Thai Dishes for the
First-Time
UK Expat

Thai food especially

UK expats

For many UK expats, it takes a little bit of time to get used to Thai food especially if they are eating the cuisine for the first time. Thai food tends to have strong and bold flavors, particularly sweet, salty, spicy, and savory. Luckily, Thai food does share some similarities with Indian food, which is quite common in the UK, so you won’t need to worry too much about the flavors being too unfamiliar.

If you’re a UK expat and you want to try some Thai dishes for the first time, here is a short crash course on how to introduce yourself to Thai cuisine.

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First, the Soup

In Thailand

soup is considered to be part of the main meal and not an appetizer. However, if you want a taste of Thailand in a single bite, a good bowl of Thai soup is the way to go. Thai soups contain tons of aromatics such as lime leaves, lemongrass, tamarind pods, and galangal. You might want to remove them from your soup before commencing with your meal.

There are two common soups that you will find in the streets of Thailand: Tom Yam and Tom Kha.

If you love heat and tanginess, Tom Yam is an excellent choice! This soup features a spicy and sour profile, with the heat coming from Thai chilies and the sourness coming from the lime. The most common version of this soup is the Tom Yam Goong, which features large pieces of succulent shrimp. Some versions also contain coconut cream, giving the soup a creamy consistency.

If you’re looking for something a little bit tamer, you should look for a bowl of Tom Kha. It is milder compared to Tom Yam, and it is flavored with galangal, lemongrass, Kaffir lime, and fresh Thai basil.

Thai noodles

Next, the Noodles

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soup

After your soup, you want to move on to Thai noodles. Thailand has tons of delicious noodle recipes, but the two most popular recipes are Pad Siew and Pad Thai.

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Pad Siew

Pad Siew is made from thick rice noodles in a soy-based sauce. It also contains vegetables such as Chinese broccoli and kale, as well as some type of meat such as pork or chicken.

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Pad Thai

Pad Thai, on the other hand, is more well-known! Aside from Tom Yam soup, it is arguably the most popular Thai dish in the world. Pad Thai is made from thin rice noodles and it is tossed with a sauce made from tamarind, fish sauce, and dried shrimp. The best Pad Thai also comes with fresh bean sprouts, peanuts, and a wedge of lime to squeeze on top of the noodles.

Finally, the Thai Curries

Similar to Indian cuisine

Similar to Indian cuisine, Thai cuisine features a lot of curries! The main difference is that Indian curries are made with spice powder mixes while Thai curries are made from curry pastes. Thai curries also tend to be thicker, heavier, and creamier compared to Indian curries.

Thai curries come in three colors: green, yellow, and red.

Green curries are made from green chilis along with green herbs such as coriander, Thai basil, and Kaffir lime. They are sweet and mild.

Red curries are made from red chilies and tend to be hotter and spicier compared to green curries.

Yellow curries are the most similar to Indian curries due to the turmeric and coconut cream.

The Bottom Line

Thai cuisine is an explosion of color and flavor! As a UK expat, you will be doing yourself a favor by tasting everything that Thailand has to offer. However, you can start from more popular and well-known dishes such as Tom Yam and Pad Thai before moving on to other Thai dishes.