If you ever had the luxury of sampling Thai regional specialities, it’s likely you have asked yourself, “OMG, why is this so delicious!!!”

Thai cuisine focuses on lightly prepared dishes with powerful aromatic elements and a little sprinkle of spice ( or a lot for anyone hardcore). It’s essentially an art form, balancing many distinct flavours without compromising taste.

In this quick guide, we explore how each region has its own speciality , helping shape the Thai cuisine we all know and love.

Types of Thai regional specialities

Northern Thailand regional specialities

The dishes in the north reflects the influence from bordering countries such as Laos, Myanmar and China. The climate is often cooler than the rest of the country, making it perfect for growing different herbs and vegetables, with the two main flavours found here being bitter and sour. Fish sauce is also used a lot in dishes since there is a lack of seafood in the north.

Some famous dishes include:

Sia Ua Sausage– A special grilled pork sausage that originated from northeastern Burma. Usually served as an appetizer, with steamed potato, pumpkin, and sticky rice.

Khao Soi Soup-This dish is served not only in northern Thailand but also in Laos and Myanmar. It’s made from large rice noodles cut with scissors and in a yummy coconut curry with lime and crispy egg noodles on top.

Northeast Thailand (Issan) regional specialities

In Thailand, Issan is highly regarded as having the spiciest cuisine. The dishes is usually made up of barbecued meats and glutinous rice. It’s also famous for a special fermented fish paste which is essentially an acquired taste.

Some famous dishes include:

Som Tum– Made from shredded unripe papaya, peanuts, tomato and sometimes crab.

Laab– A spicy salad made from juicy minced meat and toasted rice that is ground to fine pieces. With a splash of lime juice, chili and fish sauce.

Nham Tok Mu– Made from grilled pork cut into thin slices and flavoured with chili and shallots, fresh herbs. Usually accompanied with a special spicy sauce for dipping. It’s so simple but full of flavor.

Central Thailand regional specialities

The dishes here is considered somewhat tamer to many other dishes in the country, with many of the country’s vegetables and fruits usually grown in this area. The dishes are heavily influenced by Chinese immigrants, and so are popular amongst expats in Bangkok.  

Some famous dishes include:

Pad See Eww– Flat rice noodles that are fried with meat, broccoli, egg and fish sauce.

Pad Kra Pow– Ground pork or chicken fried with the infamous holy basil herb, as well as chili, garlic and fish sauce.

The national dish of Thailand Pad Thai– , made stir fried rice noodles, tofu, fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar, garlic and bean sprouts.

Southern Thailand regional specialities

Southern dishes utilize the abundance of coconuts, with most coconut groves and coconut products produced in the south. The south is known for its deep, rich coconut curries and due to its location, there is a lot of seafood.

Some famous dishes include:

Boo Paht Pong Karee– This yellow curry crab is made from coconut milk, fresh herbs and lime juice.

Gaeng Som– An orange colored curry that’s extremely hot and sour. The base is shrimp paste, shallots and chillies, with the addition of tamarind and palm sugar. Fish or shrimp is often added to complete the delicious dish.

Love Thai food?  Then learn how to make it!

We do in-depth cooking classes where you can learn to make anything from sour to spicy to “omg my mouth is on fire!”. Perfect with friends, family or even as a company outing as a team building exercise. We have all the ingredients, experts and facilities, all that’s missing is you!


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