Thai food was introduced worldwide in the 1960's, but it's only been in the last several years that it's become quite popular throughout the US. When asked to name an ethnic cuisine, Thai food ranks fourth amongst Americans behind Italian, French and Chinese. Now most larger size cities in the US have Thai restaurants. Grand Rapids is no exception with nearly a dozen different Thai restaurants all around town (see list below).
If you're unfamiliar with Thai food, but wanting to give it a try, it can be a little confusing to know what to order. This list of 10 Most Popular Thai Foods will give you a good place to start. If you're one of those people who hears the word "spicy" and tend to think "Spicy isn't really my thing!", you'll be happy to know that most Thai restaurants let you order to your liking on a spiciness scale of 1 to 10. The list below can serve as a glossary to terms you'll see on most Thai menus.
Basic Thai Food Terms
Pad Thai- The famous noodle dish, made with flat rice noodles, and added seasoning, as well as usually shrimp.
Thai Green Curry- Can be made with chicken, beef or seafood, this is a popular curry, where the sauce is made from a fresh cilantro and coconut base.
Tom Yam Goong- (also called Tom Yam Kung) The soup that’s hot, sour, sweet and spicy, tom yam goong is a clear soup that usually has shrimp in it too.
Tom Kha Gai- Coconut-based chicken soup.
Satay- The Thai version of a kebob. Usual choices are chicken and beef, satay is typically mild and comes with a peanut dipping sauce.
Mango Sticky Rice- The most popular dessert for all ages. Exactly what it says it is.
Masaman Curry- The Thai version of beef and potato stew.
Yum Nua- Spicy beef salad.