On a Thai menu, the most commonly found words are gai (chicken), nua (beef), kai (egg) and pet (duck). There is also pork and dried beef which have a flavor that is particularly strong.
Of course, Thailand is known worldwide for its amazing seafood and fish dishes. But if you are dining farther away from the ocean keep in mind that the fish might not be as fresh as you might like. Names for popular Thai seafood include pla (fish), plamik (squid), hoi kreng (cockles), boo (crab), gung (prawn), plakapong (sea bass, which is particularly loved), hoi (shellfish) and aharn taley (seafood).
With the vegetables dishes, you might find ham (onion), mushrooms, pakad ham (which is lettuce but be careful unless you know it has been rinsed in clean water), tomatoes, makeyatet and prik (chili). If you would like your food to be prepared with less spice simple say “mai sai prik” which means “don’t add chili.”
Typical Thai Dishes
All of the ingredients that were discussed above can be found in Thai recipes. They also add many other flavors including garlic, black pepper, ginger, chili, lemon grass and coriander root. Some of the dishes most commonly found in Thailand include geng ped gai (chicken curry) and geng ped (curry).
Sometimes you may also need to know the difference between geng deng (red curry) and geng kiau (green curry). Sometimes you will also encounter geng mussaman which is a Malay-type of curry that is common in the far southern part of Thailand. Another interesting dish is gent jert which is soup. Once again, you will need to specify what you want. If you order geng jert nua you will get beef soup which is frequently served in metal dishes that have charcoal on the underside to keep it hot.
There is a hot and spicy soup called Tom yam which is an extremely popular dish in Thailand especially the variety that is called tom yam gung (spicy prawn soup).
Kau pat is a fried rice that is a very popular one-dish meal and goes with almost any other meal. Pork fried rice is called kau pat moo and is often served with spring onions and cucumbers.
You might also encounter a noodle soup called kwiatau which is Chinese in origin and can be found at many noodle stalls on the streets of Thailand. Noodles are called bami and can be found in many different sizes and shapes.
Prawn prepared with noodles is called bami lad na gung and can be an entire meal by itself.
Crispy noodles called meekrob are also well worth trying.
Tawt man kung or tawt man pia (fish or prawn cakes) are delicious very chewy dishes.
The yam (salad is a lot spicier than the type of salad that is eaten in the west and should be eaten only if you are very adventurous.
Plain rice (kau sooay) is most often steamed and is very fluffy and high quality. This rice is the staple food and Thailand is eaten at almost every meal by the Thai people.
Sticky rice (kau niau) is a specialty that is found in the northeast and is sometimes prepared and cooked with banana leaves.
Thai cooking generally does not include potatoes (man farang) because they are fairly expensive although they can be found with sour fish or Western-style food.