Bangkok Street Food - 19 Must Try Culinary Gems of Bangkok
Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is home to the ultimate food destination - Bangkok! Bangkok, a travel hotspot in Asia, known for its exotic cuisine, will satisfy your appetite. Chilli peppers, fish sauce, lime leaves, shrimp paste and sour fruits are some of the main ingredients found in Thai food. These flavours will have you falling in love with their cuisine which focuses on texture, colour, taste and the use of ingredients for medical benefits. Wandering on the streets of Bangkok surrounded by street stalls selling curry, noodles, soup and more is every food lover's dream come true.
Check out the list of Bangkok street food below, so you don't miss out on anything while in this fantastic city:
1. Pad Thai
Served with green cilantro, red pepper flakes, yellow limes, shrimps and noodles, Pad Thai is the most colourful dish you'll ever see! These stir-fried rice noodles are one of Thailand's national dishes. Pad Thai was introduced in Bangkok when the prime minister wanted to combat rice shortage by introducing noodles into the country's cuisine. Pad Thai is now Bangkok's comfort food. It's sour, sweet, salty and spicy flavours will miraculously blend perfectly inside your mouth.
Where to try: The best place to have Pad Thai is at Pad Thai Thip Samai located in the old city quarters. The other areas are listed to hog on Pad Thai are: 1. Thip Simai, 313 Mahachai Road, Old City, Bangkok 2. Ban Pad Thai, 21-23 Charoen Krung (Soi 44), Bangkok 3. Pad Thai Ekamai, Sukhumvit 63 Soi 19, Bangkok 4. Pad Thai Mae Am, 2227 Rama IV Road, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Bangkok 5. Rosabieng Restaurant, 102/5 Thanon Kamphaeng Phet 5, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai District, Bangkok 6. Wann Pad Thai, Phetkasem Frontage Rd, Khwaeng Wat Tha Phra, Yai District, Bangkok 7. Nara, Erawan Bangkok lower Ground Floor, Bangkok
2. Fried Banana Pancakes (Roti Gluay)
Roti Gluay is the most craved street food in Bangkok. As much as a treat Roti Gluay is to your taste buds, the preparation of it is a treat to the eyes. Watching the vendors move their hands swiftly while making Roti Gluay is an experience in itself. You can also add toppings of your choice to the pancakes, ranging from coconut, sugar, honey to Nutella! This Thai version of a pancake will leave you wanting for more.
Where to try: Soi Rangnam and Sukhumvit Soi 38 in Bangkok are some of the best places to enjoy Roti Gluay.
3. Thai Boat Noodles (Kuay Teow Reua)
Kuay Teow Reua was initially sold on boats. Though you may no longer find vendors selling it on boats, you can still enjoy this delicacy near the riverside stalls. You can customise your dish by picking your choice of noodles and noodle soup to go with it. This dish is served in small portions in bowls. There is nothing like eating a bowl of noodles with a lakeside view. The taste of this will have you stacking dozens of empty bowls on your table in no time!
Where to try: You can find the best Thai boat noodles near Victory monument. An alley filled with excellent boat noodle stalls - 75, Soi Ratchawithi, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Thailand.
4. Thai Steamed Dumplings (Kanom Jeeb)
Who doesn't love a plate of delicious steamed dumplings? These excellent Thai dumplings will surely not disappoint you. They are served in a dough wrapper. Made with water chestnuts, crab meat, shrimp and pork, Kanom Jeeb will leave you mesmerised. It's the perfect Bangkok street food item to eat on the go.
Where to try: These dumplings are very popular and can be found at any Bangkok street food stall.
5. Deep Fried Insects
What is life without a little adventure? As scary as eating insects might sound, this is an experience you do not want to miss. Fried insects are considered as a go-to snack in Bangkok. The insects include grasshoppers, water beetles, spiders, bamboo worms, and scorpions. These are served with sauce and a pinch of pepper. They also make a healthy meal as they're rich in calcium and protein. Moreover, a bag of fried insects will cost you just THB 10. So why not be a sport and go for it?!
Where to try: Multiple stalls selling fried insects can be found on Khao San Road.
6. Spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
Som Tam is Bangkok's favourite and the most popular salad. It is a sour and spicy green papaya salad flavoured with lemon grass, fish sauce, dried shrimps, sweet tomatoes and crunchy peanuts. You'll find this dish in every nook and corner of Bangkok. Its low-calorie count and rich flavours are a win-win for all! Every bite of this salad is worthy of a celebration.
Where to try: You will find many small restaurants selling delicious Som Tam at the Chatuchak weekend market and also at the below-mentioned places: 1. Som Tam Nua, 392/14 Siam Square, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 2. Baan Somtum, 9/1 Si Wiang, Bang Rak, Bangkok 3. Sabaijai Kebtawan, 65 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Vadhana, Bangkok 4. Somtum Der, 5/5 Sala Daeng Rd, Bang Rak, Bangkok 5. Baan Khanitha, 36/1 Sukhumvit 23, Vadhana, Bangkok 6. Baan E-san Muang Yos, 19/3-5 Sukhumvit 31, Vadhana, Bangkok
7. Thai Crepes (Khanom Bueang)
This dish is probably the most Instagram worthy of street food in Bangkok. These crepes resemble small tacos which are hard to resist. They are stuffed with whipped cream, shredded coconut, and roasted peanuts. Some of the Khanom Bueangs have an orange filling made up of chopped shrimps topped with shredded coconut.
Where to try: MBK level 4 and Pratunam are some of the best places to have this taco-esque dish loaded with goodness. Another place you can try Khanom Bueang is Khanom Bueang Phraeng Nara Restaurant, 91 Nan Road, Chao Phraya, Bangkok, Thailand
8. Thai Green Curry Chicken (Gaeng Keow Wan Gai)
This dish tastes as delicious as it looks! Curry was introduced in Thailand by Indian immigrants years ago. Since then, it has been a staple dish in Thailand. This dish is made with green chillies, sweet basil leaves, lime leaves and green eggplants which give the curry a lovely green hue. Not only is this dish nutritious and mouth-watering at the same time, but it can also cure a cold and help lower cholesterol.
Where to try: You can enjoy this dish at the famous Krua Apsorn and Baan Glom Gig.
9. Thai Tea (Cha Yen)
Inspired by the masala chai of India, Thai tea is a refreshingly spicy tea made from black tea leaves and flavoured with cinnamon, star anise, orange blossom water, and vanilla. Milk is poured over the tea before serving to give it a creamy texture. Fried breadstick (Youtiao) goes along well with this tea.
Where to try: Mont Nom Sod near the Bangkok city hall is best known for its Thai tea.
10. Sticky Mango Rice (Khao Neow Mamuang)
Every meal is incomplete without a dessert. This traditional summer street food in Bangkok will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. Freshly cut juicy mango slices are placed on sticky rice and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. You can try this dessert with durian as well. Some street vendors sell this dessert with durian instead of mangoes. Even though the combination of fruit and rice sounds unusual, we assure you, you won't regret trying it.
Where to try: Pier 21 and Mae Varee sell the best sticky mango rice in the whole of Bangkok, but you better hurry up and order ahead of time as it sells out quickly!
11. Coconut Icecream (I-dtim Mat Phrao)
Served in a neatly cut coconut, I-dtim Mat Phrao is not your usual coconut ice cream. It is far from ordinary! Bangkok has added its unique twist to the plain old coconut ice-cream. This remarkable version of coconut ice-cream is made with coconut milk and served with boiled corn kernels and peanuts. Heavenly is the only way to describe this devilishly good dessert!
Khao Man Gai is a favourite Thai variation of Hainanese Chicken Rice (Hainan is a province of Southern China). Khao translates to rice and Mun translates to fat, Khao Man Gai meaning rice cooked in chicken fat. The chicken is poached to perfection, sliced, and served on a bed of jasmine rice that has been prepared in the poaching water. It is accompanied by a sort of dipping sauce made of freshly minced Thai peppers, ginger, and garlic in a soya bean paste. A simple soup made with the chicken broth is also served alongside, usually with sliced cucumbers.
Where to try: Phra Sumen Road, near Khao San Road
13. Kao Pad or Khao Phat
Khao Phat is a Thai take on fried rice. Khao, as we saw before, means rice and Phat means stir-fried. Khao Phat is prepared with Thai jasmine rice instead of the regular long-grain rice used in China. It is made by tossing together a variety of meat (chicken, pork, shrimp, and crab are common), eggs, onions, garlic, and tomatoes in an extremely hot wok. The cooked rice is then added followed by seasonings of soya sauce, brown sugar, chilli sauce, and one of the main ingredients in Thai Cuisine, Nam Pla (fish sauce). The result is a vibrant Bangkok street food delicacy that is a wonderful blend of hot, sweet. And sour.
Where to try: To try some authentic Khao Phat, head to Khaosan Restaurant at 4/33 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng. They serve up all sorts of Khao Phat, and you can choose which meats you would like to have. You can also find Khao Phat at stalls in Chinatown and Banglamphu.
14. Pla Pao
Pla Pao is a Thai grilled fish. The most common types are Pla Nin (Tilapia), Pla Duk Dam (Catfish), and Pla Duk Yan (Snakehead fish). The fish is first gutted and then stuffed with pandanus leaves and lemongrass. Next, the stuffed fish is covered with rock salt and flour before being barbequed over a charcoal flame for the slightly charred flavour. The fish is served with a chilli and lime dipping sauce that perfectly compliments its smokey taste.
Where to try:Lang Ram Meang Pla Pao is an excellent Pla Pao restaurant, serving up a vast variety of grilled fish delight. It is located at 439 Rath-Uthit Road in Min Buri, Bangkok.
15. Gaeng Massaman
Gaeng Massaman is a mild Thai curry, influenced by Malaysian and Indian cuisine. It is flavoured with coconut milk and tamarind and is loaded with dry spices and aromatic herbs that are not commonly used in other Thai dishes. For example, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, and nutmeg. It is believed that these spices were brought to Thailand by Muslim traders travelling from India. It can be made with various meats, including beef, pork, duck, and chicken. In some instances, tofu is used as well. It brings a harmony of sweet, salty, and sour and is a must try if you are visiting Thailand.
Where to try: Krua Asom, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Khet Phra Nakhon, Thailand.
16. Tom Yum
Tom Yum is a famous hot and sour Thai soup that is for many people the first thing that comes to mind when asked about Bangkok street food. Tom refers to boiling while Yam refers to a Thai salad that is spicy and sour. The soup is made with stock and fresh herbs like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. Crushed Thai peppers and fish sauce are also added along with shrimp, although in some versions the shrimp can be replaced with other meats like beef, pork, and chicken. Tom Yum's distinct sour twang has made it one of the most popular dishes in the country.
Where to try: 1. Rung Rueang at 10/1 Soi Sukhumvit 26, Khlong Toei, Bangkok. 2. Ban Khun Mae at Siam Square, Pithum Wan, Bangkok.
17. Ya Dong
Ya Dong is a medicinal herb-infused Thai liquor made from Lao Khao (a potent rice whiskey). It is usually served in a shot glass with a touch of honey, accompanied with salt, a chilli and sugar dip called Prik Glua and sour, unripe mango. You could call it Thailand's version of the tequila shooter. Ya Dong can be found at street vendors throughout Thailand. Don't go overboard with it though, as it has an incredibly high alcohol content.
18. Kah-Feh Yen
Kah-Feh Yen is Thailand's Iced Coffee. The Kah-Feh Yen vendors are some of the earliest to hit the streets as thousands of locals turn to them for their early morning pick-me-up. You can recognise them from afar thanks to the sweet aromas of coffee that follow them around. Kah-Feh Yen is made by mixing a robust blend of dark-roasted black coffee, powdered milk, and sugar. Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Cardamom are often added. This mixture is then poured over ice and topped with sweetened condensed milk or heavy cream to form a delicious drink that could rival Starbucks at a fraction of the price.
19. Moo Ping or Moo Satay
Moo Ping is Thai Grilled Pork. Bite-size pieces of Pork meat are skewered together with fat and grilled atop charcoal. The melting fat drips on the embers to create a thick smoke that douses the pork with even more flavour. The skewers, before grilling, are marinated overnight on a sweet and salty mixture. Once the grilling is complete, they are slathered with a spicy sauce made of Thai peppers. The meat is juicy and tender. It melts in your mouth. Be sure to try it straight off the grill when it is piping hot and the most flavourful. You can have it stick after stick as is, or pair it with some sticky rice for a complete meal.
These top 19 Bangkok street food dishes will surely put a smile on your face!