What do you picture when you think of Thai food? Many of you might immediately think of pad Thai or spring rolls. There are many “famous” Thai dishes that are staples for almost any Thai restaurant. Many of them are traditional Thai foods while others are actually adopted from other cultures.
At Twist on Thai Cafe, we have created a menu of unique, Thai-inspired dishes that include everything from Thai tacos to spicy bamboo duck! But we also love cooking up the classics that you expect to find at the best Thai restaurants in New Jersey! Below, we’ll be giving you some important background information on some of the standard Thai dishes that you can find at almost any Thai restaurant or in Thailand! Keep reading to learn more and make sure to stop by our Hopatcong Thai restaurant to try these for yourself
Green Papaya Salad
Green papaya salad is often called som tum. Our green papaya salad is called som tum goong sod because it has shrimp in it. Consisting of shredded green papaya and a number of other fixings (usually vegetables which can include tomatoes, green beans, and carrots), a green papaya salad is usually a mix of sour, spicy, sweet, and savory. This is the perfect precursor to any meal.
Pad Thai is perhaps the most famous of all Thai dishes, and one of the few that actually has the word ‘Thai’ in its name! Pad Thai is a dish consisting of stir-fried noodles, vegetables, and eggs. It often contains a protein such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp as well as flavorful ingredients including peanuts, fish sauce, onions or shallots, and sprouts, among others. There are many regional variations of this dish, but in general, you can expect pad Thai to be sweet-and-sour rather than spicy, making it a dish that almost anyone will love.
Curry originated in India but soon spread throughout all of Asia with each country putting its own spin on the dish. Thai curries include red curry and green curry — which we will discuss below — as well as Massaman curry. Massaman is actually not a native Thai word, but was used to refer to Muslims who traveled to Thailand and, therefore, Massaman curry has deep Muslim roots. This is a softer, nearly sweet curry which uses spices that can include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and nutmeg, among others.
Red curry is a medium-spicy curry with a bright red color. The color most often comes from red spur chilies, but can come from other red chilies as well. Other spices in the mix usually include garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, cumin, and peppercorns, but can include many more. Like most Thai curries, red curry is frequently made with a creamy coconut milk which gives it a unique, sweet undertone.
Green curry is the spiciest and most flavorful Thai curry you will find at most Thai restaurants. The green color comes from green chilies used to make the dish, and often includes other common curry spices and flavors. Keep in mind that some restaurants refer to this dish as “sweet green curry” where the word sweet refers to the soft green color and not the flavor!
Stir-Fried Cashew Nuts
Stir-frying cashews with vegetables and adding a protein creates a wildly popular sweet and spicy Thai dish. Known by different names depending on where you are, you might see this dish called by several different names. At Twist on Thai Cafe, it’s Pad Cashew Nam Prik Phow and includes cashews with onions, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, and broccoli in a sweet chili sauce.
Thai Fried Rice
Fried rice dishes are hugely popular and it’s easy to see why. The flavor profile is simple and favorable to anyone who might shy away from strong flavors found in other Thai dishes. We have a few versions of fried rice at our Thai restaurant in Hopatcong including fried rice with pineapple and sweet Thai basil fried rice.
Spring rolls are a common appetizer found in just about every Asian country. Every region puts their own spin on this rolled treaty. While many countries wrap their spring rolls in a thin pastry and fry it, some countries, like Vietnam, typically serve spring rolls cold and wrapped in rice paper.
At Twist on Thai Cafe, we serve crispy, fried spring rolls full of carrots, cabbage, and glass noodles and serve it with a sweet sauce.
Mango Sticky Rice
Of course, we couldn’t discuss popular Thai dishes without talking about one of the most beloved Thai desserts! Sticky rice is naturally sweet, and most restaurants serve their mango sticky rice with a sweet coconut cream syrup. The key ingredient is freshly sliced mangos, which is why this dish is often seasonal and not served year-round. Try it while you can!
What Will You Try At Our Thai Restaurant?
Whether you want to stick with something simple like fried rice with chicken or you want to be more adventurous and try a Thai dish that we didn’t include on this list, the choice is yours! Our extensive menu is full of traditional staples and creative, modern dishes you’ve never heard of!
We invite you to try a little bit of everything when you stop by Twist on Thai Cafe! From appetizers to dessert, we have it all. Make a reservation to ensure a great table at our tasty Thai restaurant in Hopatcong!