Thai Breakfast: 13 of the Most Popular Dishes

Of the thousands of Thai dishes, there are really only a few that are really known as Thai breakfast dishes.

The distinction of what is eaten for a specific meal is much less set in stone than it is in the western world. $1 Menu Thai dishes that you may think of as lunch or dinner are almost always available for breakfast in Thailand too!

Here are 13 Thai breakfast dishes to try:

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Joke โจ๊ก

1. Joke โจ๊ก

If there’s one food that immediately pops into my mind as a Thai breakfast, it’s the thick rice porridge known as Joke.

Joke is made of short grain rice that is boiled until it turns into a thick oatmeal like porridge. It is served piping hot with an egg cracked in the middle, some pieces of pork for flavoring, and garnished with slices of ginger and parsley.

Joke is the equivalent of a Western style bowl of cornflakes and milk.

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Khao Tom ข้าวต้ม

2. Khao Tom ข้าวต้ม

Khao Tom is the cousin of joke, but instead of short grain rice, normal long grain Thai rice is used. The grains are boiled in lots of water until they are soft and floating in a ricey soup.

Khao Tom includes similar Thai breakfast toppings as Joke, pork, eggs, ginger and parsley (note that the picture above is the seafood version).

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Khao Neow Moo Ping ข้าวเหนียวหมูปิ้ง

3. Khao Neow Moo Ping ข้าวเหนียวหมูปิ้ง

If Joke is the cereal of Thai breakfast, Khao Neow Moo Ping is the calorie filled egg and sausage biscuit.

A few sticks of fatty grilled pork with a little baggie of sticky rice is easy to eat on the go and is a great way to start off a fast paced day in Thailand!

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Patongo ปาท่องโก๋

4. Patongo ปาท่องโก๋

Patongo is the Thai version of the donut, a blob of lightly sweet dough deep fried until it is fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Pantongo is made from a much lighter dough than a western donut and instead of an outside glaze, Thai donuts are eaten just plain or dipped into sweet custard like sauce.

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Thai Breakfast – Nam Tao Hoo นำ้เต้าหู้

5. Nam Tao Hoo นำ้เต้าหู้

Thailand’s version of fresh soy bean tofu milk is served like a soup that is lightly sweetened with sugar and with a choice of random jelly like additions.

It’s makes a light Thai breakfast, but I can guarantee that nam tao hoo is very soothing!

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Dim Sum Dumplings ติ๋มซำ

6. Dim Sum Dumplings ติ๋มซำ

Adapted into the Thai culinary scene from the Chinese, various forms of dim sum are popular to eat for breakfast. Normally vendors just sell a few items like steamed buns (salapao) and greasy pork dumplings (shumai).

It’s not exactly the Hong Kong dim sum dining experience, but if pork is your thing, you might want a little bit of Thai dim sum!

If you happen to be in Krabi, be sure to check out this place for breakfast.

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Salapao ซาลาเปา

7. Salapao ซาลาเปา

When I was in China I was devouring steamed bread filled with a choice of ingredients by the bag full.

In Thailand, the salapao’s are smaller and often the choice of filling is limited to red barbecued pork, minced pork, sweet red beans or cream. When they are freshly steamed, these steamed little buns can be fantastic!

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Khao Neow Dam Sang Kaya ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา

8. Khao Neow Dam Sang Kaya ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา

Sweet sticky rice topped with a slice of custard and wrapped in a dainty banana leaf is another popular thing to eat for breakfast in Thailand. Though there are a number of different variations, my all-time favorite is khao neow dam sangkaya, black sticky rice with custard!

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Thai Breakfast – Waffles

9. Khanom Pang ขนมปัง (Waffles / Bread)

Believe it or not, a few slices of white bread spread with butter is a very common form of Thai breakfast. Also there are lots and lots of little snacks like sweet waffles and little baked goods that are popular to eat as breakfast hold-overs.

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Kai Luak ไข่ลวก

10. Kai Luak ไข่ลวก

An omelet, maybe, a fried egg, possibly.. but if you’re looking for the real Thai eggs for breakfast you’ll be taking a shot glass of Kai Luak (ไข่ลวก)!

Kai Luak is basically a soft boiled egg, and most Thais choose to enjoy it along with a fresh cup of coffee to make a truly protein rich muscle building breakfast. Though both males and females enjoy it, it gives a little bit of man-power (so they say)!

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Mama มาม่า

11. Mama มาม่า

Thailand’s most famous instand noodles are popular at ALL times of the day and night… and very popular for breakfast. Eat them at home, or just pop into the nearest 7/11 for a quick paper bowl of noodles swimming in an ever so addictive broth of MSG!

Get the tom yum goong flavor!

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Ponlamai ผลไม้

12. Ponlamai ผลไม้

Just like all of southeast Asia, Thailand is blessed with an abundance of high quality tropical fruit.

Fruit carts around the country slice up ripe fruit right before your eyes, bag it, and you’ve instantly got one of the healthiest Thai breakfast foods.

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Khao Lard Gaeng ข้าวราดแกง

13. Khao Lard Gaeng ข้าวราดแกง

Forget about the puny little snacks and the mild morning dining choices, Khao Lard Gaeng is the hungry man’s option – the Grand Slam of all breakfast’s!

Load a plate with rice, scoop on some oily coconut milk curries and maybe some deep fried pork, and you’ve got a heart stopping breakfast that will give you that lasting energy you need!

Oh, one last thing you’ll need to enjoy for a real Thai breakfast: Nescafe 3 in 1.

You know those instant little baggies of fake coffee mixed with sugar and heavy milk powder? That’s right. They are the enemy of real coffee drinkers, but it’s the most popular form of coffee in Thailand!

Remember, the best thing about Thailand is that if you just aren’t feeling like eating any of the Thai breakfast options, lunch and dinner foods are always available for breakfast too!

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Comments

  1. Laura says

    I ate a lot of joke when I wasn’t feeling so well. It’s easy on the stomach. I have a bunch of 3 in 1 milk tea packets! It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s better than nothing.

  2. Lucy says

    I’ve recently become a great lover of Thai food, having discovered the restaurant Pi-Tom´s in Toronto. It takes exactly two minutes to walk from my office to the restaurant. The tempting aroma of its food makes me enter the restaurant every single day. A few days ago, my Thai friend invited me and my husband for dinner. He served Patongo with some sort of custard. He dared us to guess what the name of the dish was. I looked at him and cried “Patongo!” Can you imagine his surprise? My husband and I could not do anything but laugh.

  3. James R says

    Mark, that is a great list, but you missed my favourite Thai breakfast…mango & sticky rice! I had this for breakfast everyday on my last trip to Ching Mai.

  4. luke says

    Khao Tom is one of my favourite breakfasts, after a heavy night drinking beer! I seem to eat it every morning in Phuket :)

  5. says

    Hi Mark,
    I’m in Bangkok now and I’m loving your guide to the city! Do you know which district/streets are best for finding these breakfast foods? I easily found the Patongo and Khao Neow Moo Ping, but I would love to try the Joke or Khao Neow Dam Sang Kaya. Thanks for your help!

    • says

      Hey Michelle, thank you so much, and great to hear you’re in Bangkok now. Depending on what area of town you’re in, you might try Silom Soi 20 at about 7 or 8 am. Enjoy!

  6. Raj Dhillon says

    Could you do a fav by spelling out what we should buy & carry out to make Thai food a part of our life? Maybe some suggestions to learn about Thai food at any homely cookery class?

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