11 Thai Dishes You Must Try!

When in Thailand you just can't get around the delicious local dishes, western food is an option they do serve it, but if you like food that mostly tastes like rotten avocado's be my guest and try it. I do know how you feel, it can be very overwhelming looking at the massive menus in most Thai eateries. Here I come in to help you, with these must eat 11 Thai dishes you can't go wrong!
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When in Thailand you just can't get around the delicious local dishes, western food is an option they do serve it, but if you like food that mostly tastes like rotten avocado's be my guest and try it. I do know how you feel, it can be very overwhelming looking at the massive menus in most Thai eateries. Here I come in to help you, with these must eat 11 Thai dishes you can't go wrong!

I'll start with the most important thing that you need to know when you order a meal in Thailand. Some of the dishes are spicy, and then I'm not talking about a tickle on your tongue spicy I'm talking about that feeling when it seems you're eating lava spicy. I would recommend to ask for a milder version. This way you will get 2 hot peppers instead of 4. Don't let the spiciness scare you off, this often heightens other flavors too, and in the long run you'll get used to spicier food. It might take you a few days filled with bathroom runs, but you'll get there trust me, and in the end it is all worth it!

Tom Yum Goong
This is a delicious Thai soup with shrimp as a main ingredient. So if you are not into seafood, jump ahead to the next dish! For all of you seafood lovers, you're having a great start into your Thai food experience. This is a clear soup with lemongrass and is often seen as a hot and sour soup. So if you are not into spicy, don't forget to ask for a "mild" version.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai are easily translated in stir-fried noodles. They are often served as street food and at local eateries. They do serve it in restaurants, but in my experience the cheaper versions of this dish are ALWAYS better! Pad Thai can be eaten with seafood or chicken, or as a veggie dish. I haven't seen many versions with pork and the ones that I did eat I really don't recommend. Pad Thai is NOT spicy, it is more sweet and sour flavored.

Noodle Soup
The title says it all, noodle soups. There are many varieties of this soup, main choices can often be made between chicken, pork, seafood or veggie. My preference always goes to the veggie noodle soup, preferably one focusing on extra mushrooms!

Som Tam
This dish combines all five tastes; sour, hot, salty, savory and sweetness and mixes it together. In English this dish can be translated to 'green papaya salad'.

Throughout cities in Thailand, this dish is one of the staples of street food cooking and dining. It's fresh, easy to prepare, and tastes wonderful. There are again many different variations for this meal, some including fermented fish sauce or salted preserved egg.

Gai Med Ma Moung (Chicken Cashew Nuts)
Thai stir fry chicken with cashew nuts. Another often very spicy dish, so don't forget to ask for a milder version if you prefer this, and if it is an option. Together with some veggies, the cashew nuts and the chicken this is a perfect dish. I often also order some steamed white rice on the side if I'm really hungry!

Geng Kheaw Wan Gai (Green Curry Chicken)
My all time favourite when it comes to curry's! You don't even want to know how many times my mouth has been on fire because my request for "milder" curry didn't go through translation properly. You can order it with chicken, beef or veggies. I mostly go for chicken and veggies because beef isn't always the best in Thailand.

The paste of this curry is made of green peppers (that is why it is so damn hot!) together with coconut milk, Thai eggplant and loads of other ingredients this makes the spiciest curry you can get in Thailand.

Kao Phad (Fried Rice)
The famous Thai fried rice is a favourite for almost all locals and tourists. The meal usually includes some kind of meat, either chicken, shrimp, crab or beef. Together with egg, garlic, onions and a delicious seasoning this is an easy to go to meal that can be found at many street vendors.

Massaman Curry
Another favourite of mine, I so love my curry's! Interesting fact is that Massaman is not a native Thai word and comes from the Muslims early writing around the 19th century. This is a bit of a softer curry compared to the green, red and yellow Thai curries. It does have some dried peppers in there, so be aware it is still spicy. The rich flavors in the paste come from cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and several others, these are all spices imported from the Middle East. Massaman Curry can be found in almost any restaurant, lucky us!

Spring rolls
Crispy fried spring rolls can be found at almost any street vendor or restaurant. They are often served as an appetizer or little snack and are delicious with some hot or sweet-sour sauce. I used to get these for lunch a lot, they are really easy to come by, seriously, and you can get them on almost every street corner. They are often fresh made and are done in a few minutes. Don't forget about the taste, nothing is better than Thai spring rolls!

Banana Pancakes
I wasn't going to put them in, because they are often referred to as backpacker food. You seriously can't go without them though; they are the best damn things that have ever come out of Thailand. I'm not kidding, it has been almost 3 years since I was in Thailand and you can ask anyone, I still talk about them. The other night I even had a dream about them, those delicious banana pancakes with vanilla sauce mmmm.. They have hundreds of variations (even some without banana if you prefer that) but you can get them with chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, hazelnut, orange, almost anything you can think of, they can put it on for you! So if you see one of the little carts offering pancakes, don't just walk by.. GET ONE!!! and if you don't want to do it for yourself, please do it for me, I'll be satisfied knowing that someone is enjoying them somewhere.

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15 Venices
Venice, Italy - The Venice of Venices (01 of 16)
The Venice that started the whole "The Venice of..." craze, it's easily one of the most beautiful and romantic cities on earth, and it's an excellent place to visit if you are a fan of crowds of other tourists wondering why this place is so damn crowded. But seriously, if you follow the advice of the pros, you'll spend at least one night here and discover that the early mornings and evenings are amazing and easy to deal with. Find flights to Venice or get tips for visiting Venice on a budget
Venetian Resort - Venice of Las Vegas(02 of 16)
Since the vast majority of Americans don't even have a passport, much less enough money for a flight to Italy, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation decided to grant a public service to under-traveled Americans by imploding the Sands Hotel and building a 5-star hotel in its place that has a kitchy and over-the-top Venice theme. You can now take a gondola ride through its indoor-outdoor canal system, and be piling prime rib onto your buffet plate less than 10 minutes later. Take that, Italy! The Venetian in Las Vegas has been such a success that it's spawned an imitator, in the name of a similar Venetian hotel in Macau (owned by the same company) that features the world's largest casino. Learn more about the Venetian Hotel
Venice, California - Venice of The West Coast(03 of 16)
This is one of two actual 'fake' Venices on this list, since it was built in 1905 to copy the canal system (to some degree) of the Italian city it was named after. Over the following decades the city boomed and then fell into disarray, and the stagnant water in the remaining canals became something of a health hazard. But the canal area that sits a few blocks from the beach was cleaned up and revitalized, and it's quite nice to look at today, even though it's so out of the way that most people don't even know it's still there in this form.
San Antonio, USA - Venice of the Southwest(04 of 16)
This huge city in Texas has a section called the River Walk, which is a series of canals just off the San Antonio River, and is said to be the number one tourist attraction in the state. It has at least a few bridges that appear to be inspired by Venice, Italy, so obviously its worthy of being known as the "Venice of the Southwest" by at least some people. Look for hotels in San Antonio
Ft. Lauderdale, USA - Venice of The East Coast(05 of 16)
This touristy city just north of Miami used to be mostly known as a cheesy Spring Break destination, but its 165 miles of canals just behind the beach definitely do qualify it for its nickname "Venice of America." One major difference is the Italian waterways are used for shipping goods while these are mainly used so more people can park yachts in front of their houses and then get them out into the ocean. Find a flight to Fort Lauderdale
Puerto de Mogán, Canary Islands - Venice of the Canaries(06 of 16)
In one of the more dubious claims on this list, this city in the Canary Islands (owned and operated by Spain) features what the most recent Wikipedia editor calls "Canal-like channels linking the marina to the fishing harbour." This seems to set the bar pretty low, but still it is sometimes called "Little Venice" or "Venice of the Canaries." Read about the diversity of the Canary Islands or find flights to the Canary Islands
Recife, Brazil - Venice of Brazil(07 of 16)
Lately it's become more famous for its many shark attacks just off the coast, but this nearly-500-year-old city on the Eastern tip of the continent is also sometimes known as the "Brazilian Venice" due to the number of rivers and bridges in town. While it may be the closest thing Brazil has to the famous Italian city, this one does seem to stretch the moniker a bit. In our book, just having rivers and bridges doesn't cut it, but we don't get a say in these things. Book flights to Recife or learn about other places go in Brazil
Sète, France - Venice of Languedoc(08 of 16)
"Languedoc," (in case you didn't know either) is the region in southern France that borders Spain and the Mediterranean Sea, so being known as the "Venice of Languedoc" may not sound like a big deal, but it turns out this city of around 40,000 actually resembles Venice, Italy more than probably any other on this list. The Canal du Midi spills into the sea here after its 240km journey from Bordeaux, and the whole town is filled with small waterways that actually look somewhat like the real Venice. Read more about the Languedoc region
Nantes, France - Venice of France(09 of 16)
The 6th largest city in France is the largest in the Brittany region in the far west, so the fact that it has a canal network helped earn it the nickname "Venice of the West." The current description on its Wikipedia page says the name is, "owing to its position on the river delta of the Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre (whose tributaries were infilled in the early 20th century)." Sounds like a perfect match! Find a hostel in Nantes
St. Petersburg, Russia - Venice of Russia(10 of 16)
This on-again, off-again capital of Russia sits on the Baltic Sea, and in the early 18th Century the city planners began digging a series of canals to help move goods around. Most of these canals remain, and the hundreds of bridges crossing over them definitely do make the Venice association believable. Book a flight to St. Petersburg or read our Russia travel guide
Monasterevin, Ireland - Venice of Ireland (11 of 16)
This small town of around 2,300 people in County Kildare that sits on the N7 road that connects Dublin and Cork is sometimes known as the "Venice of Ireland," which does seem to be a bit of a stretch. A confusing passage on the Monasterevin city website says, "An aqueduct built in 1826 carries the Grand Canal over the River Barrow. Monasterevin is noted for its unusually high number of bridges," so it sounds like the combination of a 'Grand Canal' and some bridges were all it took to adopt its own Venice nickname, in spite of the small size and look of the place. Find flights to Ireland or read our Ireland travel guide
Basra, Iraq - Venice of the Middle East(12 of 16)
Evidently, the canals that flow through this second-largest city in Iraq that sits near the Persian Gulf are at the mercy of the tides, so the nickname of "Venice of the Middle East" is only valid during parts of the day. We can excuse the city for not resembling Italy much, especially since any gondoliers that might have been here before have, up until very recently, been replaced by the British military. Read our Iraq travel guide
Amsterdam - The Venice Of Van Gogh And Marijuana(13 of 16)
One of several cities sometimes called "Venice of the North," Amsterdamactually has more canals and bridges than the Italian city (and Hamburg, Germany has more bridges than both of those combined), so this is not some phony nickname that stretches the imagination. Amsterdam is also extremely well known for its network of gorgeous waterways, and some of the nicest are those in the Red Light District (pictured), which is the oldest part of the city. Plan our trip with our Amsterdam travel guide
Alappuzha, India - Venice of India (14 of 16)
With over 2 million residents (this is India, after all) this is one of the largest cities on this list. Its canals somehow seemed unusual enough to earn it the title "Venice of the East" around 100 years ago, in spite of the fact that the canals themselves appear to be the only similarity, and even that might be stretching it. Book flights to India
Bangkok, Thailand - Venice of Southeast Asia(15 of 16)
With its position on the Chao Phraya River basin, Bangkok actually has quite a bit in common with the real Venice. Its extensive canal network is actually not used for in-city shipping as much as it used to be, but the city is also said to be slowly sinking itself into the swamp. Many visitors will get to spend some quality time on the canals, as tours of the various "floating markets" in the area are a very popular novelty. Book a flight to Thailand or read about Bangkok's floating markets
Suzhou, China - Venice of the East(16 of 16)
This city of over 6 million in the suburbs of Shanghai is on a lake and also near the mouth of the mighty Yangtze River, and evidently many centuries ago it had an extensive canal network, which earned it the nickname "Venice of the East." Most of those canals have since been paved back over, but enough still exist that they are a tourist attraction, and from certain angles this place actually does look just a bit like the Venice of Italy. Read our China travel guide or discover lesser-known places to visit in China

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