Why are there fake versions of authentic Thai food?

Usually, people prefer eating foods that suit their tastes. That is why chefs create versions of dishes that suit their local customers. Thai food included, having several versions around the world, it is hard to know which restaurants serve authentic Thai.

Experiencing the authentic dishes of Thai

You may be wondering if people eat “drunken noodles” in Thailand. You might not care because they’re so tasty! Either way, we think you deserve to know the truth. Here’s how to tell whether or not your favorite restaurant serves authentic Thai.

1. Authentic Thai version: KRATHONG TONG

Several types of appetizers and snacks find their way onto Thai menus. We’ve seen a fair number of restaurants thinking they can get away serving fried cheese triangles. However, fried appetizers are very common in Thai cuisine thanks to the Portuguese influence. One of the famous Thai appetizers is Krathong tong, which you can find at fancier restaurants in Thailand.

The authentic Thai version of Kranthong tong includes delicately-fried shells, which are load with chicken, potato, corn, carrot, and a tangy cream sauce. Fake versions of which use other types of meat or vegetable combinations, saying that it is tastier with different kinds of meat. You can find duck or turkey versions of these types of fowls that are more common in your area.

2. Authentic version: GAI HAW BAI TOEY

Few restaurants offer this dish because it calls for pandan leaves, an essential ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. Look out for this dish — if a restaurant offers this treat, you can be sure you are in good Thai hands. Having a meal with pandan leaves means that the restaurant’s goal is to bring a fulfilling experience to its customers.

An authentic Thai version of Gai Haw Bai Toey has pandan leaves as an essential ingredient. Some restaurants add lemongrass to enhance flavor, but should not be a substitute for pandan leaves. The leaves wrapped around chicken marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and coriander roots. When fried, the leaves perfume the chicken, imparting a grassy, herbal flavor.

3. Authentic version: GAENG KEAW WAN

This dish has variants in spelling its name, having “keow” and “kiaw,” having called differently due to its popularity and ease of preparation. Eat Thai green curry with steamed jasmine rice. However, If a restaurant offers fermented rice noodles with your curry, you can expect to be eating as you would in Thailand. The authentic Thai version of this curry leads with a sweet flavor, followed by a little heat from chilies and salty umami from the fish sauce. 

Gaeng Keaw Wan served without fish sauce or chilies is not an authentic Thai version. However, if chilies and fish sauce is not your preference for curries, there are other Thai dishes out there that may suit your taste. What’s essential to know is that all Thai curries start with different curry pastes made up of entirely different combinations of fresh herbs and spices. Think about that the next time you reach for the takeout menu. 

4. Authentic version: LAD NA

Lad Na is a very comforting dish for Thai people because it’s mostly noodles in a gravy. It is street food, which means it is easy to prepare, even at home. The dressing gets its flavor from fish sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster sauce and shouldn’t be too sweet. If this dish comes with condiments like dry chili flakes, sugar (optional), fish sauce, and sliced hot chilies in white vinegar, you’re eating an authentic Thai version. 

5. Authentic Thai version: PAD THAI

Here’s the thing: There is just no way to make pad thai without all the necessary ingredients. Several restaurants hope you don’t catch them skimping on the pickled radish, bean sprouts, dried shrimp, Chinese garlic chives, and crushed peanuts. The authentic Thai version of Pad Thai doesn’t allow shortcuts. Also, if you see carrots or peppers in your noodles, toss them to the side in protest.

In Thailand, some prefer to use vermicelli instead of the regular pad thai noodles. Sometimes pad thai is served wrapped in a thin egg crepe, but it always comes with traditional Thai condiments. However, modifying the Pad Thai by replacing the spices just to suit personal preference is not an authentic Thai version anymore.

6. Authentic Thai version: GAENG MUSSAMAN

Expect to find potatoes, roasted peanuts, and chicken thighs in this fragrant curry. The word “Mussaman” in Thai means “Muslim.” You can find this dish also called “Massaman” OR “Musselman.” Unlike green curry, Gaeng Mussaman is not served with fermented rice noodles but over jasmine rice. An authentic Thai version has a pungent aroma from the combination of coriander, cumin, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. The flavors of this curry are slightly sweet and sour from tamarind sauce. 

7. Authentic Thai version: PLA RAD PRIK

Pla Rad Prik is a crispy and spicy freshwater fish dish. Striped bass and grouper are both excellent candidates for this treatment, topped with a traditional sweet, sour, and spicy sauce. A word to the wise: The stuff in the head is delicious. You can see some versions where there are slits on the side of the fish to spice the meat. However, you can only consider this dish as authentic Thai when the fish is fried whole — head, tail, and all. 

8. Authentic version: PAD KRA PRAO

Most commonly called basil chicken, beef, or shrimp, this dish is a Thai favorite. The condiments for this dish are fish sauce and chopped chilies. In Thailand, small street vendors serve it over warm jasmine rice. If you want to have an authentic Thai experience when eating Pad Kra Prao, here’s the key: If your plate comes with a crispy fried egg topping, you are surely eating the real deal. 


Yummy Thai Noodle Soup & Vegetarian Restaurant

1901 Long Prairie Rd Suite # 260

Flower Mound, TX 75022

Phone: 469-993-1399

Fax: 469-993-1379

You can also order online by visiting here.