40 Thai foods we can’t live without

source http://malaysia.travel.yahoo.com

Given that one of the first things Thais ask each other when they meet up is "Have you eaten yet?" it’s clear this is a nation that’s extremely passionate about its eats. You want to know how good a Thai restaurant is? Don’t look at the menu, the décor or even the prices. Look at the number of people inside. That’s your quality indicator.

In celebration of Bangkok’s fantastic cuisine and the restaurants that have perfected it, we’ve rounded up 40 of the Thai dishes we couldn’t imagine living without. Some are world famous, others are more obscure, but they're all worth trying, at least once. If you've got your own favorite that we missed, let us know in the comments box below.

1. Tom Yum Gung

This Thai masterpiece soup is teeming with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. It can be ordered loaded with coconut milk (tom yum gung nam kohn) and cream or without (tom yum gung nam sai) for a slightly more sour and healthy version. This soup truly unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet, all in one bowl. This is an authentic Thai delicacy that many locals are passionate about and has spread around the world.

Banana Leaf Restaurant serves all around delicious food, including great tom yum gung. Silom Complex basement floor, Silom Road, Bangkok. BTS: Saladaen. Open daily from 11am to 9.30 pm. Tel: +66 (0)2 231 3124.

2. Gang Som Pak Ruam

The Thai fusion of sweet, sour and spicy are all combined into another ultra vibrant soup. This soup base can be packed with vegetables like carrots, cabbage and green beans (pak ruam) or it can be served with a deep fried omelet made from eggs and a stringy green vegetable leaf (Thai acacia leaf) called cha om (gang som cha om kai).

Tart and explosive gang som soup is served at Arhan Isan Rod Dej Restaurant, located at 3/5-6 Thanon Rangnam Road, Ratchawithi. Opposite from King Power complex. Open from 11am to 10pm. Tel: +66 (0)2 246 4579

3. Gang Keow Wan

One of the most famous and sought after Thai dishes is Thai green curry. Green curry paste, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chicken, Thai basil, Thai eggplant and the ever present herbs and roots of Thai cuisine (lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves etc), make this curry an unforgettable blend of delights. It is usually prepared quite soupy so a plate of rice is necessary to sop up every intricate drop.

Poi-sien Restaurant serves a vibrant green curry filled with all kinds of herbs and flavors. Soi Ratchawithi 6, Boonme Building. Open from about 10am to 10pm. Tel: +66 (0)84 527 5521



Find out more about where to get great Thai food at CNNGo Bangkok.

4. Panang Gai

Red curry paste fried up with chicken and then doused with coconut cream creates a succulent and spicy red curry. The dish is then served with finely chopped kaffir lime leaves sprinkled on top. Panang gai is a dish that if made correctly should explode with dynamic flavors as soon as it touches the tip of your tongue.

Poi-sien Restaurant also serves a divine panang gai. The thick coconut cream sauce is crafted to perfection and the lime leaf garnish is always fresh. Soi Ratchawithi 6, Boonme Building. Open from about 10am to 10pm. Tel +66 (0)84 527 5521

5. Gang Massaman

Massaman is a sweet curry that originates from Southern Thailand as a Halal dish. The curry sauce is a mixture of curry paste, coconut milk, a strong flavor of peanuts, and a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. Massaman is usually pre-made with chicken and always a few chunks of potatoes that have delightfully soaked up the coconut milk like a sponge.

Baan Ajarn Restaurant, 107/7-8 Soi Rangnam Rd, Phaya Thai, Ratchawithi. Open from 11am to 11pm. Tel: +66 (0)2 245 2775

6. Gai Pad Pongali

Chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers are brought alive with a delicate Thai yellow curry paste. What makes the dish spectacular is the egg that is cracked into the dish to curdle and thicken all the ingredients. A generous portion of parsley is added for extra flavor and its unique taste.

Kun Su Restaurant, located on Phaya Thai, Soi Rangnam, across the street from Century Mall, fries up a light, less oily, and delicious pad pongali. Best to eat here for lunch, but open from 11am to 9 pm. Tel: +66 (0)81 883 5487, 081 666 2901

7. Gang Jued

One of the more healthy Thai foods is a clear vegetable soup filled with a combination of carrots, cabbage, onions, minced pork, tofu, glass noodles, and garnished with fresh parsley. Gang jued is a colorful medley of garden vegetables that compliments a spread of other dishes and can easily make up for the greasier ones.

Poi-sien Restaurant creates a perfect gang jued. Soi Ratchawithi 6, Boonme Building. Open from about 10am to 10pm. Tel: +66 (0)84 527 5521

8. Jim Jum

A fantastic way to relax over dinner is to enjoy Jim Jum with a few friends. A small clay pot filled with an outstanding porky aromatic broth sits over a bed of charcoal. The host brings an assortment of raw morning glory, cabbage, meats (usually pork and liver), beat eggs, glass noodles, and the all important holy Thai basil. The vegetables and meats are thrown into the pot to slowly boil into a nourishing and hearty soup.

A herb filled jim jum is served at Larb Yasothorn Restaurant, 1/37 Ratchawithi Soi 2, Din Daeng Road, Samsaen Nai, Phaya Thai. Open from 4pm to 4am. Tel: +66 (0)84 709 9880

9. Kao Na Phet

Roasted duck is a specialty throughout Asia as the meat is fattier and has a more distinct flavor than chicken. The Thai Kao na phet is served on a plate of rice with a selection of duck parts cut and then drizzled with duck stock. A simple but exuberant duck soup is served along with the rice. It's easy to distinguish a duck and rice/noodles eatery as the ducks will be hung from their necks in a glass cabinet.

In Yaowarat (Chinatown) head to Hua Seng Hong Restaurant. 371-373 Yaowarat Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 220 635

10. Kai Jiew Moo Saap

A real Thai comfort food and something everyone can cook is the Thai style omelet. Eggs are beat up with a dash of fish sauce and soy sauce and then minced pork is added. The egg mixture is then quite literally deep fried into an omelet that pleases a palette of rice. It is best eaten with a squirt of chili sauce (sauce prik).

Every single restaurant in Bangkok that serves rice can provide a great omelet. Try Kun Su Restaurant, located on Phaya Thai, Soi Rangnam, across the street from Century Mall. Tel: +66 (0)81 883 5487, 081 666 2901

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