We’ve only been living here in Thailand for about a month or so. Now if there is anything I need to get straight about living here, it is the fact that there is SO MUCH good street food. Left and right we are spoilt with cheap but delicious street food choices. The food here is so good that cooking at home isn’t even worth it when you can get a $1 meal almost anywhere on the street. If you’re planning on making a trip out here to Thailand, here’s a list of 10 street food which you shouldn’t miss!
- 1 Thai coconut Ice Cream
- 2 Grilled Skewers
- 3 Fried Bugs
- 4 Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Neeo Mamuang)
- 5 Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
- 6 Thai-Style Omelet (Khai Jiao)
- 7 Fried Chicken
- 8 Pad Thai
- 9 Banana Pancakes/Crepes
- 10 Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla)
Thai coconut Ice Cream
The Thai people REAAAALLLLY like their coconuts. And quite frankly, I don’t blame them as it’s just so damn good. Most street vendors would sell coconut ice cream which is a refreshing change from the usual vanilla and chocolate flavors that you can find in most Western countries. This refreshing mid day snack is the perfect way to battle the intense heat.
If you roam around the streets of Thailand, one thing that you would more often than not see are grilled skewers of various sorts. Grilled chicken, pork, meatballs, fish balls. The possibilities are pretty endless. You choose what you want, they grill in for you then you dip it in sweet chilli/ peanut sauce. The skewers range from 5-15 baht depending on how large they are. ($0.15-0.50)
Yep, you heard me right. For those of you that didn’t know, here in Thailand, people eat bugs. You know, like how some people eat chips? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. For the more adventurous type. Give it a try! It’s actually not that bad. They often fry or grill them with salt, pepper, chillis, and some kafir lime. The bug selection is often huge (worms, grasshoppers, crickets, scorpions, red ants, locusts etc.). All you have to do is point to which ones you want and they combine it all in a bag and your protein rich snack is good to go. Yum?
Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Neeo Mamuang)
Now I know what you’re thinking. Sweet rice? How Asian can I get? I do promise that as soon as you try it, you would not regret it. The silky sweet taste of the coconut rice paired with a ripe sweet mango? The flavors are incredible and you can never go wrong with it. Price range varies from 40-60 Baht (around $1.50)
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
This refreshing palate cleanser is commonly found everywhere on the street. As soon as you order, they start preparing it in front of you with fresh ingredients. It’s pretty hard to beat that. What’s in it? Green papaya which is shredded and mixed with lime, garlic, chillies, sugar and coriander. A variety of other ingredients are often mixed in giving you a perfect balance between sweet, sour, and spicy! Best enjoyed with some grilled chicken skewers and rice.
Thai-Style Omelet (Khai Jiao)
Walking along the street food stalls, you would often notice large woks where they make thai style omelettes. It’s savoury aroma lingers the air as they mix in some ground pork or fresh herbs. The edges are crunchy due to the oil while the middle part is soft and delicious!
If you’re not adventurous when it comes to food, don’t fret as you have well known common dishes here like Fried chicken. Every time we pass a stall, I have to concentrate really hard and try to avoid it as it really isn’t the healthiest…but it is so good! I don’t really know what it is exactly that makes these chicken pieces so good, but trust me-you have to try it at least once. One of my favorites is a stall here in Chiang Mai which sells hers topped with fried kafir lime leaves. Uh! So good. A small chicken drum stick, depending on the size would vary anywhere from 15-20 baht ( around $0.50)
Now no street food article would be complete without some Pad Thai. Some say it’s a tourist trap as locals don’t really eat it-but we couldn’t care less. We love a good pad thai and there is nowhere else to get it than in the streets. This stir fry noodle dish is in our opinion, the holy grail of all noodle dishes (after ramen, of course). Mixed in with either chicken or shrimps and topped with some fresh herbs and peanuts, this meal is a MUST try when in Thailand.
Popularized due to the large amount of westerners who would travel Asia and ask for banana pancakes, street vendors have taken it upon themselves to serve this delicious sweet dish for anyone with a sweet craving. Unlike regular pancakes, this thin crepe like style is cooked until the sides are crunchy and is topped with various things from bananas all the way to nutella. To top things off, they drizzle sweet condensed milk over it before serving.
Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla)
Initially, this Thai style fish cakes is a strange mix of flavors but it will slowly grow on you. The crunchy on the edges but soft and tender on the inside fish cake is very flavourful. They mix a variety of things to it like red curry paste and various spices. The result? Deliciousness. They often serve this with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.
Related: What to Food to Eat in Thailand