Foodie Diaries: Thailand’s Food and Drink Must-Tries

I think we can all agree that Thai food is some of the best food out there. The spices, the flavor, the giant woks that they stir it all up in, and don’t forget the perfectly steamed jasmine rice that finishes it off. My mouth waters just writing about it.

Having lived in Thailand for an extended period of time, I have tried countless Thai dishes. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you the name of some of the things I have tried. But, it has all been insanely delicious.

I will admit that when I travel I am not much of a foodie. (Cue the gasps!) I know, I know, so many people travel just to try the cuisine in a new place. I am not one of those travelers. Sure, if you give it to me, I will try it. I’m not picky! But when I travel, food isn’t a major priority for me.

Thailand could have changed all that because Thai food is just THAT good. As I had some friends and family visit me there, I found myself being one of those food-driven travelers, saying things like, “You HAVE to try this!” So, I thought it was time to put together a post all about the amazingness that is Thai cuisine… and here we are.

Once you’ve checked off all the items on the Thai food bucket list, be sure to check everything else off the ultimate Thailand bucket list as well.

Som tum

Som tum, also called papaya salad, is one of the most amazing Thai dishes. It’s made using unripe shredded papaya. It’s mixed in a big bowl using a spoon to mix it and a wooden pestle to pound it. Beware, it’s typically made very spicy, so you’ll have to let them know if you don’t want it to be too spicy. Som tum is a must-try in Thailand! It’s something that I ate weekly when I lived there. It’s best eaten with sticky rice, grilled chicken, and a nice cold beer!


Larb is technically the unofficial national dish of Laos, but you can get it in parts of Thailand as well, and it is one of my absolute favorites. The spices and flavors are unlike anything else I’ve ever eaten. It comes in duck, chicken, or pork. Pork is my favorite. Just like som tum, it is SUPER spicy, so again let them know if you don’t want it too spicy. Also, this is best eaten with sticky rice!

Sticky rice

You must eat sticky rice. There are so many dishes you can eat it with, like the two mentioned above. You can eat it as mango sticky rice (listed below) you can eat it as ‘Khao jee” where it is dipped in egg and grilled, or just eat it plain! It’s delicious. 

Pork and basil (or chicken and basil)

This is my go-to and probably favorite Thai dish of them all! I tend to go for pork with basil, but chicken is amazing too! It will typically come over rice and it’s the absolute best with a fried egg on top!

Thai fried rice

Thai fried rice is a classic dish and you can’t go wrong with ordering it. It usually has a variety of veggies in it and can be ordered with chicken, pork, shrimp, or no meat at all! 

Pad Thai

I mean, do I have to explain this one? You HAVE to have pad thai when you’re in Thailand. Duh.

Stir-fried noodles

Stir-fried noodles are a bit like fried rice but in noodle format instead. They are one of my favorite street food dishes and pretty easy to find! They are great when you just want something quick and tasty. Again, it can be ordered with different meats or no meat.

Ginger Chicken

Ginger chicken is one of the first Thai dishes I ever had. It’s amazing, but I will warn you, if you’re not a fan of ginger, it’s not for you! This dish is a nice kick to the senses with all the ginger, garlic, and chilis!

Morning glory

Morning glory, also known as water spinach, is one of my favorite Thai veggie dishes. It’s nice and tender and prepared in a way that gives it so much flavor! Add a side of rice and it’s one of the best dishes out there! It’s also really hard to get outside of Asia, so take advantage of it while you can.

Stir-fried vegetables

Another veggie dish, fried vegetables on rice is also a go-to for me. Again, the way it’s prepared is so flavorful. I can’t get enough of the sauce and spices that it’s made in. I always find myself using my rice to soak up every last bit of it.

Stick food

Stick food is one of the major forms of street food. You will see little stalls all over with various kinds of stick food. You just go up and pick out whatever you want and then they will grill it up for you! 


I love the noodle soups! Especially on a cool day (which isn’t that common in Thailand). Thailand is also known for curry, but truth be told, I’m not much of a curry person.

Grilled fish

There are loads of different kinds of fish in Thailand and you guessed it, the way they are prepared are insanely delicious! I have had some of the most delicious fish of my life in Thailand, and that says a lot coming from a Minnesota girl! You can buy prepared fish at street stalls lots of times, and fish is a common dish at any Thai gathering.

Toastie from 7-11

This list would not be complete without listing toasties from 7-11. These are a regular part of my Thai food diet. They are like a ham and cheese panini/grilled cheese and they are the best thing you’ve ever had! Trust me on this one, you will not be sorry.

Mango sticky rice

Finally, we make it to the desserts. Mango sticky rice is exactly what it sounds like, deliciously sweet mangos over sticky rice, with rice crispy pieces and condensed milk on the top. It is SO good.

Coconut ice cream

Easily found at any night market, coconut ice cream typically comes inside a cut-open coconut. They scrape out the meat of the coconut and put ice cream inside with toppings of your choice. It’s the perfect refreshing Thai dessert for a hot day!

Must-Try Thai Drinks:

Thai ice tea

Thai iced tea is a milky, creamy tea flavored drink! I love it, but beware – it’s very sweet and very rich! I can only drink it from time to time for that reason.

Thai style coffee

Though it might look just like a normal iced coffee, Thai-style coffee is a bit different. And it’s sweet because they add condensed milk to it (Thai people love their condensed milk). They are so delicious, I think I could drink about 5 of them!

Fruit shakes

You will not have a problem finding yourself a fruit smoothie! There are stalls everywhere on the sides of the roads and in any market! There are so many different types of fruit to try in Thailand! Why not try them in a smoothie form? You have to try a smoothie with passion fruit. I love the sour and sweet taste. But, my all-time favorite is the coconut shakes.

Fresh coconuts

Just typing that makes me want a fresh coconut! They are super easy to find in Thailand. They even offer them at most restaurants. Ice cold fresh coconut water, drinking it right out of the coconut, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with just about anything you order in Thailand. I haven’t had a dish that I didn’t like. Thai food is just plain delicious, but these are my all-time favorites. So, now that I’ve got your mouth watering and stomach growling…

Sam Timmerman

Sam Timmerman