Thai food is one of the most well-loved cuisines in the world, and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand why.
The Thai cuisine expert David Thompson explains Thai food as “the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish. Like a complex musical chord it's got to have a smooth surface but it doesn't matter what's happening underneath”.
The Thai cuisine is not known for its simplicity. In fact, it is the complete opposite of that! Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes which perfectly balance at least three, and sometimes all, of the five fundamental tastes; sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter.
Luckily for us, we don’t have to jump on a plane to sample authentic Thai cuisine, as there are plenty of incredible Thai restaurants right on your doorstep.If you’re a fan of Thai food, or know someone who is, then our restaurant gift cards make the perfect gift. The Restaurant Choice gift cards can be used at some of the UK’s most-loved restaurants.
Popular Thai Dishes
If you’re dining at out at a Thai restaurant, there are a few dishes which are sure to make an appearance on the menu every time.
You can expect to find only the freshest spices and herbs available in your dishes. Some of the commonly used herbs are: parsley, basil (Thai basil), mint as well as lemongrass. Garlic, ginger, soy, turmeric, galangal, and shallots are also among the flavours which are frequently used in Thai cooking.
Think of Thai food, and Pad Thai is probably the first dish that comes to mind. Noodles are stir-fried with shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, tamarind paste, egg and fish sauce and served with crushed peanuts and lime. It’s a wonderfully balanced dish that you can add condiments to make it exactly to your taste. Add more chilli for a spicier dish, a dash of sugar for sweet, or fish sauce for more salt! If this is your first time sampling Thai food, then this is a great dish to start with.
Som Tum, or spicy green papaya salad, is a dish often found in Northern and Central Thailand. It combines all five tastes; sour, spicy, salty, bitter, and sweet, and combines them in a deliciously refreshing and crunchy salad.
Red or Green curry is also incredibly popular. A spicy, creamy, curry often made with chicken, although also often available with beef or seafood, that is served with rice. Go for the red curry if you prefer your curries a little milder as the green curry paste is made with fresh green chillies which pack more of a punch than their red counterparts. If you want the flavour without the heat, be sure to ask for a milder version with less chillies.
The massaman curry is one of our personal favourites. It’s a Thai curry that’s been influenced heavily by Indian cuisine. It’s incredibly aromatic, with cardamom, black pepper, coriander, galangal, nutmeg, and cumin, playing a large part in the flavour of this dish.
Khao pad (fried rice), chicken with cashew nuts, and spring rolls are must-try dishes, too!
When it comes to dessert, those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed. Try mango sticky rice; a deliciously sweet dish that combines ripe mango, and rice cooked in coconut milk. Trust us, you’ll be hooked. Fresh coconut ice cream, sweet roti filled with bananas and topped with condensed milk are perfect for dessert-lovers, too!
Why Visit a Thai Restaurant?
To taste Thai food is to love it. No matter what style of cooking you like, Thai cuisine perfectly balances the five taste senses for a balanced and delicious meal. The atmosphere at a Thai restaurant is often a relaxed one, making it perfect for all occasions. Family is very important in Thai culture, so children are often welcomed with open arms at many Thai restaurants, and the chefs more than willing to cook up child-friendly dishes.