Menu Navigator: Best (and Worst) Choices at Thai Restaurants

We'll show you the healthiest choices (and splurge-only dishes) to help you order wisely at Thai restaurants.

Navigating a Thai Menu Illustration

Illustration: Serge Bloch

The glories of Thai food are based on the attraction of opposites: fiery curry paste and cooling coconut milk; sweet noodles with the shock of salty crunch; or bright, sharp lime paired with deep, musky fish sauce. But those big, bold flavors often come from copious amounts of saturated fat and sodium.

Rich and creamy coconut milk is a key ingredient in many Thai soups, curries, and desserts. But since a mere half cup contains over 200 calories and more than a day's worth of saturated fat, it's easy to see why a coconut-based soup deserves a red-light designation.

Fish sauce, shrimp paste, and curry paste also figure prominently in Thai cuisine—and all are high in sodium, making it nearly impossible to keep your sodium consumption moderate. If Thai food is in your plans, watch your sodium intake for the rest of the day.

In order to help you navigate your way to a healthy Thai meal, we analyzed the nutrition of commonly ordered dishes. Those labeled "Splurge Only" aren't untouchable (no food is) but can be a really big splurge. Nutrition numbers are estimates: Results vary widely among restaurants.

Splurge Only:

Ask Your Server:

Healthy Choices:

Smart (and Not-So-Smart) Starters:

Good Choices

Adjust Your Order

The Colors of Curry:

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