What Is the Best Traditional Thai Food?

January 23, 2023
IN Thai Cuisine

According to recent research, Thai food is the fourth most popular international cuisine in the United States. There are several differences between American-produced Thai food and the authentic variety served in Thailand.

For a true culinary dive into this fragrant, tasty cuisine, you need to experience the real thing. Keep reading for more about traditional Thai food and where to find the best Thai food in Bellevue.

Secrets of Traditional Thai Food

Thai authentic dishes hinge on creating a delicate balance between the five primary flavors, namely sour, salty, bitter, sweet, and spicy. Every true Thai menu features dishes with the perfect combination of at least two of these tastes.

Thai dishes are also divided into four main categories:

  • Boiled dishes (tom)
  • Spicy salads (yam)
  • Pounded foods (tam)
  • Curries (gaeng)

Chefs prepare each of these according to long-held traditions and customary techniques.

Although all Thai food is delicious, there are a few special meals in Thailand that stand out from the rest.

Popular Traditional Thai Dishes

Thailand does not have an official national dish, and favorite traditional meals in Thailand vary from region to region. Yet, there are a few that stand out as favorites among the locals.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai might be the best-known Thai dish, but it’s a recent addition to the Thai food scene. It came about as an attempt to consolidate national unity after World War II. 

Since it’s so popular, Pad Thai has become the unofficial Thai national dish, but there are some other classic meals that locals prefer.

Som Tum

Som Tum, or Papaya Salad, is one of the most popular meals among Thai people. It’s available in a few styles, but the traditional variety always includes:

  • Shredded green papaya
  • Peanuts
  • Thai chili
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Dried baby shrimp 

Som Tum is an example of Isaan cuisine, which hails from the northeast of Thailand and started to become popular across the states around 1996

Massamun Curry

Although Massamun curry deviates from some principles of traditional Thai curry, it’s one of the go-to meals for Thai people. The interesting combination of spices in this dish only serves to highlight the diversity and flexibility of Thai food.

Some of the spices featured in this classic chicken or beef and coconut milk curry include:

  • Coriander seed
  • Lemongrass
  • Galangal
  • Chilies
  • Shrimp paste
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Anise
  • Nutmeg  

Potatoes, onions, and roasted peanuts complete the flavor profile of this unusual dish. 

Massaman curry is heavily influenced by Thailand’s Muslim neighbor, Malaysia, although it has 17th-century origins in the court of Ayutthaya in central Thailand. Food experts believe the Persian merchant Sheik Ahmad Qomi masterminded this dish.

Where to Find Authentic Thai Food in Bellevue

If none of these dishes appeal to your tastes, you’re sure to find something to love among the vast array of flavor combinations available. True Thai cuisine offers something for everyone and is a healthy and tasty way to enjoy your meals. Are you ready to explore the real tastes of Thailand? Visit one of our convenient locations for the most authentic Thai food in Bellevue.

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