Street Food in Thailand - 17 Iconic Dishes You MUST Try in Thailand
What is the most enriching experience in Thailand you ask, apart from the beautiful monuments and the country's natural landscape It’s obviously the scrumptious Thailand street food! The fact that the rich aroma on the streets of Thailand can easily make us drool is enough to make us wanna try it out. Thai food engulfs all your senses and is available in all the colours and varieties you can imagine, not to mention the power-packed flavours that will leave you wanting more.
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)
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
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. 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. 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
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 Thai favourite.
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 that 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
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 Thais 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 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
A Thailand street food dish 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
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!