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8 Thai Dishes Fit for a Songkran Celebration

Songkran, Thailand’s traditional New Year festival, is a time of joyous celebration, water fights, and feasting. Celebrated in April, Songkran marks the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season, symbolizing renewal and cleansing. One of the most cherished aspects of Songkran is the delicious array of traditional Thai dishes enjoyed during the festivities. These dishes not only tantalize the taste buds but also hold cultural and symbolic significance. Whether you’re partaking in a local Songkran celebration or hosting your own, these eight Thai dishes are sure to make your festivities unforgettable.

1. Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)

Som Tum, a vibrant and refreshing green papaya salad, is a staple of Thai cuisine and a must-have during Songkran. Made from shredded unripe papaya, tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and chili, this dish is known for its harmonious balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. The crunch of the fresh vegetables paired with the tangy lime juice and the heat from the chilies makes it an irresistible appetizer. Som Tum is often served with sticky rice and grilled chicken, making it a perfect light dish to cool down during the hot Songkran days.

2. Pad Thai (Stir-Fried Noodles)

Pad Thai is perhaps the most famous Thai dish internationally and a favorite during Songkran celebrations. This stir-fried noodle dish is a delightful mix of rice noodles, tofu or shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts, all flavored with tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar. The result is a savory-sweet dish that’s both satisfying and delicious. Pad Thai’s versatility and quick preparation time make it a popular choice for large gatherings, allowing everyone to enjoy its rich and complex flavors.

3. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)

Tom Yum Goong, a hot and sour shrimp soup, is another iconic Thai dish that embodies the essence of Thai flavors. With its aromatic broth made from lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and fresh chilies, this soup is both invigorating and comforting. The addition of plump shrimp and mushrooms enhances the soup’s texture and flavor. Tom Yum Goong is often enjoyed as a starter during Songkran, setting the stage for the culinary delights that follow. Its bold and zesty flavors are perfect for awakening the senses during the festive season.

4. Gaeng Keow Wan (Green Curry)

Green Curry, or Gaeng Keow Wan, is a beloved Thai curry known for its creamy and aromatic green curry paste made from green chilies, garlic, lemongrass, and fresh coriander. Typically cooked with chicken, eggplant, bamboo shoots, and sweet basil, this curry is simmered in coconut milk, creating a rich and luscious sauce. Green Curry’s fragrant and mildly spicy profile makes it a comforting dish that pairs perfectly with jasmine rice. Its vibrant green color and delightful aroma make it a standout dish on any Songkran feast table.

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5. Moo Satay (Grilled Pork Skewers)

Moo Satay, or grilled pork skewers, is a popular street food that’s perfect for outdoor Songkran celebrations. Marinated in a mixture of turmeric, coriander, cumin, and coconut milk, the pork is grilled to perfection, resulting in juicy and flavorful skewers. Moo Satay is typically served with a tangy peanut sauce and a side of cucumber salad, providing a delightful contrast of textures and flavors. These skewers are easy to prepare and serve, making them an ideal dish for festive gatherings where people can mingle and enjoy delicious bites.

6. Khao Soi (Northern Thai Curry Noodles)

Khao Soi is a rich and aromatic noodle soup hailing from Northern Thailand. This dish features egg noodles served in a creamy coconut curry broth, topped with crispy noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, and lime. Often made with chicken or beef, Khao Soi’s unique combination of textures and flavors makes it a standout dish. The blend of spices in the curry paste, including turmeric and curry powder, gives the broth its distinctive golden color and deep flavor. Khao Soi is a hearty and comforting dish, perfect for celebrating Songkran with a touch of Northern Thai culinary tradition.

7. Pla Rad Prik (Fried Fish with Chili Sauce)

Pla Rad Prik, a dish of crispy fried fish topped with a tangy and spicy chili sauce, is a favorite during festive occasions like Songkran. The fish, often tilapia or snapper, is fried until golden and crispy, then drizzled with a sauce made from garlic, chili, tamarind, and palm sugar. This combination creates a symphony of flavors that are both sweet and spicy. Pla Rad Prik is typically garnished with fresh herbs and served with steamed jasmine rice, making it a delectable centerpiece for any Songkran meal.

8. Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niew Mamuang)

No Thai celebration is complete without a dessert, and Mango Sticky Rice is the perfect sweet ending to a Songkran feast. This beloved dessert features glutinous rice cooked in sweetened coconut milk, served with ripe mango slices and drizzled with more coconut milk. The sticky rice’s creamy texture and the juicy, sweet mango create a delightful contrast that is both refreshing and satisfying. Mango Sticky Rice is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a visually appealing dish with its vibrant colors, making it a fitting conclusion to a festive meal.


Songkran is a time for joy, renewal, and, of course, indulging in delicious Thai cuisine. The eight dishes highlighted here – Som Tum, Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, Gaeng Keow Wan, Moo Satay, Khao Soi, Pla Rad Prik, and Mango Sticky Rice – each offer a unique taste of Thailand’s rich culinary heritage. Whether you’re celebrating in Thailand or bringing the festive spirit to your home, these dishes will add flavor and authenticity to your Songkran festivities. Embrace the joyous occasion with these traditional Thai dishes, and enjoy a memorable and delicious Songkran celebration.

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