If you're planning a trip to Thailand, you may be wondering what Thai food in Thailand is like. Will you see the same familiar dishes from your local Thai restaurant, or will the food be totally different? Thai food in restaurants abroad is usually pretty close to what you'll find in Thailand, but the biggest difference, aside from the fact that Thai food is better in Thailand, is that you'll encounter many new things to try. Don't worry, your favorites will be available, too! Here are some popular dishes you'll find here that most foreigners are already familiar with. Check out the recipes you can make at home, too.
1. Tom Yum
This sweet, spicy, fragrant soup is traditionally made with large shrimp and served with mushrooms and other vegetables. The most traditional versions are not made with coconut milk, which makes the clear soup much richer, but that variation is more and more popular here and abroad. In Thailand tom yum can be very spicy!
2. Tom Kha Gai
This fragrant soup is richer and less intense than traditional tom yum and the primary flavors you'll taste (in addition to the coconut milk and whatever meat it's made with) are galangal and lemongrass. But don't let the mild color and lack of spice fool you, tom kha gai is still interesting and flavorful.
3. Whole Fish
Given that there are so many rivers in Thailand and much of the southern part of the country is surrounded by ocean, it's no surprise that whole fresh fish would be so popular here. In Thailand you'll find whole fish steamed, fried and sauteed but what makes the dish is really the sauce that goes with it!
4. Pad See Ew
This satisfying dish is the ultimate in Thai comfort food. Soft noodles, meat, vegetables and egg are wok fried together and seasoned till the combination takes on a slightly sweet, salty, peppery flavor. Though the stir-fried soft noodles are delicious, it's the sweet black soy sauce (pad see ew literally means stir-fried with soy) that makes this dish.