of boiling the meat, and ‘Yam’ relates to a particular spicy and sour version of the Thai salad. So, together, the two words create the name for a spicy and sour soup.
The distinct flavor of this soup is attributed to the various herbs and vegetables. These seasonings create the hot and sour taste that many find to be refreshing. The core ingredients include stock, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, chili peppers, galangal, lemon grass, and shrimp. There are several variations on the recipe, including Tom Yam Goong. This Bangkok favorite serves the soup with prawns rather than shrimp.
TAKEAWAY: Pad Thai is speculated to have Chinese origins based on its similarities to many Chinese-style stir-fries. In the World War II era, this meal served as a quick and nutritious meal for the people of Thailand and has since served as a staple in many Thai restaurants internationally.
People who are familiar with Pad Thai might be able to characterize the food by the crushed peanuts and lime that is served atop the noodles. Although the peanuts are a part of the original recipe, it is now common for the meal to be presented without them for travelers with food allergies. The lime, however, remains a key ingredient that helps to make the sweet and sour flavor stand out.
Pad Thai is an essential food for street vendors and restaurants alike in Bangkok. The dish is a type of stir-fry made with rice noodles, egg, and tofu. Vegetables like bean sprouts and shallots are usually common additions to the stir-fry as well. Pad Thai can also be served vegetarian style. This version simply replaces the fish sauce with soy sauce and omits the fish or meat it is cooked with.
This seafood dish is one of the most popular Thailand cuisines. Plah Plow is a fresh white fish stuffed with herbs like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, salted, and grilled. A few minutes on the grill makes the fish tender and juicy.
Typically, this recipe is cooked with Som Tam, a spicy Thai salad made with unripe papaya and sticky rice. The sweet and salty fish with the spicy salad creates a flavor profile that is hard to pass down.
Also known as Panang Curry, Panang Gai is a red curry dish with a few unique qualities that make it another Bangkok favorite. Panang Gai is rich and creamy from the addition of thick coconut milk that also creates a sweet taste. The coconut milk is one of the only sources of liquid in the curry paste, which makes it drier than most Thai curries.
This type of curry is one of two curry courses made with peanuts, which add a nutty and salty element. Panang Gai typically pairs with thin slices of beef covered lightly in curry sauce. However, chicken, pork, and fish are also options for this meal.
Pad See Eui
This is another noodle meal that has become popular in Thai restaurants worldwide, and remains a popular lunch menu item in Bangkok. The broad rice noodles are stir-fried with soy sauce, Chinese broccoli, and egg. This course is served with meat such as chicken, pork, shrimp, or beef. Like Pad Thai, the dish can replace the fish sauce with soy sauce to become a vegetarian recipe.
Pad See Eui can be found served on the streets from food stands or in sit-down restaurants. The thick noodles combined with green vegetables make for a very filling and satisfying meal.
Kai Pad Med Ma Muang
The Chinese meal, Kung Pao Chicken is the original adaptation of this recipe. In the Thai version, the dish is a chicken stir-fry with cashews rather than peanuts. This is a typical meal you can find served at most Thai restaurants in Bangkok. This stir-fry is tossed together with onions, bell peppers, scallions, and, of course, cashews.
Toasted cashews give the food a distinct nutty flavor that makes it different from any other stir-fry on this list. Tender chicken covered in a light soy-based sauce is a great combination with a side of rice for lunch or dinner.
Bangkok is Thailand’s best representation of culture and cuisine. The city features some of the country’s most popular local dishes. Get a taste of the type of authentic food that is hard to come by in your local Thai restaurant at home. Try these great meals and fully enjoy the different flavors Thailand has to offer in Bangkok.