Spices In Thai Food: Hot, Hot & Hot

thai spices

Who does not love to go and eat in a restaurant once in a while? We often see some people always prefer to eat food of another country than their own. Different people have different tastes and prefer different types of cuisines. Today when you go to a restaurant, you have a variety of cuisines to choose from such as Chinese, Italian, Indian, Mexican, and Thailand and so on. Each country has its own unique style of cooking and unique flavors that will capture your taste.

Talking of flavors, one food that is gaining popularity internationally is Thai food and the main reason for this is the flavors that are added in their dishes. We all know that we have four types of taste buds – salty, sweet, sour and bitter and what makes Thai food so universally appealing are the Thai spices that create a balanced fusion of all these tastes making each dish delicious.  What gives Thai food the distinct tastes and flavors are the spices and herbs that are added in it.

Some Popular Thai Herbs and Spices

Lemon grass

Lemon grass which originated in South East Asia, is an herb belonging to the grass family and is an important ingredient in Thai foods, especially the world famous ‘Tom Yam’. The local name is ‘Takraai’ and it is used to give citrus flavor in soups, salads and stir fried dishes.


Galangal belonging to the ginger family is a native of Asia and has a spicy, citrusy flavor. It is usually used to make spicy paste for seasoning meat dishes and seafood.


Chilies are used in Thai foods to give the spicy kick. The chili plant is a native of Central America and the five main chilies are generally used in Thai food, from the hottest to the slightly less spicy chili.

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir Lime is a bumpy lime fruit and a native of Southeast countries. The rind of the fruit is used to make Thai paste to give an astringent flavor and the leaves are used to give fragrance. There are many types of Thai curries with Kaffir lime leaves.

Thai sweet basil

Thai sweet basil, a native to Southeast Asia, is a plant that is used to give anise flavor to Thai dishes and is added to soups and curries before serving.


Spearmint, native to Europe and Southwest Asia, also called Saranae, is used as a flavoring in many Thai salads and vegetable dishes.


This is a sweet smelling leaf and a native to Southeast Asia. It is used for flavoring desserts and sweet snacks.


Garlic, a native to Central Asia, is used in all forms to add taste and flavor in most of the Thai dishes.


Sesame, probably a native to Africa, is used in various forms to add for flavoring Thai sweets, desserts, bread and garnishing Thai dishes.

With the perfect blend of the appropriate spices and herbs, Thailand comes out with the most exciting and delicious dishes that attract millions of food lovers in every part of the world.