In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to know about Thai food. We'll tell you about the tastes and textures as well as some of the most popular dishes in the U.S., plus some recipes you're going to want to try.
Let's get started...
What Does Thai Food Taste Like?
There are so many different types of Thai dishes that you could spend quite a long time trying to get a feel for all the diversity. But to make things simpler, we'll tell you what some of the primary flavors are in Thai cooking.
Thai cuisine is known for being fresh-tasting, spicy, tart and sweet. Not all Thai dishes will have these flavors together, but they're often combined to create a well-rounded, pleasing experience.
Some of the most prominent flavors in Thai food include Thai basil, lime, coconut milk, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Peanuts and cashews are commonly added to many dishes as well.
Thai Food Textures
Thai food may be creamy, chewy, crunchy and soupy. Rice, rice noodles and confections made from rice are big components of the Thai diet, so cooked, chewy and sticky rice textures are typical features.
Crunch is another important texture in Thai cooking, as in the crunch of fresh vegetables and nuts. Salads, soups and curries are some of the staples of Thai cuisine, which may include crisp vegetables, creamy liquids and soft cooked eggs and meats (which are clearly not vegan, but tofu often replaces these in restaurants).
What Does Thai Food Consist Of?
Pad Thai is arguably one of the most well-known Thai dishes in the U.S. It's a dish made with rice noodles, veggies, bean sprouts and cilantro (and sometimes tofu, meat or seafood) and a tangy-sweet sauce with tamarind, lime, sugar and fish sauce.
As you can see, pad Thai is not typically vegan, but making it vegan at a restaurant can be as easy as asking for tofu and no fish sauce or egg.
Other popular Thai foods include coconut milk curries, clear, brothy soups, stir-fried vegetables, fried rices and green papaya salads. This is by no means an exhaustive list of Thai foods—just some of the more recognizable ones in the U.S.
Press tofu first to remove excess moisture. This can help make the tofu more flavor-rich and improve the texture. Take a look at our top picks for the best tofu press options if you're looking to buy one.