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Thai Vocabulary

Learn Thai Herbs | Galangal

Thai Herbs – Galangal

Galangal Thai Herb

Galangal  /kà:  /ข่า 

Galangal is a member of the ginger family that looks similar to fresh root ginger, but with a more translucent skin and a pinkish tinge. It has a wonderful sharp, lemony taste and it is prepared in a similar fashion to root ginger. Best used fresh, it is also available dried or in powder form

So how is Galangal used? Just had your first taste of Tŏm Kà: Gài and your senses are still reeling from the exotic citrus flavor of something that clearly was not a fruit?  Did you bite into something so exciting and pleasant that you thought about forgetting the main course and simply ordering more soup?  The “kà:” in that soup is a fantastic member of the ginger family called galanga or galangal.

In medicine the Thai herb is seen as a hot taste herb that enlivens digestion and so can be used for indigestion, wind and stomach ache. Also some use this as an insect repellent and for illness creating breathing disorders such as colds, flu, sore throat and diarrhea, kidney issues amongst the many other illnesses it is said to improve.

Galangal has antisceptic properties and can be used to help inflammation and wounds, sprains and cuts including infections of the skin. Often this is given to new mothers to stimulated breast milk and help improved birth recovery.

We are certain you will come across Galangal when in Thailand so to help you below is some Thai vocabulary to assist your conversations about food and medine.


Thai herbs               smŭn-prai-tai       สมุนไพรไทย

Galangal                   kà:                              ข่า

Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken      Tŏm-Kà:-Gài          ต้มข่าไก่

Taste                        chim                            ชิม

Soup                          ná:m-gae:ng           น้ำแกง

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