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Thai food alone is reason enough for a trip to Thailand. Curries, fruit shakes, stir fries, fresh seafood made many different ways, this is just a start.
Food in Thailand is cheap and at 25 Thai baht (approximately $0.70 USD) you can get a pad thai (Thai fried noodles) cooked at a street stall or at a floating market .
Food from stalls and tiny sidewalk restaurants is usually quite safe. At street restaurants, you can see what you'll get and everything is cooked on the spot.
Thai cuisine is characterized by balance and strong flavors, especially lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander. This combination gives Thai food its distinctive taste. In addition, Thai food has a deserved reputation for being spicy, with hot chili used in many dishes.
Thai dishes can be roughly categorized into central Thai food (around Bangkok), northern Thai food (North Thailand around Chiang Mai, with Burmese and Chinese influence), north-eastern Thai food (from the Isaan region bordering Laos) and southern Thai food (with heavy influences from Malaysia).
The following list covers some better-known dishes.
The Thai staple food is rice (ข้าว khao), so much so that in Thai eating a meal, kin khao, literally means "eat rice".
- Khao suai (ข้าวสวย) or "beautiful rice" is the plain white steamed rice that serves as the base of almost every meal.
- Khao phat (ข้าวผัด) is simple fried rice, usually with some pork (muu) or chicken (kai) mixed in.
- Khao tom (ข้าวต้ม) is a salty and watery rice porridge served with condiments, quite popular at breakfast.
- Khao niao (ข้าวเหนียว) or "sticky rice" is glutinous rice - usually eaten dry, traditionally by hand, with grilled/fried pork or chicken or beef. It is especially popular (more than plain rice) in North-Eastern (Isan) and Northern provinces, but is widely available throughout the country, especially in places specializing on Isan or Lao cuisine.
- Khao Chae (ข้าวแช่)is a croquette. Polished rice soaked with cold water. Which is often a barracuda. Then eat with rice variety.
Thais are great noodle eaters. The most common kind is rice noodles, served angel-hair (เส้นหมี่ sen mii), small (เส้นเล็ก sen lek) and large (เส้นใหญ่ sen yai), but egg noodles (บะหมี่ ba mii), Chinese-style stuffed wonton ravioli (เกี๊ยว kio) and glass noodles made from mung beans (วุ้นเส้น wun sen) are also popular.
Unlike other Thai foods, noodles are usually eaten with chopsticks. They are also usually served with a rack of four condiments, namely dried red chillies , fish sauce, vinegar and sugar which diners can add to their own taste.
- Phad Thai (ผัดไทย), literally "Thai stir-fry", means thin rice noodles fried in a tamarind-based sauce. Ubiquitous, cheap and often excellent - and as an added bonus, it's usually chili-free (you can add yourself, however, or ask to do if buying of the street - but be warned, it is often really hot). Can be made vegetarian, with shrimp, pork, or chicken.
- Ba mii muu daeng (บะหมี่หมูเเดง) yellow egg noodles with slices of red (barbecued) pork.
- Guay dtiao ruea (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) is a rice noodle soup with a fiery pork blood stock and an assortment of offal. An acquired taste, but an addictive one.
- "Kanom Jeen" (ขนมจีน) can be divided into two types - famentation flour and newly-milk flour - In each region of Thailand has different eating depend on local. The big festival of Kanom Jeen will be on March every year district Thug Song at Nakon Sri Thammarat.
Soups and curries
The line between soups (ต้ม tom, literally just "boiled") and curries (แกง kaeng) is a little fuzzy, and many dishes the Thais call curries would be soups to an Indian. A plate of rice with a ladleful of a curry or two on top, known as khao kaeng (ข้าวแกง), is a very popular quick meal if eating alone.
- Tom yam goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง) is the quintessential Thai dish, a spicy, sour soup with prawns, lemongrass and galangal. The real thing is quite spicy, but toned-down versions are often available on request.
- Tom kha gai (ต้มข่าไก่) is the Thai version of chicken soup in a rich galangal-flavored coconut stock, with mushrooms and not a few chillies.
- Gaeng ped (แกงเผ็ด, "red curry") this coconut-based red curry dish can be spicy. Red curry with roast duck (kaeng phet Bped yaang แกงเผ็ดเป็ดย่าง) is particularly tasty.
- Gaeng kheow-waan (แกงเขียวหวาน), sweet green curry, is a coconut-based curry with strong accents of lemongrass and kaffir lime. Usually milder than the red variety.
- Gaeng som (แกงส้ม), orange curry, is more like tamarind soup than curry, usually served with pieces of herb omelette in the soup.
Thais like their mains fried (ทอด thot or ผัด phat) or grilled (yaang ย่าง). Fish, in particular, is often deep-fried until the meat turns brown and crispy.
- Ka-phrao kai (กะเพราไก่), literally "basil chicken" is a simple but intensely fragrant stir-fry made from peppery holy basil leaves, chillies and chicken.
About the only thing Thai salads (ยำ yam) have in common with the Western variety is that they are both based on raw vegetables. A uniquely Thai flavor is achieved by drowning the ingredients in fish sauce, lime juice and chillies - the end result can be very spicy indeed!
- Som tam (ส้มตำ), a salad made from shredded and pounded raw papaya is often considered a classic Thai dish, but it actually originates from neighboring Laos. However, the Thai version is less sour and more sweet than the original, with peanuts and dried shrimp mixed in.
- Yam ponlamai (ยำผลไม้) is Thai-style fruit salad, meaning that instead of canned maraschino cherries it has fresh fruit topped with oodles of fish sauce and chillies.
- Yam som-o (ยำส้มโอ) is an unusual salad made from pomelo (a mutant version of grapefruit) and anything else on hand, often including chicken or dried shrimp.
- Yam wunsen (ยำวุ้นเส้น) is perhaps the most common yam, with glass noodles and shrimp.
- Yum Tua Poo (ยำถั่วพลู) is a mellow mix of pork and shrimp. Of Winged Bean and crunchy sweet-sour flavor. The taste is a little spicy, exotic food.
- Khanom (ขนม) covers a vast range of cookies, biscuits, chips and anything else snackable, and piles of the stuff can be found in any Thai office after lunch. One common variety called khanom khrok (ขนมครก) is worth a special mention: these are little lens-shaped pancakes of rice flour and coconut milk, freshly cooked and served by street vendors everywhere during the morning hours, but after that you might probably find it a bit difficult to find.
- Khao niao ma-muang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) means "sticky rice with mango", and that's what you get, sweetened sticky rice and ripe mango with some coconut milk drizzled on top. Filling and delicious and an excellent way to cool the palate after a spicey Thai dish! Alternatively, for the more adventurous type, an equally popular dish is Khao niao tu-rean in which you get durian instead of mango with your sticky rice.
- Waan yen (หวานเย็น), literally "sweet cold", consists of a pile of ingredients of your choice (including things like sweet corn and kidney beans) topped with syrup, coconut cream and a pile of ice, and is great for cooling down on a hot day or after a searing curry.
- Thong Yib (ทองหยิบ), is originally Portuguese dessert. It was introduced to Thais a few hundred years ago by Marie Guimar de Pinha (ท้าวทองกีบม้า). Thong Yib literally means "pinched gold". It is made from egg yolks, its bound is pinched to star-shaped. One piece of Thong Yib is bite-sized, served in a tiny cup. Thong Yib is sold in typical markets in the morning. A pack of 6-8 pieces is around 20-25 baht. Travellers can also find these in other Thai dessert shops. For example, Mae U-Dom (แม่อุดม), this is a famous Thai dessert shop, open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mae U-Dom located on Din-sor (ดินสอ pencil) road, near Satri wittaya School (โรงเรียนสตรีวิทยา) and the Democracy Monument. Another shop is Ma-li-wan (มะลิวัลย์), open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located on Soi Arie 1 (ซอยอารีย์ 1), not far from Arie BTS station.
- Thong Yod (ทองหยอด) means "gold drop" and its shape is like a drop. It is Portuguese sweet like Thong Yib (ทองหยิบ). Rice flour is mixed with egg yolk, this is the difference of Thong Yod from Thong Yib that has no flour. Thong Yod is usually sold with Thong Yib. A pack of 10-15 pieces is priced around 20-25 baht. It also be sold at Mae U-Dom (แม่อุดม) and Ma-li-wan (มะลิวัลย์).
- Foy Thong (ฝอยทอง) means “gold fibre”. It is egg-based Portuguese sweet too. It is made from yolks mixed with egg-dew (the light egg white that remains in the egg shell). It is like fibre because the stirred mixture is poured through a pastry cone into hot syrup. When it is long enough, it will be folded to a fold. A pack of 3-4 folds is priced around 30 baht. It is usually sold by the same vendors who sell Thong Yib and Thong Yod. Mae U-Dom (แม่อุดม) and Ma-li-wan (มะลิวัลย์) also sell this.
- Thong muan (ทองม่วน) is a kind pocket Thailand is a circular loop coil looks crisp.
In Thailand, there are many varieties of desserts. Most Thai people like to eat desserts that are made from coconut milk.
- Khao lam (ข้าวหลาม) means "Bamboo sticky rice" which is a sticky rice (white or black) with sweetened coconut milk, which may include taro or black bean, and stuffed into bamboo sticks.
- Bua loy kai-wan (บัวลอยไข่หวาน) means "Dumplings in coconut cream with egg".
Dumpling balls in coconut cream with egg is found everywhere in Thailand and it also is a popular dessert. This dessert is often enjoyed in the evening. The dumpling balls are made from flour, water and coloured water. Dumpling balls in coconut cream with egg can also be found in colours such as green, purple, blue, yellow, pink, white and so on. Each colour is made from flowers and vegetables. The ingredients of this dessert contains eggs, coconut milk, taro, corn, and colourful dumpling balls. Most Thai people loves these because it is a hot coconut cream soup with dumpling balls and eggs and tastes sweet and creamy.
- Kluay buat-chi (กล้วยบวชชี) means "Banana in coconut milk".
Banana in coconut milk are easy to buy and cook. The taste is creamy, sweet and silky. The ingredients are cheap and contains bananas, coconut milk, some salt and sugar. Most Thai people like to cook this dessert because of the affordable ingredients and the dish is easy to make. However, banana in coconut milk are easy to find in the supermarket and other shops.
- Tubtim Krob (ทับทิมกรอบ) “Water Chestnut with Syrup and Coconut Milk”. A tasty and refreshing dish when served with ice. It is very popular in the summer time and can be found in the markets.
- Khanom Thai- usually made of starch, sugar and coconut milk. In the early times, Knanom Thai was only made for special occasions, like weddings and Songkran day, because of the considerable amount of time and people required in order to make a perfect Khanom Thai. Moreover, Thais believe that the names and the shapes of Khanom Thai will bring good luck to those who consume it.
- Rook choob- is one of the most popular Thai desserts. Most people like this dessert because it is colourful and often made into fruit shapes. Moreover, Rook choob is made into a bite size, so it easy to eat. A main ingredient of this dessert is crushed green bean. It smells great from the natural colours such as Bai toey (green), Aun chun (blue) etc. While chewing it, you will not only get a soft sweet taste from soybean and coconut milk but also a good smell from aroma candle’s smoke. Great for relaxing with a hot tea. Can be bought for cheap at local markets and food shops.
- Ka noom sord sai- is a meticulous Thai dessert because it has many steps to make. It consists of sticky rice, flour, coconut etc. The dessert has a sweet taste from coconut and palm sugar and a wonderful smell from aroma candle’s smoke. It is delicious and nutritious because of the carbohydrates and fat. This dessert is cheap and easy to find due to the availability of the ingredients. Furthermore, it is packed with Thai’s folk wisdom style, which is banana leaf and small bamboo pin. The banana leaf will keep the dessert's smell and freshness.
- Kaow tom mud is another dessert that popular in Thailand. It consists of many ingredients such as sticky rice, black bean, banana, coconut, etc. This desser provides many nutrients from carbohydrates and vitamins B1 and B2. Foreigners can buy this dessert for cheap in any local market. It should be eaten while it is hot to keep the sticky rice's softness. This dessert is wrapped with a traditional Thai banana leaf.
Vegetarians won't have too many problems surviving in Thailand, with one significant exception: fish sauce (น้ำปลา naam plaa) is to Thai cuisine what soy sauce is to Chinese food, and keeping it out of soups, curries and stir-fries will be a challenge.
That said, Thailand is a Buddhist country and vegetarianism is a fairly well-understood concept, especially among Chinese Thais (many of whom eat only vegetarian food during several festivals). Tofu is a traditional Thai ingredient and they aren't afraid to mix it up in some non traditional dishes such as omelettes (with or without eggs), submarine sandwiches, and burritos. Since Thai dishes are usually made to order, it's easy to ask for anything on the menu to be made without meat or fish. Bangkok features several fantastic veggie and vegan restaurants, but outside of big cities make sure to check that your idea of "veggie" matches the chef's.
Some key phrases for vegetarians:
- gin jay กินเจ "(I) eat (only) vegetarian food"
- karunaa mai sai naam plaa กรุณาไม่ใส่น้ำปลา "Please don't use fish sauce"
- karunaa mai sai pong chu roht กรุณาไม่ใส่ผงชูรส "Please don't use MSG"
See this thread
Visitors entering Thailand are required to prove they have sufficient funds to cover the length of their stay, and should hold documentation for return/onward travel.
- Valid passports of 6 months are required by all nationals in order to obtain a visa to Thailand.
Ordinary passport holders of most countries, including the United States of America, Canada, European Union countries, Russia, Japan and Australia, do not need a visa if their purpose of visit is tourism and if their stay does not exceed 30 days. Thai immigration requires visitors' passports to have a minimum of 6 months validity and at least one completely blank visa page remaining. Visa-on-arrival is available at certain entry points for passport holders of 20 other nations, including India and China.
- Americans: Visas are not required for holiday travel by US passport holders for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible).
- UK nationals: Visas are not required for travel by UK passport holders endorsed British Citizen or British National (Overseas) for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible). Other UK passport holders require a visa and a passport valid for six months beyond the intended period of stay.
- Canadians: Visas are not required for travel by Canadian passport holders for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible).
- Australians: Visas are not required for travel by Australian passport holders for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible).
- South Africans: South Africans do not require a visa for visits of up to 30 days (an extension of up to 10 days is possible), and can travel on temporary passport.
- Irish nationals: Visas are not required for travel by Irish passport holders for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible).
- New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for periods of 30 days or less (an extension of up to 10 days is possible).
List of countries eligible for 30-day visa exemptions:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United State of America, Vietnam
Types of visa and cost
Royal Thai Embassies and Royal Thai Consulates-General may issue the following types of visas:
- Transit Visa
- Non-Immigrant Visa
- Diplomatic Visa
- Official Visa
- Immigrant Visa
- Non-Quota Immigrant Visa
- Courtesy Visa
There are even more\ types of visas:
- Digital nomad visa
- Elita visas - pricy but can be interesting if you plan to stay in Thailand for a long time and you have too much money - good review here
- For longer stays, you should obtain a 60-day tourist visa from the Thai embassy in your country of residence before your arrival.
Bangkok is Thailand's capital and biggest city, is a transport and visa hub for South East Asia. You can find many low budget flights and a lot of embassies and consulates here.
- The Chinese embassy gives out visas.
- It's worth to not get the visa for Cambodia at the (often corrupt) border.
- For Myanmar you might be better off at the border.
Thailand Embassies and/or Consulates
Thai Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Av. Federico Lacroze 2158
1426 Capital Federal, Buenos Aires
City: Buenos Aires
Phone: (+54) (11) 4774-4415 / 4772-1170
Fax: (+54) (11) 4773-2447
Email: mailto:[email protected]
Office Hours: 08:30 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 16:30
Royal Thai Embassy in Canberra, Australia
111 Empire CCT
Phone: (06) 273-1149 and/or 06-273 2937
Fax: 06-273 1518
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M., 1:30 P.M. - 4:00
Royal Thai Consulate General Vancouver
1040 Burrard Street
BC V6Z 2R9
Phone: (604) 687-1143
Fax: (604) 687-4434
Web Site: http://www.thaicongenvancouver.org
Email: mailto:[email protected]
Office Hours: Visa: drop off and pick up services: 9.30-12.30 am Consular services: 9.30 to 12.30 am - 1.30-430 pm
Royal Thai Embassy
1024 Wisconsin Avenue
NW, Suite 401
City: Washington DC
Phone: (202) 944-3600
Fax: (202) 944-3611
Email: mailto:[email protected]
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 09:00 - 13:00 hrs and 14:30 - 16:00 hrs. Walk-in services : 09:00 - 13:00 hrs. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time)
Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia.