Would life even be worth living without Thai food? I really don’t know. Thai food is delicious. I usually eat something Thai at least 5 days out of the week. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to list the top 10 favorite Thai foods that I love eating.
1- Whole Fish with Naam Chim Thale
The Thai know how to do fish correctly. They cook the entire thing. Fish in this style is either grilled or steamed. Naam Chim Thale is probably my most favorite sauce ever. It goes with the fish perfectly. They make this green sauce using garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, and chili peppers.
2- Pad Thai
I can cook an awesome Pad Thai. Pad translates to stir fry. This one consists of thin rice noodles, bean sprouts, radish, chives, garlic, tofu, egg, and shrimp. The key to the sauce is the tamarind. Finally, I top everything off with lime juice and crushed peanuts. The flavors are complex, but dance together in perfect harmony creating the most revered Thai cultural food known to those outside of Thailand.
3- Larb Moo
Larb is a salad from Isan (Northeastern Thailand) that is made with meat. In this case pork, but it can be made with other proteins as well. The key to a great larb is the sticky rice that is first toasted and then pulverized. Next, I add this to the pork while cooking. Once the pork cooks, I’m just putting together a salad. The rest of this salad includes mint, cilantro, green onion, shallot, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and lime juice.
4- Khao Pad Boo
Crab fried rice is so easy to make. The flavors are very clean. Jasmine rice, garlic, crab, green onion, fish sauce, lime juice, and egg are the ingredients. Sometimes I’ll add Thai pepper for spice, while other times I won’t. Depends on how I feel on the day I cook it.
5- Pad Krapow Gai
This is the very first dish from Thailand that I learned to cook. Pad Krapow is a popular street dish. Gai translates to chicken, but pork or even squid can be used instead. Technically, the Pad Krapow I make isn’t authentic. That’s because Thai holy basil (krapow) is difficult to find outside of Thailand. Thai holy basil and Thai basil are two different herbs. I use Thai basil, as do most Thai restaurants in America, out of necessity. The dish consists of jasmine rice, garlic, chili pepper, chicken, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. I always top mine off with a fried egg.
6- Khao Moo Daeng
Khao Moo Daeng is Thailand’s version of the Cantonese dish char sui. Both are versions of a barbecued pork. The pork is yummy, but I think what puts the dish over the top are the included condiments. Cucumbers, rice, green onions, and hard boiled eggs are served on the same plate. Everything just goes really nice together.
7- Gai Pad Prik Gaeng
A very simple dish that tastes absolutely amazing. Cooks use long beans in Thailand. However, I replace them with green beans since they’re easier to find in the States. I usually just buy red curry that is already made. Mae Ploy is the popular brand. The actual dish is a stir fry of chicken and the beans coated in Thai red curry paste.
8- Moo Gratiem
People might often overlook Moo Gratiem as it is just garlic pork. However, one must cook a simple dish perfectly. Pork is marinated beforehand in a combination of fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar and white pepper. I divide the garlic into two piles. First, I cook one pile of garlic for 30 seconds or so. Next, I add the pork to the pan. What makes this dish excellent is that the rest of the garlic is fried crispy. I love this crispy fried garlic topping. The condiments add to the meal just like with the Khao Moo Daeng dish. I like using rice, green onion, and cilantro.
9- Som Tum Papaya
The most popular salad (if not food altogether) from Isan. Most females list this salad as their favorite food, my wife included. However, the fish sauce used is different depending on if the person is central Thai or Isan. The Isan people make a different fish sauce known as ‘pla na’ that is chunkier and very pungent. Most Americans would shy away from the smell. People make the entire salad in a mortar. Green papaya, Thai chili pepper, garlic, soft shelled crab, dried shrimp, tomato, garlic, fish sauce, palm sugar, peanuts and lime juice are the ingredients I use (the salad also has other versions). Som Tum is extremely spicy.
10- Gaeng Daeng Gai
Gaeng Daeng Gai translates to Red Curry Chicken. Thai red curry paste and coconut milk are the base of the dish. I add various vegetables to the curry. For instance, the last time I made some I used red bell pepper and carrot. People often use Kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, and Thai chili as well.
This list only scratches the surface of amazing Thai foods. These just happen to be the ones I love and cook most often. Other honorable mentions include drunken noodles, green curry, and waterfall beef salad. Now that I made myself hungry, it’s off to the kitchen! Time to cook some yummy food.