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Exploring Thai cuisine on trip. Suggestions?

I’m going to Thailand soon for a two week-long vacation. I chose the place because of a friend’s recommendation after going there for some kind of romance tour (?). I’ll be visiting Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya for about four days each give or take. Part of my plan is to explore Thai cuisine while i'm in the country.
Thai food was always recommended by others and being in the place is just the perfect opportunity that I can’t pass. I need suggestions where to go and what to eat. I’ve heard about the Tom Yum and Pad Thai, but I still need more suggestions on what else to eat. Will really appreciate your replies. Thanks

Posted by
7179 posts

For sure get the Lonely Planet Thailand travel guide; it has restaurant recommendations by cities
You can also read this in Wikipedia it has info broken down by regional dishes (I just searched google for that)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_cuisine

Don't know if you live near city with Thai owned operated restaurants. That would be a good place to get more info.

Posted by
2526 posts

Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes especially in Thailand. Friends took a cooking class in Chiang Mai and loved it. That would be one way to learn more about Thai food.

Posted by
2 posts

Hey guys, thanks so much for all your suggestions, I'll definitely look into these. Thanks again!

Posted by
4654 posts

Do you like spicy food and I mean SPICY food? Thai cooking features chilli a lot and some of the jungle curries from the north of the country are ridiculously hot. Pad Thai tends not to be so spicy so it is a good introduction. I once had a dish that was innocuously titled 'Chicken Curry'. It was quite possibly the hottest dish I've eaten. A lot of restaurants will tone down the heat for Western palates if you ask them.

Street food is plentiful although some of the hygiene practices leave a lot to be desired.

Posted by
5564 posts

Where do you live? In many places (at least where I live in the USA), Thai food is plentiful - eg there are neighborhoods in Seattle where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Thai restaurant or two...

Be aware that, like any cuisine, when food "travels" overseas it changes a bit. That is, much of the food you get at a Thai restaurant outside Thailand is going to be a bit different than the Thai food you will find there. The Thai food in Thailand tends to be a bit more "extreme" (for lack of a better term) than the food you will usually find in Thai restaurants in the US - recipes are toned down a bit for Americans' tastes. That said, if you want to get into Thai food, there's no need to wait until you get to Bangkok - why not start getting warmed up now?

About your itinerary...you might want to fine-tune the places you will be going. Having been to Thailand many times, I'm not sure I'd put Pattaya on the list if you are only picking three stops. Bangkok and Chiangmai make sense, but I'd drop Pattaya and switch to someplace in the south on the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) side - you will find the beaches and ocean much closer to your dreams there than you will in Pattaya.