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Written by Grace Oktaviani

Who doesn’t like spicy Thai food? It can be a challenge to eat especially if you’re sensitive to chilli.

You’ll sweat, cry and maybe even wonder what you’ve got yourself into – but with most of them being super savoury and meaty, you won’t be able to stop eating. PLUS, they’ll also get your adrenaline rushing, perfect if you’re feeling just a little bit down.

But unless you’re a local or have been in Thailand for years, you probably won’t know that there’s more to Thai spicy food than the famous “Tom Yum”. And trust me, they’re all even more delicious (and some even spicier) than Tom Yum.

So true foodies and spicy food lovers, let me present to you 15 Thai spicy dishes – all ranked from crazy spicy (5x 🔥) to least spicy (1x 🔥). They’re all super delicious, and their “spice level scores” have been verified by a true local (thanks Dream!) so you can bet they’re all spicy.

Curious? Read on!

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1. When fish and chilli together becomes super spicy curry – Gaeng Tai Pla (แกงไตปลา)

Don’t be put off by the fact that this brown curry is made of fermented fish entrails or you’ll regret it. Despite it being fish-based, this curry doesn’t taste that fishy and is actually quite thick and flavourful.

Despite its dull colour, the curry tastes super spicy – in fact, it’s one of the two spiciest Thai dishes – so it’s usually served with raw long beans, cucumbers and eggplants. The intensity of the spice builds up the more you eat, so remember to take a few bites of the fresh vegetables in between your rice-and-curry meal so your stomach and tongue doesn’t burn too badly.

Photo Via Englishhippy, Saabbyevie

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Want some good ol’ pork ribs for lunch or dinner? – Gaeng Prik Si Krong Moo (แกงพริกซี่โครงหมู)

We really don’t recommend you to have this for breakfast, no matter how much you like pork ribs. Although there aren’t any chillies visible in the dish, it actually tastes like chilli curry (it’s that spicy). So having it in the morning may cause you to have a tummy ache right away. And if you can’t handle your spice well… Let’s just say you shouldn’t try it. (It’s one of Thailand’s spiciest foods for a reason.)

But if you DO like your chilli very much, you’ll love this dish to bits. We recommend eating it with the green peppercorns for that extra heat and crunch, which complements very well with the tender pork ribs. Enjoy it with a hot bowl of steamed rice and you’re in “fiery” heaven.

Photo Via Miewpeeyanuch, Ningthongthai

Note: There’s also a beef ribs version of this dish.

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

3. Fireeeeee!! – Khua Kling (คั่วกลิ้ง)

Don’t let the yellow colour deceive you. This dry curry might not look spicy, especially with the small pieces of meat being completely yellow, but the chilli and white peppercorns make this dish quite fiery. The addition of kaffir lime leaves also makes Khua Kling really fragrant, so don’t be surprised if the smell causes you to gobble up your dish.

Photo Via Thaistreetsaigon, Marions kitchen

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

4. So refreshing! – Gaeng Som (แกงส้ม)

Want food that can energise you immediately? Try Gaeng Som, also known as Gaeng Leung (แกงเหลือง) in other parts of Thailand.

This Southern Thai spicy and sour yellow soup uses turmeric for its colour, as well as lime juice and tamarind paste for its sourness. They then add fish (usually seabass) at the end, making it a refreshing yet healthy side dish to eat for lunch and dinner.

Photo Via Mrsjktichen, Kippysnacks, Eatingthaifood

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

5. It’s a jungle of spices, veggies and goodness! – Gaeng Pa (แกงป่า)

If you’re feeling tired of all the coconut milk and thick soups, then you might enjoy this dish for a change. It’s spicy (obviously) but because of its clear-ish soup (it’s not coconut-based), you’ll feel quite refreshed after eating. Gaeng Pa, which literally means Jungle Curry in Thai, also contains plenty of vegetables and meat, such as eggplants, pumpkins, sweet corn and carrots.

And if you’re not so much of a chilli person, you’ll be glad to know that this soup is more peppery. It tastes quite herbal too, so if you like your spice and herbs, you should definitely give this one a go.

Photo Via Chahna_mint, Nigujaa, Chahna_mint

Fun fact: Gaeng Pa was originally cooked with wild boar since you could find it in the jungle, along with other vegetables found in the jungle, hence the name “Jungle Curry”.

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

6. Spicy and crispy fish that smells soooo fragrant – Pad Ped Pla Duk (ผัดเผ็ดปลาดุก)

Yes, Thai food is more than that “red sweet and spicy sauce” you know. Thailand does food that is “very spicy with a hint of sweetness” well too, especially with fried, crispy catfish (with tender meat). So if you like your red curry paste, palm sugar, fish sauce and chilli, you’ll quite enjoy Pad Ped Pla Duk.

It’s quite aromatic too, due to the sweet basil and kaffir lime leaves, and has a nice crunch from the green peppercorns.

There isn’t much “soup” to it, good news for those who don’t really like soupy dishes. But there’s enough sauce that you can still pour it over your rice.

Photo Via P__pcx, Noosook_lookthookchao

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

7. ‘Tis time for some spicy stir-fried seafood – Pad Cha Talay (ผัดฉ่าทะเล)

CPB (a.k.a chicken, pork, beef) may be delicious, but honestly speaking, seafood trumps all… At least to me.

I mean, who can have enough of crunchy shrimp, soft fish, springy squid and savoury scallops? Add some pepper, chilli, fingerroot and other Thai seasonings and you have something amazing right there – ladies and gentlemen, meet Pad Cha Talay.

This dish packs quite the heat, although it tastes more peppery than chilli-spicy. It’s quite salty and has a strong “spice aroma” due to the fingerroot (which tastes like ginger) too, so if you enjoy savoury, spicy and herby dishes, give this one a go too.

Photo Via Bb_356journal, Infusioncafesthai

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

8. Test your spice tolerance with this super spicy pork dish! – Pad Prik Kaeng Moo (ผัดพริกแกงหมู)

If you’re up for some meaty, medium-level spicy food, then you’ll want to eat Stir-Fried Pork and Red Curry Paste. Although it’s really spicy (especially when they don’t skimp on the chilli), this dish is quite savoury with a slightly sweet taste due to the red curry paste and chilli.

Photo Via Yooyii_ii

Add to it the crunchiness of long beans, and you’ll find yourself wanting more – it’s super addictive (my friend can vouch for this; she eats it soooo often)!

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥

9. Love Thai red curry? Have it with duck meat! – Gaeng Phed Ped Yang (แกงเผ็ดเป็ดย่าง)

There’s no question that the two most famous Thai curries are green curry and red curry, so we just had to include the latter in the list.

What makes this dish even better than the usual red curries you see on the street is that this one is made with roasted duck. And with the curry sauce infused in the duck meat, you’ll be able to taste that creamy, spicy (with a hint of sweetness) flavour in every bite.

Photo Via Duangrithi, Pnakswasdi, Changthaiph

It’s quite spicy, so remember to eat it with rice for the best eating experience.

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥

10. Crunchy, spicy, healthy… Yum! – Pad Ped Naw Mai Moo Sab (ผัดเผ็ดหน่อไม้หมูสับ)

Feeling heavy because of eating too much meat or coconut milk? Try something lighter, like stir-fried spicy bamboo shoots with minced pork.

The star of this dish is the bamboo shoots, so you can expect lots of crunchy, yellow goodness. However, they do include bits of savoury meat to balance the crispiness of the dish. And contrary to its “veggie” looks, it doesn’t taste herby – it tastes more like Aglio Olio, a mix of chilli and garlic (albeit spicier).

Photo Via Salathaiburrard, Panofnunoo

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥

11. My favourite mussels dish – Hoi Malang Pu Pad Horapha (หอยแมลงภู่ผัดโหระพา)

I love seafood, so I’ve eaten loads of them in Thailand. But I must say, one of the Thai seafood dishes I truly enjoyed eating (other than Pad Hoi Lai and Crab Curry) is this one. It’s much spicier than the other two dishes yet so tasty.

With the savouriness from the oyster sauce, fish sauce and shrimp fat in oil cooked, the mussels here becomes so much more flavourful. The chilli and basil leaves give a nice fiery and aromatic kick to the dish too, so much that you’ll probably be reaching for seconds.

Photo Via Imsommie, Oui_anchalee, P_pcx

Spice level: 🔥🔥

12. Meet Thailand’s version of salad – Som Tam

Originating from Isan (the northeastern region of Thailand), Green Papaya Salad or Som Tam is the perfect balance of sour, salty, spicy, and sweet in one dish.

The dish itself is quite simple – with only green papaya, chillies, fish sauce, sugar and lime – but everything is pounded over and over to ensure the flavour is thoroughly infused in the ingredients.

The best part is you can add all kinds of “extra” ingredients in, depending on your preference – crabs, shrimp, peanuts, mango and more. And when eaten with sticky rice? Perfect…

Photo Via Jamesilesgo, Foodscape25, Bangkokkitchen, Ms

PS: You can adjust the spice level for this dish by telling them how many chillies you want. Or else, be prepared to eat the regular “Thai” spicy taste (which can be quite hot).  

Spice level: 🔥🔥

13. Spicy meat salad with a zing – Laab (ลาบ)

Do you love meat and can handle spicy and sour well? If you answered yes for both then you’ll definitely want to try this.

It’s full of meat and super spicy and sour when eaten, mainly attributed to the fact that they used minced meat (hence the lime juice and chilli coats the meat really easily and well). It tastes really fresh too, due to the use of fresh herbs and onions. A nice dish to have if you’re looking for more oomph to your meal.

Photo Via Iamloukchin, Partnerincarbs

Spice level: 🔥🔥

14. It’s spicy & full of clams! – Pad Hoi Lai Nam Prik Pao (ผัดหอยลายน้ำพริกเผา)

We’re talking about spicy food here, so obviously I won’t be forgetting my other favourite seafood dish we discussed before – Stir-fried Clams with Roasted Chili Paste.

My favourite part? The spiciness of the chilli & chilli paste combined with the chewy clams. Although it’s spicy, the juiciness of the clams offsets the spicy flavour of the sauce, making this a delight to eat. And with rice, I have no problem finishing two plates!! 😀

Photo Via Pakorn_popkorn

Spice level: 🔥

15. Dunno what to eat? Eat… – Pad Kra Pow Moo Sab (ผัดกะเพราหมูสับ)

I often joke around with my friends from abroad that they should always order Pad Kra Pow Moo Sab if they’re ever stuck deciding what to eat in Thailand. And honestly, that’s what Thais do too – for a good reason that is. This spicy minced pork with basil leaves dish is spicy yet savoury, simple yet super fulfilling to the tummy. And when you eat it with a bowl of rice, a half-done fried egg and a dash of fish sauce with chillies? Amazinggg…

Photo Via Jibjib_ns, Thaifoodshomemade, Yvonnehan206

Spice level: 🔥

Where to eat?

1. Come here for fresh seafood, spicy curry and icy-cold beer – Panya Seafood and Beer Hima

Not only does it serve amazing spicy curries, but also Thai seafood (and non-seafood) favourites like dishes as well as favourites like grilled fish (Pla Kapong Phao) and oyster omelette (Or Suan).

Photo Via Bieee_bieee, Ammiebehappy, Migrationology, Noi_pengjuntr

For beer fans, you must try their famous “Beer Hima” which literally means snow beer. It’s super icy that a block of ice cube even forms in the glass a while after the beer is poured into the glass – so frosty yet much appreciated after eating crazy spicy curries.

Panya Seafood and Beer Hima

Spice level: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Price: from 200 Baht / approx. USD $6.25
Address: เลขที่1 Prasert-Manukitch 25 Alley, Chorakhe Bua, Lat Phrao, Bangkok 10230, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 90 923 9888, +66 2 578 1994-5
Opening hours: Daily from 10:30am to 10pm
Order in from: LINE MAN


2. Local’s favourite restaurant for authentic Southern Thai delights – Khua Kling Pak Sod

Located right by the heart of Sukhumvit – Thong Lor – many frequent this popular family-owned restaurant for their authentic home-style Southern Thai dishes. Some of their best dishes include Gaeng Leung and Khua Kling – a must-try when you’re dining here.

They also serve other non-spicy dishes, such as Deep-fried prawns with tamarind sauce (Goong Makam) and Stir-fried pork with sweet soy sauce (Moo Wan), so bring your family and friends over and enjoy them together!

Photo Via Bic_smitasiri, Kalamare

Khua Kling Pak Sod 

Price: from 180 Baht / approx. USD $5.86
Address: 21, 32 Soi Sukhumvit 23, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 2 259 5189
Opening hours: Daily from 11am to 10:30pm
Order in from: LINE MAN


3. Speciality restaurant for the best Gaeng Pa in Bangkok – Gaeng Pa Sriyan

Just like its name, this dining establishment is famed for its Gaeng Pa (Jungle Curry), so if you want the best of the best, be sure to dine here. They offer this dish with various types of meat, such as quail and frog (they also serve “normal” meats like beef and shrimp too). Or if you’d like to try the “original” Gaeng Pa version, they have the boar meat version too.

Photo Via ℚ𝕧𝕒𝕟-ℚ𝕧𝕒𝕟-🎁, Jeannie, Ussn

They also serve other Thai food, including Yam (Thai spicy salad), fried shrimp patties and stir-fried dishes.

Gaeng Pa Sriyan (แกงป่า ศรีย่าน)

Price: from 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.12
Address: 954 2 Thanon Nakhon Chaisi Rd, Khwaeng Thanon Nakhon Chai Si, Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 2 241 4216
Opening hours: Mon-Sat from 10am to 9pm (Closed Saturdays)
Order in from: LINE MAN, GrabFood

4. Enjoy authentic Thai food in Bangkok’s biggest food court – foodwOrld @ Central World

Located on the 7th floor beside Gourmet Market, foodwOrld offers more than 600 Thai and international dishes for all visitors. Reopened in late 2018, foodwOrld now has two floors of seating with 704 seats in total. You can also get local desserts like coconut ice-cream and roti here if you’re looking to end your meal with something sweet.

Photo Via Grace Oktaviani
Photo Via Grace Oktaviani
Photo Via Super Nookie, Sawanya Rangsimaporn, Nat T, Dai Wangsatja

PS: Seats can be full during meal time so it may be hard to get a table. Come before or after peak hours for a higher chance of getting seats.

foodwOrld @ Central World

Price: from 25 baht / approx. USD $0.80
Address: 7th floor, Central Court zone, 999/9 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 2 640 7000 ext. 1517
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 10pm


5. Get everything you love about the Isan flavour – Larb Bpet Yashoton, Som Tam Silom Soi 9 (ส้มตำ สีลม ซอย 9)

This food stall, best known by “Som Tam Su Saan”, offers delicious and authentic Isan food – particularly Som Tam, which is very popular among office workers and locals in the area.

The Som Tam menu includes Som Tam Thai, Som Tam pickled crab, Som Tam with salty egg, Som Tam with fermented fish, Grilled Pork Som Tam and many more.

Photo Via Antique_studio__, Farangpilot

Besides Som Tam, they also offer other Isan food such as Larb (Spicy Meat Salad), Spicy Soup, Grilled meat, or even a Grilled Whole Fish.

Photo Via Rose_bbv_, Snichazz_

Larb Bpet Yashothon – Som Tam Silom Soi 9 (aka Som Tam Su Sann)

Price: 40-250 Baht/ USD$ 1.50-9
Address: 525, Soi Silom 9, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Daily from 4pm to 10pm (The busiest time is around 6pm.)
Contact: +66 81 754 9867
Order in from: LINE MAN

Found any you’re interested in? Put them down in your #postcovid19checklist so you know what Thai spicy food to try next time you’re in Bangkok.

And when you do try it, remember to take loads of pictures and share them with us (as well as your review) at #TripCanvas or at the comment box below. We’ll be waiting! <3

Until then… Happy eating! 😀

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Travel Writer

A travel enthusiast currently based in Thailand, with interests in travelling, entertainment, marketing, and Asia.