Articles on Thai Food, Cooking and Culture

:: A Glossary of Typical Thai Dishes - Part II

Published on August 24th, 2008 by Napatr Lindsley

Abstract: This is the second of two articles outlining typical Thai dishes - this article focuses on seafood, stir-fry and fruit. Already substantial, these lists speak to many dishes to explore and remember fondly, and hint at the even greater collection of food choices that one can find in Thailand and around the world.

Continuing from last week's article, this week's article will focus on seafood and stir-fried dishes and Thai fruits. Certainly the fruits and the seafood are two particular strengths of Thai cuisine, and taken together the articles for both weeks outline enough dishes to help fill many months with a wonderful variety of flavorful and healthy dishes.


Thailand is one of the lucky countries where seafood is abundant. There is a wide variety of seafood to choose from at a reasonable price. While not everyone likes or is used to seafood, there truly is much to choose from and many different flavors and textures, making it quite possible one would find some favorite dishes.

  • Goong Ob Wun Sen: steamed prawns with glass noodles, ginger, cilantro and cilantro seeds
  • Ho Mok Pla: steamed fish custard
  • Ho Mok Ta Le: steamed seafood custard
  • Hoi Tod: fried oyster in batter with egg on a bed of beansprouts
  • Hoi Ma Laeng Phu Ob: steamed mussels with Thai sweet basil (Bai Ho Ra Pha), kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and garlic
  • Hoi Nang Rom Sod: fresh oysters with chilies and garlic dipping sauce
  • Hu Cha Lam: shark fin soup
  • Goong Mungkon Phao: grilled lobster with chilies and garlic dipping sauce
  • Pla Kaphong Nueng King: steamed snapper (or other fish) with ginger and chilies
  • Pla Krug Phong Kari Tod: deep-fried fish seasoned with curry
  • Pla Meuk Yang: grilled squid with chilies and garlic dipping sauce
  • Pla Nueng Khing: steamed fish with ginger and chilies
  • Pla Thod: deep-fried fish with chili dipping sauce
  • Poo Jaa: steamed crab with pork
  • Poo Kan Chiang Nueng: steamed crab sculls
  • Poo Nueng: steamed crab with chilies and garlic dipping sauce
  • Poo Ob Phong Ga Ri: steamed crab with yellow curry powder
  • Poo Pad Phong Ga Ri: stir-fried crab with curry powder


Stir-fried dishes are generally easy to prepare and cook, while fitting well with a variety of cooking styles, including many American approaches to making dishes. Thai stir-fried dishes often include more intensely flavorful and healthful ingredients than some common stir-fry approaches.

  • Buab Pad Goong Sai Kai: stir-fried sponge gourd with shrimp and eggs
  • Chu Chi: stir-fried fish (or shrimp) with kaffir lime leaves, Thai sweet basil (Bai Ho Ra Pha) and chu chi chili paste
  • Gai Ho Bai Toey: fried chicken wrapped in pandanus leaf
  • Gai Pad Med Ma Muang Him Ma Paan: stir-fried chicken and cashew nuts
  • Goong Pad Yod Ma Proaw: stir-fried prawns with heart of palm
  • Hoi Lai Pad Ped: stir-fried clams with Thai sweet basil (Bai Ho Ra Pha) and roasted chili paste
  • Kai Yad Sai: stir-fried minced pork with chopped vegetables wrapped with fried whisked eggs
  • Num Prig Ong: minced pork in tomato sauce served with various vegetables
  • Moo Waan: stir-fried marinated shredded pork (or chicken) in oyster sauce
  • Moo Sup Tod: fried marinated ground pork with onion and spices
  • Pad Khing: stir-fried pork (or chicken) with shredded ginger
  • Pad Kra Phrao: stir-fried ground chicken (or pork) with Thai holy basil (hot basil)
  • Pad Kra Thiam Prig Thai: stir-fried marinated pork (or chicken) in garlic and white pepper powder
  • Pad Num Prik Pao: stir-fried pork (or chicken) and green beans with roasted chili paste
  • Pad Ped Nor Mai: stir-fried pork (or chicken) and bamboo shoots with red curry paste
  • Pad Ped Tua Fak Yao Moo: stir-fried long beans and pork with red curry paste
  • Pad Phong Ga Ri: stir-fried seafood (or meat) with curry powder
  • Pad Wun Sen: stir-fried clear noodle with minced pork, black mushrooms, eggs, onions and green onions
  • Pla Krug Phong Kari Tod: deep-fried fish seasoned with curry


Because of Thailand's location, conditions have helped Thailand produce a variety of fruit throughout the year. Thailand is well known for its tropical fruits. Many street vendors sell fresh fruits in slices as one of many Thais' snacks. The following are just to name a few of the delicious Thai fruits.

  • Chom Pu (Rose Apple): It looks like a pear but it is smaller. It has a green and pink waxy skin and white flesh.
  • Farang (Guava): It has green skin with white flesh. The core has many tiny seeds that must be removed. The taste is sweet and sour.
  • Ka Noon (Jack Fruit): It is a large fruit with greenish and yellowish skin. Its flesh is in small succulent segments with yellow color. It is a sweet fruit.
  • Kluay (Banana): There are so many types of bananas in Thailand, for instance, kluay hom (Gros Michel), kluay kai (Pisang Mas), kluay leb mue nang and kluay nam wa (Pisang Awak). The most famous type is kluay nam wa.
  • La Mud (Sapodila): Both skin and flesh have a light brown color. It has quite a large black pit inside. To eat, one must peel the skin off.
  • Lam Yai (Longan): It has a brown thin shell that cracks easily. A black round pit is inside the transparent flesh. This fruit is sweet, juicy and has a firm texture.
  • Ma Muang (Mango): A popular fruit during the summer season. There are at least one hundred types of mangoes. Some are eaten raw and some are eaten ripe.
  • Ngo (Rambutan): It has a red skin with soft green spikes. The flesh is translucent and taste is sweet and has a firm texture. Also, avoid the hard pit inside.
  • Noi Na (Custard Apple or Sugar Apple): The skin is green but the flesh is white and sweet and very fragrant.
  • Som Kiaw Waan (Tangerine): It has a thin, green skin. It is small, the size of a tennis ball. The taste is sweet.
  • Som O (Pomelo): It is like a grapefruit but bigger with a thick light green skin. The delicate flesh varies in color depending on the type of pomelo. Some types have a pink color, some have a yellowish color meat.
  • Subparod (Pineapple): The abundant pineapple in Thailand is irresistible. It is sweet and has a nice fresh smell to it.
  • Turian (Durian): The skin is thick and has lots of spikes, but the meat is soft yellow with a pit inside. It has a pungent smell and flavor which many foreigners find too strong.

This overview of dishes starts to overflow, hinting at how many possibilities are out there. Thailand is host to many special ingredients, some of which it is difficult to reproduce at the same level elsewhere, but many of which can be found for dishes in a variety of locations around the world. It is my hope that these lists help some readers explore new possibilities and provide a welcome reminder of enjoyable dishes to others. Bon appetit!