But, which ones to try first and which will provide the authentic local experience? We have got you covered with this guide to the irresistible street food in Thailand:
1. Som Tam (Papaya Salad) - A Fresh Healthy Offering of Thai Food
The most popular and widely consumed dish, Som Tam is a healthy and delicious salad made with roasted peanuts, garlic, chillies, various seasonings and of course, green papaya with palm sugar dressing to top it of. It engages all your tastebuds with its sweet, salty, sour and chilli flavours. Yes, it is an all in one experience!
Price per plate: THB 30-THB 60
Where to find it: Outdoor restaurants at Chatuchak market and La Deng in the Silom area of Bangkok.
Pro Tip: Look out for restaurants which are the most crowded with Thais as locals know the best!
2. Tom Yum
Tom Yum is not just famous in the Thailand street food scene but has taken the world by storm with its unique flavours. It is a delicious hot and sour soup made with fragrant herbs and spices. Shrimp is generally added to it, but there are a lot of other variants like pork, meat or other seafood. Lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves are the ingredients used to make the soup aromatic, fresh and tantalizing to your palette.
It comes in a lot of varieties like Tom Yum Kai which is the chicken variant, Tom yum Kung which is made with prawns and most popular among tourists and a lot of other versions.
Where to find it: You can easily find it at any street food market.
Price per plate : 80-120 THB.
3. Pad Thai - Among the Best Known Dishes of Thai Food Internationally
Behold the most beloved street food of Thailand, Pad Thai! It is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand and even considered to be one of the most delicious dishes worldwide. Pad Thai is Thailand’s culture in a bowl. Made with rice noodles which are stir-fried with tofu, eggs and flavoured with tamarind, fish sauce, shallots and the mix of various spices, Pad Thai is served with roasted peanuts and has a huge serving of vegetables. And how can we forget, shrimp, crab, squid or chicken! No wonder it has a whole movie made on it (Hint: It is a Thai movie).
Price per plate : TBH 40-50
Where to find it: At any street food market. We recommend Thip Samai in Old City.
4. Kao Niew Ma Muang - Mango Sticky Rice
In the mood for dessert? Mango sticky rice will satiate your dessert pangs instantly! It consists of glutinous rice, mango pulp, coconut milk and mung beans to top it off. Eat it fresh with a spoon or hands, if you will! It is highly refreshing and a kind of street food in Thailand that's sure to give you some respite during mid-day heat. There are a lot of variations available with different types of mangoes and toppings like dried shrimp. Eat it fresh as the sticky rice and coconut milk tend to spoil quickly.
Where to find it: Maewaree and Kor Panich
Price per plate: One plate costs about 30-50 THB.
5. Sai Krok Isan
This is street food in Thailand that you can eat on the go. It is a delicious fermented sausage eaten with raw cabbage, sticky rice and garlic. A perfect beer snack, it is slightly tangy and salty. It originated in the northeast part of Thailand but is savoured all across the country.
Price per plate : Grab a stick for 10 THB.
6. Pad See Ew
This is another type of stir-fried noodles. But unlike Pad Thai which is sweeter, Pad See Ew is saltier and has a chargrilled flavour. Pad See Ew translates to stir-fried soy sauce noodles and eaten as a staple in Thailand. The type of noodles usually used is Sen Yai which is cooked with Chinese broccoli, chicken, eggs and a combination of sauces like oyster sauce, vinegar, light soy sauce & dark soy sauce. It is perfectly balanced street food in Thailand and you surely won’t be disappointed!
Price per plate: You can get it for less than 100 THB.
Where to find it: Silom Village and Madam Saranair are some places where you can try great Pad See Ew.
7. Khanom Buang - One of the Most Visually Appealing among the Many Dishes of Thai Food
It is a Thai style crepe which is filled with coconut cream and then toppings like coconut shreds and scallions are added to it. Many times, you can even get egg yolks as a topping. Roasted sesame seeds add aroma and texture variations to this dessert.
Price per plate: 30-35 THB at any local street food market.
8. Khao Phat
In Thai, Khao means “rice” and Phat means “a stir-fried”. It is made with Thai Jasmine rice and contains meat or seafood (crab, prawns, shrimp). Seasonings include soy sauce, chilli sauce, sugar, salt and many different sauces. Usually, different food stalls add seasonings according to their own personalized recipes. Nevertheless, it is absolutely delicious and fragrant.It is generally accompanied with cucumber slices, tomatoes, coriander and lime.
There are a lot of variations which you should definitely try like:
1) Khao Phat Mu (made with pork)
2) Khao Phat Khiao Wan(green curry fried rice)
Price per plate: This dish usually costs about 40-50 THB at food stalls and 100 THB at fancier places.
9. Thapthim Krop
After a spicy and fiery meal, craving for some sweet cooling dessert? Thapthim Krop hits all the marks. It is served with crushed ice, coconut liquid on Pandan leaves. These leaves have an aroma and flavour of their own which makes it even more delicious.
But, the real treasures are the “Red Rubies” made with water chestnuts covered with grenadine syrup and flour and boiled. Red food colouring gives it that rich appearance.
Price per plate: It costs about 35 THB for a plate.
Oliang or Thai iced coffee is loved by both natives and tourists alike. It is made of a blend of coffee, corn, soybeans and sesame seeds. It is brewed out of a coffee sock made of muslin attached to a metallic ring. Condensed milk and cream is added to taste. You can never go wrong with this local favourite street food in Thailand.
Price per plate:It costs about 35 THB.
11. Hor Mok
Hor Mok is a hidden treasure of Thailand that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. It is made of coconut milk, freshwater fish, eggs, herbs and spices. It is then steamed in banana leaves which gives it a mousse-like texture. Toppings like kaffir lime leaves, chillies, coconut milk etc. can be added to give it a fresh flavour. You can find it at local food stalls and outside local restaurants. There are a lot of variations available like different types of seafood ranging from squids to crabs. This can even be found in gourmet restaurants which have their own take on this dish.
Price per piece: THB 15 to THB 25
Where to try: Ruam Sab Market food court
12. Tom Kha Gai - An Exotic Offering of Thai Food
It is a Thai coconut soup. It is an interesting combination of sweet and sour made with coconut milk, chillies, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai chilli peppers, galangal, mushrooms, chicken and fish sauce. Coriander is also added in this Thai version. It has a rather exotic flavour and is a must try.
Price per plate: THB 270
Where to try: Local restaurants serve fresh and cheaper Tom Kha Gai.
What do the Thai people love to eat for breakfast? Jok or Thai rice porridge is the answer. But, this is not any ordinary rice porridge. It is made with a lot of ingredients like pork, kaffir lime leaves, rice etc. It is usually served hot with a yolk on the top and various toppings. It is absolutely delicious. The Thai people usually prefer to eat it as a takeaway. You can then empty the contents of the bag into a bowl and add onions, ginger and a dash of vinegar according to your preference. It is super filling and warm.
Where to try:You can find it at local food stalls mostly
Price: THB 40 and above
14. Gaeng Keow Wan Gai - The Defining Curry Dish from All of Thai Food
A type of street food in Thailand that is known to the world, Gaeng Keow Wan Gai is the iconic Green Chicken Curry. The first question that comes to mind when one sees this curry is, "How is it so green?”. That is because of the green curry paste that is added to the coconut milk while stirring fast. It is made with fresh chicken, eggplants, coriander, bamboo and sweet basil. What more could one ask for?
Where to try: Poi Sien in Bangkok
Price per bowl:THB 30-50
15. Gaeng Daeng
Gaeng Daeng is a red curry made with chillies, spices, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallots, shrimps and fish sauce. The aroma can make you drool easily. The meats can differ from place to place like chicken, pork, duck, shrimp and even vegetarian options like tofu are available. It is generally served with Thai rice and steamed bread.
Where to try: Street stalls are cheaper and offer good Gaeng Daeng but gourmet restaurants are on another level.
Price per bowl: THB 40- THB 300
16. Gai Pad Med Ma Muang
This is a combination of stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. Sounds amazing right? Well, the taste is amazing too! The exquisite dish also contains oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, garlic, onion, chilli flakes and many other ingredients. It is served with jasmine rice or bread. Yum!
Where to try: Blue Mango Bar and Grill
Price per plate: THB 370
17. Hoy Tod
This is one of the most iconic Thailand street food dishes for which tourists want to return to Thailand again and again. The juicy and plump oysters with the savoury bean sprouts and crispy omelette are ten out of ten combinations. It is served with fish sauce, tomato sauce and chilli sauce.
Where to try: Hoi Tod Chaw Lae, Sukhumvit
Price per plate: THB 60- THB 75
18. Kai Jeow (Omelette with rice)
You might have seen many variants of the omelette but I bet nothing like Kai Jeow of Thailand. Kai Jeow is one of the most popular and cheap dishes among Thailand's street food. Kai Jeow is basically the Thai omelette served over rice (Since rice is one thing they have experimented with). The omelette which is fluffy from the inside and golden and crispy from the outside is served as the top layer over the aromatic rice. It is cooked in red chillies and fish sauce to give it the staple Thai touch. It is prefered mostly as the breakfast, but I won't blame you if you are seen savouring this dish for your dinner.
19. Moo Ping (grilled pork skewers)Moo Ping is definitely one of the most popular and delicious go-to snacks for the Thai people, and a trending dish of street food in Thailand. Moo Ping is the grilled pork skewers served with rice at some places and served alone at others. The flavour of this dish lies in the marinating, which depends on the cook. Generally, the marinating ingredients are garlic, soy sauce, and sugar, that gives it both sweet and tangy taste. It is served best in streets so don't go to restaurants looking for it.
20. Guay Teow (noodle soup)
Guar Teow is one of the varieties of noodle soup in Thailand, and a common delicacy among the street food in Thailand. Although, you can try as many varieties of noodle soup in Thailand, but this one particular you shouldn't miss. Guay Teow is either prepared from the flat rice noodles or the egg noodles that makes for the main ingredient of the dish. It has delicious sauce from fish sauce, dry red chillies, lime juice and sugar to equalize the spice. Guay Teow is prepared from different meats and you can find anything from beef, pork or chicken making up for the yum sauce with noodles.
21. Kluay Tod
Kluay Tod is when the banana gets a new twist. It is all-time favourite snack among Bangkok street food in Thailand. Kluay Tod is prepared from the unripe small banana, by deep frying them. The bananas are first put into the batter of desiccated coconut and sesame seeds and then allowed to deep fry. It is one of the go-to snacks in Thailand and if you are a vegetarian then there is no way you should let this pass.
22. Gai Tod (Fried Chicken) - A Fusion of a Western Classic and Thai Food Spices and Herbs
If you want to try fried chicken in all-new style and here is something for you. Gai Tod is the Thailand version of fried chicken which will make you forget all you had before. It is prepared from marinating the chicken breasts or chicken drums in the blend of spices and rice flour. To add the spicy and tangy flavour to the chicken, Thai chilli paste and spicy sauce are mixed with the chicken. This dish is very popular among Thailand's street food, especially preferred by the local people, and is served with rice.
23. Poh Pia Tod (spring rolls)
What have you done in life if you have come to Thailand and not gulp down a plate of authentic spring rolls? Springs rolls or Poh Pia Tod, as they call it in the local language, is Thailand's famous spring rolls. You will find them everywhere, be it a fancy restaurant or a Thailand street food stall. The filling of these spring rolls can be of anything from meat, vegetables or rice noodles. Make sure you ask the vendor before you eat. It is served with chilli sauce to give the spicy touch to the dish.
24. Massaman Gai
Massaman Gai is another Thai curry dish which has got its influence from Persian cuisine. The dish is prepared from chicken and potatoes, making it one of the dishes you will find in Thailand's street food scene. Chicken can be replaced with tofu for those looking for a vegetarian version. The delicious gravy of the dish is made from coconut milk with the additions of peanuts, cinnamon, bay leaves, tamarind sauce, and sugar to give it a mix flavour of sweet, tangy and spicy. It is not that spicy as compared to the Thai curry dishes and is served with rice for the complete meal.
The street food in Thailand is an explosion of magical flavours which can make anyone float on cloud nine. With this guide by your side, you can get the most out of your trip to Thailand. These dishes are surely going to take you out of your comfort zone, but trust us, it will be worth it! Unravel the foodie in you in the kingdom of Thailand. Bon Voyage!