Often considered the greatest cuisine in the world, Thai food is packed with flavour and freshness, which has Brits ordering from their favourite takeaway time and time again. The contrast in flavours (sweet, salty, and spicy) means Thai dishes have a distinct flavour that is hard to recreate at home.
Here we will take a look at 10 popular Thai dishes to order from a UK takeaway with pictures, there is sure to be an option for everyone for their first time order, whatever their taste.
1. Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum (or Tom Yam) is a shrimp-based soup that combines hot and sour flavours. The word Tom refers to the boiling process while cooking the soup, while Yam means ‘mixed’, in terms of the ingredients.
The soup is fragrant and herby, with the core ingredients generally consisting of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, and red chilli. You will struggle to find a soup more flavoursome than this one and we would strongly advise you to give this one a try on your next Thai takeaway order.
2. Tom Kha Gai
An alternative soup is Tom Kha Gai which is a coconut and chicken soup that is surprisingly spicy. Tom Kha Gai is both tangy and salty, with fried chilli sometimes added to give it an extra kick.
Some variations may feature mushrooms or seafood instead of chicken, and while the core ingredients of the soup are similar to Tom Yum, the addition of coconut gives it a whole new twist.
3. Pad Thai
A British Thai takeaway staple, the Pad Thai has become a household name on these shores and is one of the most commonly ordered Thai dishes across the UK. Pad Thai is a popular street food back in Thailand and is a stir-fried flat-noodle dish, traditionally made with prawns, egg, vegetables, peanuts, and bean sprouts.
Although it is traditional to make this dish with prawns, UK takeaways generally make Pad Thai with a range of ingredients, including chicken and beef. If you have never tried Thai food, then this is a great entry-level dish to try.
4. Pad See Ew
Another stir-fried noodle dish that is commonly made with chicken. A very popular dish that can have its roots traced back to China, as it is heavily soy-based, as opposed to Pad Thai which takes a lot of its flavour from tamarind.
The sauce is very simple, with soy accompanied by oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar. A sensible choice for anyone who is fond of Chinese cuisine.
5. Khao Pad
A Thai fried rice dish that offers an addictive combination of flavours that is filling enough to ensure you will have leftovers in the morning. The basic elements of this dish are garlic, egg, fish sauce (for saltiness), chilli (spice), lime (sour), and sugar (sweet).
The dish originates from central Thailand and is a popular street food across the country. In the UK this rice dish can be cooked with a range of meat and is a great alternative to noodle dishes.
6. Thai Green Curry
Sometimes referred to as Jungle Curry on UK menus, the Thai Green Curry offers plenty of spice and is usually accompanied by jasmine rice. Packed with herbs to create a strong aroma and give it its unmistakable green colour, the Thai green curry is guaranteed to be served at every Thai restaurant and takeaway.
Thai Green Curry can be very spicy and contain a lot of chilli, combined with Thai basil and coriander, creating a very fresh but potent dish.
7. Massaman Curry
If a very spicy curry isn’t your thing, then we would recommend trying a Massaman curry instead, as opposed to a Green or Red Curry. Although it is associated with Thai cuisine, this dish takes influence from Persian, Malay, and Indian cooking to deliver a rich, tangy and luxurious curry.
Commonly made with beef and potato, Massaman sauce is a combination of Thai red curry paste and Indian spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin, with peanuts added for texture.
8. Pad Kra Pao (Pork)
As popular in Thailand as fish and chips is in the UK, Pad Kra Pao is a fried pork dish that gives centre stage to Thai Holy Basil and is usually served with rice.
A quick dish that provides a perfect balance, with an unbeatable blend of spice, sweetness, tanginess, and salt. This dish is usually finished with a fried egg to offer a creamy texture.
9. Moo Tod Gratiem Prik Thai Dam (Fried Pork with Garlic and Black Pepper)
The name might be a bit of a mouthful, but we highly recommend giving this simple yet delicious dish a try, in addition to a portion of Jasmine rice. Fatty pork pieces fried up with aromatic garlic and black pepper, and with fish and oyster sauce to give it its Thai identity.
In some parts of Thailand this dish is sometimes eaten with porridge!
10. Larb Moo (with sticky rice)
Hailing from the Isaan region of Thailand, Larb Moo is a fried pork dish that has some similarities to Pad Kra Pow but with extra spice and is less dominated by Holy Basil. Food from this region is not as well known on western shores as central and southern Thai food, but this dish is a nice introduction.
If you’re lucky your local Thai takeaway will serve Larb Moo authentically with sticky rice, raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and mint. This dish is one of the healthier options you can order from a Thai takeaway.