Street food is a quintessential part of the Thai lifestyle, over the generations they have become so deeply rooted in the culture. They provide cheap, convenient and delicious meals to locals, to the extent that Thais prefer to eat on the street or take street food home rather than waste their own time cooking at home.
Many apartments, in Bangkok particularly, do not even have kitchens! Despite recent attempts to clear up the streets of Bangkok there are still a number of street food vendors peppered across the capital, they anchored in the Thai way of life with no sign of disappearing.
Normally found in high concentrations around busy areas of the city, they operate as groups or as a market, and sometimes you find standalone vendors.
One thing is certain if you return to the same spot from one day to the next you will be sure to locate the same vendor, they are extremely reliable.
Also dependable in terms of quality, only the best food survives the streets of Bangkok!
The world of street food is undeniably exciting, it can provide hours of culinary fun and exploration as there are so many different variations of Thai flavours and ingredients.
Here is a guide to some of Thailand’s best and most renowned street food.
1. Pad Thai Noodles
This dish is the default Thai dish across the globe.
Unsurprising as it is simply delicious, the ultimate comfort food! Usually prepared in a searing hot wok, a handful of noodles are thrown in to steam for a minute before crunchy beansprouts, onion and egg are added to the pan. Ready in minutes, the contents of the work are tossed and turned before being served piping hot on a plate. Watching this dish be prepared is definitely part of the fun and makes it even more irresistible.
2. Som Tam Papaya Salad
Probably the most renowned dish from the Northeast region of Isaan.
Traditional Papaya Salad, or Som Tam Thai, blends garlic, chillies, green beans, cherry tomatoes and shredded raw papaya.
All the ingredients get thrown into a pestle and mortar where they get completely pulverised, this technique releases the flavours in bursts and allows them to blend nicely. The result is a sweet yet tangy salad that has a real crunch to it from the raw vegetables and fruit used.
3. Kai Yang (Grilled Chicken)
Grilled chicken, or Kai Yang, is more commonly found in Bangkok.
Marinated in a special spice blend then grilled to perfection over low heat for up to two hours. This crowd-pleaser is usually sold with sweet chilli sauce and hot fresh sticky rice.
The combination of all these textures and flavours takes your taste buds on an epic culinary journey!
4. Tom Yam Noodles Soup
Composed of lemongrass, chilli, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, this luscious dish marries the traditional flavours of Thai cooking to create a fragrant soup.
Street vendors will usually have a few bags of fresh noodles sitting in the window from which you can choose from, this makes the experience that much more fun and satisfying. Served in a deep bowl from which a distinct smell that is hard to forget evaporates and teases your nose, it is tantalizingly warm and inviting.
As if being delicious wasn’t enough, it also has a unique herbal kick which the Thais credit as a remedy for colds and flues.
5. BBQ Satay and Peanut Sauce
You can find all types of meat and fish skewers across the country, but Satay are notoriously popular.
Often picked up as a snack by scurrying office workers or eaten as part of a bigger meal shared among friends or family.
Street vendors will line dozens of them on a searing hot grill, they will brush extra coats of juicy marinade as they cook, flipping them from one side to another to make sure they are cooked through.
Served with thick delicious peanut sauce which strikes the right balance between sweet and spicy. Just load them up with the creamy sauce and tuck in!
We hope this has made you as hungry as we are now!
You might be thinking that you would love to experience this myriad of flavours but that you are not able to just hop on a plane over to Thailand to do so.