Regional Specialities

Find out about the local specialities available around the country...

There are four regional styles of cuisine in Thai food, the main dishes of which can be found throughout the country:

  • Northern
  • North-eastern (Isaan)
  • Central
  • Southern

Each style is characterised by the combination of fresh ingredients found in the area and the history of the people living there. Southern food shows a heavy Indian and Malay influence through the use of coconut cream in its many varieties of curry. Isaan food is strongly influenced by Laos and has Sticky Rice as its staple.

Northern dishes

  • Naem: pickled pork sausage with green chillies. It can be eaten raw with sticky rice or cooked with fried rice
  • Geng Hang Lay: a Burmese Curry which does not use chillies. It uses pork and tamarind to produce a sweet and sour flavour and is usually eaten with sticky rice
  • Khao Soi: egg noodles served with curry sauce and meat, spring onions, pickled onions and lime

North-eastern dishes

  • Som Tam: a spicy, sour, salty salad made with unripe papaya. It can be sweet, with peanuts and dried shrimps (Som Tam Thai), or salty, with pungent salted fish and river crab (Som Tam Phoo Pha Ra)
  • Laap: minced meat flavoured with dried chillies, roasted rice powder, chopped onions, mint and lemon juice
  • Nam Tok: made in the same way as Laap but using thin strips of barbecued meat
  • Gai Yang: marinated and barbecued chicken

Central dishes

  • Tom Yam: spicy, sour soup flavoured with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves with chicken or seafood
  • Tom Kha: made in the same way as Tom Yam but with coconut milk added to it
  • Geng Kiao Wan: a sweet green curry made with green chillies, meat or fishballs and sweet Thai basil
  • Geng Phet: a spicy red curry made with dried red chillies

Southern dishes

  • Geng Som: a spicy, sour curry flavoured with red chillies and turmeric which gives it a strong orange colour
  • Roti: somewhere between a pancake and a tortilla, it can be sweet, with condensed milk or bananas, or savoury with meat curries
  • Kanom Jin: Noodles made from sticky rice served cold with fresh herbs and pickled vegetables and freshly made sauce (it is possible to choose the sweet, spicy or pungent sauce)
  • Massaman: a sweet meat curry with coconut cream and peanuts
  • Khao Yam: a spicy, sour rice salad with fresh shredded herbs, vegetables and fruit, toasted coconut, chillies and sweetened sauce made from local fish