Help with Thai Food Dish Names

Thai monasteryCredit: By Mayo.phos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Thai food dish names can be a mouthful, and knowing what the best dishes to order when you have a full menu in front of you can be a challenge. Many people find their one dish, and if they like it, are too afraid to try a new Thai food plate. I will help you find some good dishes; describe what they are, and even how to pronounce them. As a bonus, I will also include a few Thai phrases you can use to impress the staff or your date.

AppetizerssatayCredit: By Paul Goyette from Chicago, USA (chicken satay) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Satay Pronounced (suh-TAY). This is usually a chicken breast thinly sliced and
    marinated in a yellow curry powder. It is grilled on a skewer and often served with a peanut sauce for dipping. It is mild and great for children who are picky eaters.

Soup Dishes

  • Kao Soy Pronounced (cow soy).This is a hearty soup loaded with thin egg noodles in a yellow curry based broth. It usually comes with tender dark chicken, and crunchy fried wonton crisps. This generally comes in a large bowl and can be quite filling, but requires you to like mild curry. Best as a whole meal.
  • Tom Yum Pronounced (tome Yum).This is a tangy sweet soup, similar to a sweet and sour soup. It comes with tomatoes, pineapple, mushrooms, and often has lemongrass. This soup is best as an appetizer.
  • Tom Kha Pronounced (tome kAH). This is a coconut broth soup, usually rich and savory. It traditionally has mushrooms, lemongrass, ginger and a few veggies like carrots or cabbage. I’ve never met a person who didn’t like Tom Kha. Best as an appetizer. tom khaCredit: By Evan Joshua Swigart (TheCulinaryGeek) from Chicago, Illinois, USA; hometown of Ames, Iowa, USA (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Noodle Dishes

  • Pad Kee Mow Pronounced (ped kee mow). This is also called drunken noodle, or spicy noodle. It is a flat noodle dish often served with bell peppers, onion, basil, and fried with an egg. It is savory yet spicy and goes well with a cooling Thai iced tea.
  • Pad Woonsen Pronounced (ped woon-sin). This is a glass noodle dish (thin like angel hair pasta, but clear) and is usually lighter on oil. A healthy noodle dish, it comes with many vegetables such as carrots, baby corn, cabbage, mushrooms and zuchinni. These are cooked in a light soy base with a fried egg.
  • Pad See Eaw Pronounced (ped see You). This is another flat noodle with an almost barbecued smokiness to it. A savory dish, it is traditionally made with carrots, broccoli and a fried egg.
  • Pad Thai Pronounced (ped tie).This is the standard Thai dish. It’s the national dish of Thailand, and if you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s a rice noodle dish fried with an egg, green onions, and beansprouts. It is cooked in a tangy sauce similar to a peanut sauce, and usually comes topped with peanuts.Pad ThaiCredit: By Terence Ong (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Curry Dishes

  • Geang Panang Pronounced (gang puh-NAYng). This is the panang curry, a milder version of the red curry, with an added richness from the peanut sauce. It often comes with bell pepper, peas and baby corn; alongside any meat or tofu you want.
  • Geang Garee Pronounced (gang guh-REE).This is the yellow curry, a unique and hearty curry known for it savory flavor. It is a simpler curry, with dark tender chicken, potatoes, and carrots.yellow curryCredit: By Takeaway (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Wok Fried Dishes

  • Lao Dang Pronounced (lAwe dang). Also known as whiskey chicken, this is a battered dish similar to sweet and sour pork, but with more notes of barbecue sauce. It is fried with onions, bell peppers, and sometimes cashews.
  • Prik King Pronounced (prik kIng). This is a green bean dish, fried in a rich heavy sauce. It may come with additional vegetables or your choice of tofu or meats. It is often accompanied by basil and bell pepper.
  • Param Pronounced (pah-rom). Param is a peanut lovers favorite. It is either meat or tofu on a bed of spinach, and then smothered in rich peanut sauce. If you haven’t had peanut sauce, you should at least try it as just a side, especially if you like peanut butter.paramCredit: Delicious food, photographed badly Mar 9 by scrumptious

These are my recommendations of the best Thai food dishes to try, in order to get a full spectrum of what Thai cuisine has to offer. Recipes and flavor will vary depending on location. If you want to really impress your Thai waiter, then try greeting them with a hello in Thai. After you get your food you can also say thanks in Thai. I’ve done this before and gotten a free Thai iced tea! It really sets you off on the right foot.

Thanks for reading!