Thailand is a popular travel destination for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and idyllic island life….but ask any seasoned traveller what keeps them returning to Thailand… and they’ll say the food.

Here are ten Thai dishes that you simply must try. Some of these will be available in India, but you’ll need to travel there on your own to find them all and truly experience Southeast Asia.

1. Som Tam (papaya salad)

The most well-known salad in Southeast Asia, made of thin green papaya strips dipped in lime juice, red chilli powder, fish sauce, and even sugar. Visit a street food cart and watch the vendor shave a portion fresh from the fruit before sprinkling it with peanuts, or order it at a restaurant as a side dish to a chicken dish.

2. Khao Soi

This popular northern Thai dish with Burmese influences is made with coconut milk, topped with crispy noodles and as much chilli as you can handle.

If you’re in Chiang Mai, check out Huen Phen Restaurant in the city centre, where a bowl of the good stuff won’t cost you more than 300 Thai Baht.

3. Pad Kra Pao

This dish, which translates as “basil stir-fry,” contains ground chicken or pork, rice, chilli, garlic, soy, oyster, and fish sauce, as well as a handful of Thai holy basil leaves. This is the most filling brunch or lunch available, especially when topped with a fried egg.

4. Tom Yum soup

This bowl of sweet and sour noodle soup is available on any street corner. It’s served plain with ground peanuts, chillies, and a little sugar on the side so that you can customise it to your own taste. Once you’ve added fresh, meaty shrimp, mushrooms, and whatever else you desire, you’ll have a satisfying, nutritious broth.

5. Satay

You can always find mouthwatering meat sizzling on an open grill, whether you prefer chicken, beef, spicy pork, scorpion, or anything else. You can stock up on a variety of snacks that are ideal for anytime, anywhere.

6. Pad kee mao sen yai (drunken noodles)

‘Pad Kee Mao Sen Yai’ means ‘drunken noodles.’ Sound fun, doesn’t it? It certainly is. They’re perfect after a few too many Changs, and even better the next day to awaken you from a hangover. Loaded with soy, garlic, fish sauce, sweet basil, chilli, and just about every other Thai spice the cook can get their hands on at the time.

7. Thai pancake

It’s difficult to imagine a more satisfying dessert than a Thai banana pancake, and backpackers can’t get enough of them! These pancakes are freshly grilled and smothered with bananas, melted chocolate, fruit, and coconut, so they make an excellent meal as well as a dessert or breakfast. Eat them on a paper plate at a street stand.

8. Mango sticky rice

Also know known as ‘Khao Neow Ma Muang’. A classic Thai dessert where sticky rice is cooked with coconut milk and served with diced mangoes. This is one of the most well-known traditional Thai dessert items. Best served with dollops of coco cream.

9. Sesame dumplings

These gooey sesame dough balls are served in ginger broth or tea. They are typically consumed during birthday or New Year celebrations, but we believe that simply being in Thailand is a reason for joy, so if you have the chance, indulge your inner child and savour a pot of these.

10. Pink broth

This is a delectable Thai noodle soup that is pink in colour and named Yen Ta Fo. It’s made with loads of ingredients and flavour! What’s the big deal with the colour pink? The pink colour in this Thai noodle soup comes from fermented soybean paste, which is added to every serving.

What other bizarre Thai foods have you tried that you think should be added to the list?

Please leave your comments below.