The 5 Most Popular Thai Street Foods

Thai Street Food – What to Try

The dynamic and diversified street food scene in Thailand is what attracts many visitors. It’s a well-known fact that the Thai street food scene is nothing short of a culinary adventure. Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the alluring world of Thai street cuisine by the mouthwatering aroma of sizzling delicacies that waft through the busy streets.

Thai street food offers a wide variety of alternatives to suit every appetite, from flavorful curries to scrumptious snacks. If you are going to visit Thailand, these are the top 5 Thai street foods that you must try.

1. Pad Thai (ผัดไทย)

Pad Thai Street Food

Without indulging in a plate of Pad Thai, a street food journey in Thailand is definitely incomplete.

This famous Thai meal combines rice noodles, tender prawns or chicken, eggs and a variety of veggies in a delicious sauce made from tamarind, fish sauce and spices.

Pad Thai is a dish that encapsulates the essence of Thai cuisine and is topped with crushed peanuts, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of lime.

2. Som Tum (ส้มตำ)

Som Tum at Street Food Market

Som Tum, also known as green papaya salad, is a hot and zesty dish that perfectly captures Thais’ love of strong, colourful flavours. Beware though, because this can be one of the spiciest dishes you may ever try!

Tomatoes, garlic, chilli peppers, peanuts and dried prawns are mixed with chopped green papaya to create a mouthwatering array of flavours and textures.

Lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar are then used to season the dish, creating a spicy, acidic, and pleasantly crisp salad that is both energising and addicting.

3. Moo Ping (หมูปิง)

Moo Ping

In Thailand, grilled pork skewers, also known as moo ping, are a popular street food among the locals.

Pork chunks that have been marinated are grilled to perfection while being strung onto bamboo sticks, giving them a delectable smokiness. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, palm sugar, garlic, coriander root, and other ingredients are frequently used in the marinade to produce a flavorful fusion of sweet and savoury overtones.

For lovers of beef, Moo Ping, which is served with sticky rice and a side of tangy dipping sauce, is a must-try.

4. Gai Yang (ไก่ยัง)

Gai Yang Cooking in the Street

Gai Yang, or grilled chicken prepared in the Thai style, is a delectable street snack that personifies simplicity at its best.

Before being grilled to juicy perfection, chicken pieces are marinated in a mixture of garlic, coriander root, white pepper, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

A delicious dish with a tasty, slightly scorched skin and tender interior is the ultimate result. Gai Yang is a popular option among both locals and tourists since it is frequently served with a side of sticky rice, shredded cabbage, and a tangy dipping sauce.

5. Khao Niew Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง)

Sticky Rice and Mango at Food Market

Thai food may not be known for its deserts but, Khao Niew Mamuang, or mango sticky rice, will definitely satisfy your sweet craving and make your tour of Thai street cuisine complete.

In this delectable delicacy, rich and creamy coconut sauce is poured over glutinous rice and topped with exquisite pieces of ripe mango.

The tropical sweetness of the mango and the soothing creaminess of rice flavoured with coconut combine to create a decadent dessert that perfectly encapsulates Thai cuisine.

Thai Steet Food in Bangkok: Food Paradise

Thai Street Food in Bangkok
1. Yaowarat (Chinatown):
  • Navigate the narrow streets and indulge in street food.
  • Evening visits provide the most extensive options.
2. Nang Loeng Market:
  • A traditional market with picturesque surroundings.
  • Try dishes like “khao gaeng” (Thai rice and curry) and “Nam Tok Moo” (roast pork salad).
3. Victory Monument (Anusawari Chai Samoraphum):
  • Famous for its boat noodles and rice flour flat noodles.
  • Try Kuay Jab Nam Sai (rolled rice noodles).
4. Charoen Krung:
  • Stroll down Charoen Krung Road for aromatic dishes.
  • Vegetarian option: Tien Sin.
  • Seafood Special: Khao Tom Pla Thao Thuy.
5. Ratchawat Market & Sriyan Market (Dusit district):
  • Traditional markets with a variety of food options.
  • Ratchawat offers noodles bars and roast duck stalls.
  • Sriyan Market features jungle curry and more.
6. Rangnam:
  • Offers dishes from the Isan Province and seafood stands.
  • Restaurants: Kuang Seafood, Rod Ded Isan Restaurant.
7. Tha Pra Chan & Banglamphu:
  • Old districts near the Chao Phraya River.
  • Visit Thipsamai (The best Pad Thai in Bangkok) and Khao Kluk Kapi (Fried rice with shrimp paste).
8. Petchaburi Soi 5:
  • Located between the Siam shopping centre and Victory Monument.
  • Offers take-out food options with places to sit.
  • Recommended: Pe Aor for “tom yum goong” and Gai Pad Pongali (Chicken Curry with eggs).
9. Sam Yan Market:
  • Located in the heart of Bangkok, near Chulalongkorn University.
  • Notable spot: Steak Today for meat lovers.
  • Visit in the morning for the best experience.
10. Ramkhamhaeng (Opposite side from the university):
  • Popular among students, offering various Thai dishes.

Tips and Advice for Eating Thai Street Food

An Assortment of Thai Street Food

Exploring Thailand’s vibrant street food scene is an adventure for the senses. The aromatic herbs and spices, the sizzle of the woks, and the colourful array of dishes on display make for an unforgettable culinary experience. To help you make the most of your Thai street food adventure, here are some essential tips and advice:

Start with Popular Stalls

When in doubt, follow the locals. If you see a street food vendor with a line of Thai people, it’s a good indicator of quality and taste. Locals know where to find the best street food gems.

Observe Hygiene

Cleanliness: Choose vendors who maintain a clean and organized workspace. Look for clean utensils, fresh ingredients, and a tidy setup.

Glove Usage: Vendors who wear gloves or use utensils when handling food demonstrate a commitment to hygiene and reduce the risk of contamination.

Personal Hygiene: Pay attention to the vendor’s personal hygiene. Clean attire, regular handwashing, and hair restraint are important factors.

Go for High Turnover

Select stalls where food is prepared and served quickly. High turnover indicates that ingredients are fresher, reducing the risk of foodborne illness.

Customize Your Spice Level

Thai cuisine can be fiery, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to ask for your dish to be prepared with less chilli if you’re sensitive to spice. Conversely, if you love heat, request extra chilli.

Try Everything

Be adventurous and try dishes you’ve never heard of before. Thai street food offers a vast range of flavours and textures, from spicy curries to sweet desserts. Expand your palate and discover new favourites.

Eat What’s in Season

Thai street food often features ingredients that are in season. This not only ensures freshness but also supports local agriculture. Ask vendors about seasonal specialities.

Stay Hydrated

Thailand’s tropical climate can be scorching, so stay hydrated. Carry a reusable water bottle and drink bottled water to quench your thirst. Avoid tap water and ice in drinks.

Street Food Timing

Street food vendors are typically busiest during meal times, so plan your street food adventures accordingly. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are prime times to savour the best offerings.

Be Mindful of Allergies

If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, communicate them clearly to vendors. While some dishes can be customized, it’s essential to ensure your safety.

Bring Small Bills

Carry small denominations of Thai Baht (THB) as many street food vendors may not have change for large bills. This will make your transactions smoother.

Don’t Forget Desserts

Thai street food isn’t just about savoury dishes; it offers delightful desserts too. Try classics like mango sticky rice (khao niew mamuang) and coconut pancakes (khanom krok).

Use Utensils Correctly

Thais typically eat with a fork and spoon. The fork is used to push food onto the spoon, which is used for eating. Chopsticks are mainly reserved for noodle dishes.

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