The lesser-known yet exquisite part of Thai cuisine 

Royal Thai Cuisine

The hidden gem of Thai cuisine that most taste buds may be familiar with but unaware of its distinction, The Royal Thai Cuisine. The cuisine is said to be the cuisine for eyes, nose and mouth.

Thailand is unique, exotic and full of surprises; amongst many wonders is a lesser-known fact that this country is of the last ones in the world with a connection to the royal family of their state and that connection is none other than the food. The dishes prepared for the royal family were so distinctive with their taste, aroma, look and feel, that they were considered a delicacy and were coined as Royal Thai Cuisine. This cuisine is considered to be a cultural symbol showcasing the unique aesthetics of Thailand.

However, with time, the Royal Thai cuisine went through quite a change but still managed to hold the position of eminence. For the most part, the cuisine is quite similar to the center Thai food but has its set of riles and the high standard that sets it apart. The indigents used in this cuisine are best and fresh, hence are expensive. All the dishes need to have bones, pits and stones removed and extra caution with the balancing of the flavors whether they have a blend of contrasting flavors or are made in isolation. The close look and strict rules make this cuisine different from its counterparts and popular amongst the royalty and the higher class. Though Royal Thai cuisine has become accessible over time, it is still quite pricy for apparent reason.

Let’s look at why this cuisine is a royal success and why it holds a great place in the books of the global chef’s connoisseurs, food extraordinaire, and food lovers.

The Emergence of Royal Thai Cuisine

Considered as the apex of Thai cuisine, the delicacy emerged during the ancient Auyutthaya court and served as a powerful diplomacy force by surviving many political upheavals.

The Ayutthaya’s had frequent foreign guests; hence they maintained a massive kitchen and had numerous chefs from different countries to keep the visitor’s palate salivating. These chefs crafted dishes with the help of Thai spices and specialties that became the highlight of every gathering. Irrespective of their origin, every foreigner looked forward to dining with the royals and have their exclusive exquisite dishes that weren’t accessible anywhere else. The most prominent and popular dishes of that time were Sangkaya Faak tong (steamed pumpkin stuffed with coconut custard), Mieeng Kuum (betel leaf appetizer), Tong Yod (egg yolk-based sweets), and Gaeng Raanjuan (beef soup with fermented shrimp paste).

The news of the divine taste of Royal Thai cuisine spread nationwide and in foreign lands, but much to everyone’s dismay, the recipes of all the dishes were kept secret. However, they were written down for record and stored in the royal library. But in 1767, the Burmese invaded the state and burned down all the temples, fortresses, libraries and archive rooms, and with that, the recipes were lost too. During the two-decade-long battles between the kingdoms, records were lost, chefs were killed, some fled, and the Cuisine was withheld for years to come.

Fortunately enough, after things settled down and the new dynasty got constructed, one of the leading agendas was the revival of Royal Thai cuisines. It took time to decipher the recipes through the remains, fled chef and constant trial and error, but the new state was able to revive the delicacy that is known and loved today.

Over time the recipes became accessible to people, but due to their complex nature and expensive ingredients, not everyone was able to recreate them. Hence the cuisine maintained its position of being a royal cuisine.


Royal Thai Cuisine


Characteristics of Royal Thai Cuisine

The cuisine is known to have a wide variety of unique and distinctive dishes based on their taste, texture, color, aroma, and cooking technique. In fact, presenting a board of fruits is a dish in Royal Thai cuisine but what makes it different is how they are carved; the intricacy and the plating require a high level of art, hence making a simple looking platter like this luxurious and pricy.

To understand how different Royal Thai Cuisine is different from typical Thai cuisine, here are some key characteristics that set the two cuisines apart.


Royal Thai Cuisine is known to be perfectly balanced, with sweet and salty being its primary flavors. Having a mild spice level, the dishes have a combination of primarily rare and exotic ingredients. They also heavily utilize fresh ingredients to elevate the taste extensively and prevent medical issues such as bowel problems. The cuisine also incorporates edible flowers and leaves, which not only add flavor to the dish but color, aroma and texture. The most commonly used leave is the pink lotus leave, used in many broths and desserts.


Royals are particular about the fragrances they surround themselves with, and the aroma of food is no exception. The Royal Thai cuisine, despite having numerous exotic fragrant ingredients, is subjected to regressive treatment to subside their scent to avoid overpowering the dish with strong aromas. The chefs make sure that the smell is mild that every sense could have equal opportunity to enjoy the dish without one overtaking the other. However, they were some exceptions to this rule, but they were rare.


To avoid any inconvenience to the royals, the dishes had no hard texture, whether it may be the crust or the bones, to avowing chocking, pricking or spiting them during the meal hence the Royal Thai Cuisine became well known for its smooth texture. For big blocks of meat, the bones were removed, and for little bones like in duck, they were fried in a way that the crust doesn’t get hard, and the bones get crispy enough to be chewed easily. On the other hand, the meat is cooked perfectly that it is tender enough to melt in the mouth. As for broths, they have a silky smooth texture which makes every sip divine.


Lavish, extravagant presentation is a characteristic of every royal niche; from clothes to events to food, every element is presented impeccably. The Royal Thai cuisine is offered in various ways but is constant and consistent with their intricate designs and placements over the wide variety of their dishes. 

Colors are also a key component of the presentation; the dishes are arranged to create a balance within the menu being served. The most common prominent colors seen in this Thai cuisine are red, yellow, white, green, black, and brown. The use of these colors was to identify the spice level and correspond to specific organs. In fact, it is also said that some of the colors signified health and wellbeing. The color red was associated with the hearts, white with bile, yellow with bladder and so on and so forth. For example, red was associated with the heart, yellow with the bladder, white with bile, etc.

The part of the presentation was also the way and where the cuisine was served; obviously, it doesn’t take place generally anymore, but at that time and in some traditional areas and restaurants, the practice of serving Royal Thai cuisine on small tables is still been followed. It was considered a more humble and graceful etiquette to sit on the floor to eat.


It’s no surprise the number of efforts that goes into minimizing the scents of strong fragrant ingredients, elevating the taste while keeping a balance and decorating the dish to appeal to the eye; hence this Thai cuisine takes more time than usual to create because perfection is what this cuisine strives for.


Thai Royal Pineapple Salad


The popular dishes from the Royal Thai cuisine

There is a wide range of dishes from savory to sweet, but the ones people love to indulge in is as follows:


One of the most highly regard dishes that is served worldwide and is taught in many Thai culinary schools, Chor Muang pays homage to two Thai regions, drawing its influence on the Chinese-Phuketian and Penantian cuisine. From the aroma to taste to look, this dish is a prime example of exclusivity. The dish has a striking violent color dumpling; it’s a Rama II-era styled steamed dumpling stuffed with chicken or pork mashed with peanut. This savory dumpling dish is a light appetizer shaped into a butterfly-shaped flower, and the dough is of violent color (the color extracted directly from edible flowers).


It’s a condiment made exclusively to serve with raw vegetables as a snack or appetizer to enhance their flavor and make them easy to chew. It is essentially a chili paste relish that is mixed with rare exotic spices and herbs. The vegetables that it is served are always fresh, peeled, seeded and carved into attractive shapes.


This deep-fried chicken dish is a fan favorite and delicacy of every Thai restaurant servicing the royal Thai cuisine. The chicken is marinated for hours to makes the ingredients seep into the chicken properly and enhance its natural flavors. After that, the chicken is wrapped in pandan leaves and deep-fried. The chicken is not overly fried and has all its juices; it is easy to chew, is tender and has a beautiful golden coating. The dish is served with an aromatic sesame dipping sauce, a perfect complement to the golden crispy chicken.


Royal Thai Desserts Chor Muang


The best Royal Thai cuisine Restaurants in Bangkok

You will find numerous restaurants serving this variant of Thai cuisine but if you want to have the authentic royal Thai cuisine taste, aroma and just right down experience head over to of the most popular and idealized restaurants in Bangkok known for serving the best Royal Thai cuisine.


Blue Elephant is a global franchise that serves Thai cuisine. With around six locations around the world, the consistency and quality of the food are phenomenal and on par with one another. The restaurant is one the pioneer in cultivating the royal Thai cuisine and popularizing it all over the world, through their remarkable dishes and cooking school, where the recipes of the cuisines are not only shared but the etiquettes as well as the strong values that come with it. Chef Nooror Somany-Steppe, founder and head chef of the restaurant, serves all the traditional Royal Thai cuisine dishes across all locations, with steamed floral-shaped butterfly dumplings being the popular dish through and through.


The restaurant is named after the High Princess Sulabh-Valleng Visuddhi and serves the dishes that were her favorite or the ones she would take pride in making. A lesser-known fact that the princess served as the head cook of the Sukhothai Palace kitchen during King Rama the Seventh reign for her half-sister Queen Rambhai Barni. Serving the authentic royal Thai cuisine and taking direct inspiration from the royalty herself, Thanying is very popular and well regarded. Locals and tourist especially head over to the restaurant to have Khao Tang Na Tang, a delicacy of the cuisine, crispy rice crackers paired with minced pork and peanuts and coconut milk, Gai Hor Bai Toey; pandan leaves wrapped deep-fried chicken, and the very scrumptious Poo Jaaa, steamed crab meat and minced pork stuffed in the crab shell.


Blue Elephant Restaurant Thailand


This Thai cuisine is remarkable, to say the least; being still intact, loved and indulged in, the cuisine has survived the challenges of time, change in taste palette, etiquettes and almost extinction of its recipes. But despite all, the cuisine passed all the phases and made its way to the modern world with the same grace and gravity. Royal Thai cuisine is loved, and if you want to enjoy this Thai cuisine delicacy check Blue Elephant and Thanying, these restaurants serve authentic divine Royal Thai cuisines that will salivate your palate, tempt your sense of smell and entice your eye.