Most popular Thai street food you should try in Thailand

Thai Street Food

Thailand is world famous for the beautiful landscape, hospitable people and wonderful food. Most of the people who have visited Thailand may get some knowledge about Pad Thai, Tom Yum Kung, red curry and green curry. If you know more than these specialties, please give an applause to yourself.

However, there is much more to discover in Thai cuisine especially when you are ready to move out of your comfort zone and try the very well-known Thai street food. Without question, Thailand enjoys a unique status in terms of the most popular street food. No matter for what reason you go to Thailand, your visit would be a great regret without trying some tempting Thai street food.


Thai Street Food


A wide range of Thai Street Food

Thai street food is by no means just the image of a food cart on the street. It also covers a group of small-size restaurants and a variety of stalls on different kinds of markets. Even traditional shops have yummy street food for sale, with their tables spreading out onto the sidewalk.

Here comes the biggest advantage. Even the most well-known and top street snacks in Bangkok will give you no pressure on wallet without any loss of the taste, quantity or quality of the food.

As for the regular question of what to eat and where to eat? We hope the following information will be much helpful for you to get the answer.

Thai people are fond of street food and in almost every street corner you will find many different types of local food. All the major tourist places like Khao San Road in Bangkok, Phuket, Chang Mai and Koh Samui are abundant with street food vendors while even in places off the tourist map you can also find plenty of choices.


Food Market in Bangkok


Something special about Thai street food special

In Thailand, every corner, street and alley has a restaurant, street stall or handcart selling snacks, nibbles, bites and full range of appetizing local specialties, which will easily cause your attention.

Usually, the Thai food is low in fat and high in fiber and most dishes, considering their good taste, are surprisingly nutritious. But it is not only the unique and pleasant tastes that visitors love, the cost of Thai street food is as satisfying as the pleasure experienced by the palate. As known to all, one of Thailand’s major industries is agriculture. Grains, vegetables and most importantly rice are all produced on its own land with high quality but at minimal cost. Meanwhile, after many years of practice, local vendors, diligent and kind-hearted have mastered the authentic essence of street food.

With these factors stated above, it is not difficult at all for you to understand why locals and foreigners alike all fall in love with Thai street food.


Thai Street Dishes


Is street food safe in Thailand?

This world-renowned food paradise is considered to be one of the best places to try out some of the traditional street food dishes for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Many foreigners may feel a little worried about taking the street food. This kind of worry is really understandable with the fact that they’ve never sampled it before. What worries those visitors most is that the street food might make their stomach uncomfortable, which would mess up their stay in Thailand and finally leave a terrible trip experience.

Although the sight of raw food materials exposed to open air may not seem exquisite, just feel assured that Thai street food is both clean and safe to enjoy. An easing factor about the street food is that it’s cooked just in front of you. This will definitely bring you some sense of security while seeing is believing.


Cooking Thai Street Food


Besides, street food carts or stalls that have the most customers are the safest to eat. A constant flow of customers ensure that the ingredients are always fresh and the cooking skills are also guaranteed. Considering that there are plenty of street food stalls, competition is inevitable. Thus no vendors would like to ruin their reputation by providing unsafe food. They attach great importance to reputation and highly rely on return customers.

Street food is actually suitable for three meals a day, both affordable and delicious. There is no need to worry about the safety issue.

Let’s now look at the following most popular Thai street food you should try.

1. Pla Pao for Grilled Fish

Street food Type: A snack with stuffing

The grilled fish with a salty flavor is among the most popular and authentic Thai street food. Visitors with street food experience will certainly have seen it. Instead of being put a lot of seasoning on the outer skin, the grilled fish is filled with lemon grass, coriander and other seasoning in the fish belly. In addition, the cook will sprinkle a thick layer of salt on the skin of the fish to keep the flesh perfectly moist and increase the taste. The salty crust can be removed before eating so you can easily enjoy the juicy flesh. The snack is usually served together with a Thai chilli sauce.


Grilled Fish


2. Fried Rice - Khao Pad

Street food Type: A meal

As mentioned above, Thailand is renowned for its agriculture, with jasmine rice as its signature product. Therefore, jasmine rice can be seen almost everywhere in Thai cuisine. Thai fried rice (Khao pad) is made from Thai jasmine rice which is stir fried with vegetables, chicken, pork or seafood. In addition, the fried rice can be varied in ingredients according to customers' preferences.


Thai Fried Rice


3. Green Papaya Salad – Som Tum

Street food Type: A Perfect match of rice

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) is very classic Thai salad with shredded green papaya, long beans, peanuts, tomatoes, garlic, fish sauce, and other seasonings. Green papaya is in fact unripe papaya. The texture of green papaya is firm and crisp, making it ideal for a salad recipe. All the ingredients are crushed together in a mortar in order to blend the flavors perfectly.

This dish is very refreshing, typical of Southeast Asia, with a perfect blend of sour, sweet, spicy, salty and other flavors. With a high popularity, it can be called epitome of Thai cuisine as it is light, delicious and low in calories. Thai people make it a perfect match for jasmine rice. It is really a must-try Thai street food for visitors!


Green Papaya Salad


4. Thai Sausage – Sai Krok Isan

Street food type: A match of rice or a light snack

Literally meaning‘sausage from the Northeast’, sai krok Isan is a Thai kind of garlicky fermented sausage made from ground pork mixed with salt, chopped garlic and steamed sticky rice. The rice is helpful to the fermentation process that gives the sausage its signature flavor.

This Thai street food originated from the northern part of eastern Thailand. Before serving, the sausages are often soaked in coconut milk and can be cut into right sizes. You can enjoy Sai krok Isan on its own or with sticky rice, and also fresh cabbage leaves and ginger are good accompaniment to counteract the garlic element.


Thai Sausage


5. Different Types of Noodles

Street food type: A meal you never get tired of

The Thai word for noodles is ‘Kuay Teow’. You will find that noodles are undisputed leading role of Thai street food. You can either eat dry or together in a soup. There are many different kinds of noodles such as rice noodles, egg and Mung bean noodles, wiry noodles and flat noodles. In street food stalls of Bangkok, you can customize the noodles you like with desired vegetables, meat and other condiments.
Know the different Noodles!

Noodles here, noodles there, noodles everywhere. Thais are great noodles’ lovers! When in Thailand you will have so many eyes-widening types of noodles to choose from that it’s necessary for you to familiarize first:

  • Sen Yai (rice river noodles):  wide and flat rice flour noodles 
  • Sen Mii (rice vermicelli):  thin, wiry and hair-looking rice flour noodles
  • Sen Lek:  medium-sized flat rice flour noodles (the same as used in pad thai)
  • Bah Mii:  egg and wheat flour noodles (yellow in colour)
  • Woon Sen (glass noodles):  thin, wiry and transparent soya bean flour noodles
  • Gieow (wonton):  kind of dumplings with minced pork wrapped in thin yellow dough 


Thai Street Different Noodles


6. Spicy Thai Seafood Soup - Tom Yum Goong

Street food type: A light meal or a good appetizer

This Thai masterpiece soup is filled with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. This soup, truly Asian, combines a mix of favorite Thai flavors: sour, salty, spicy and sweet, all in one bowl. Tom Yum Goong is often served with rice and noodles. This is an authentic street food that many locals can’t live without and which has won high reputation around the world.

According to customers’ liking, it can also be added coconut milk and cream or without for a little more sour and healthy version. This delicious spicy soup is also considered to be a good treatment for cold or flu.


Tom Yum Goong


7. Oyster Omelet – Hoi Tod

Street food Type: A snack or a very light meal

Omelets are often a popular brunch or hearty breakfast item in Western countries. But in Thailand, there are a variety of omelet-style dishes that will alter your preconceived ideas of what omelets should be. One of the most well-known among these Thai omelet sensations is the Oyster Omelet (Hoi Tod). It’s a large-sized omelet stuffed full of oysters, with bean sprouts, sprinkled pepper and coriander served atop.

Keep in mind: when it comes to specialties in Thailand, to truly enjoy them like a local, you can add just a tad of tomato sauce or fish sauce for a more amazing taste.


Oyster Omelet


8. Deep-Fried Bananas – Kluay Tod

Street food Type: A snack for good mood

With so many spicy and heavy tastes above, you’ll be happy to know that Thailand is cradle of some fantastic desserts. They’re really wonderful after a big meal or simply for a snack. One such item is the deep-fried banana (Kluay Tod), which enjoys a high popularity among street food, especially in terms of children.

This kind of dessert, Crispy outside but warm and fragrant inside, can serve as one of the best energy suppliers and mood relievers.

Deep-Fried Bananas

Deep Fried Bananas


9. Thai Crepes – Khanom Beuang

Street food Type: A dessert or snack

Khanom Bueang also known as Thai crepes is one of the most popular street snacks in Thailand. These small crepes look a bit like tacos, but are essentially ones filled with coconut cream, combining crunchy with soft. They often also include an orange topping, with savoury and sweet options available.

The fresh ones hot off the griddle are crispy and so tempting. The crunchy base with the meringue and moderately sweet coconut shreds atop are perfect pairings. Really a must when you’re in Thailand!


Thai Crepes


10. I Tim Ka Ti – Ice cream

Street food type: A cooling dessert

Coconut ice cream, typical Thai, is made of a real coconut shell, coconut meat, peanuts, roasted nuts and other ingredients.

This icy treat is ideal to enjoy on a scorching hot day. It really hits the spot. Fresh tastes are guaranteed as it’s usually made daily. And the ice cream is super attractive for coconut lovers. It is served by scooping the ice cream balls into a coconut shell dotted by roasted nuts atop. Sometimes, it will get drenched with even more syrup. It is the kind of Thai street food that never let you down!


Thai Street Dessert - Coconut Ice Cream


11. Thai Spring Rolls – Poh Pia Tod

Street food type: A snack

In Thai cuisine, Thai spring rolls (Poh Pia Tod) are among the most popular and delicious of the hundreds of local dishes that locals and foreigner visitors alike enjoy. No matter cold spring rolls with fresh shrimp,meat and new season’s vegetables wrapped in rice paper or fried spring rolls with crunchy surface and fragrant filling ,this classic Thai food is known and loved by many people. Whatever kind you want it to be, it's fresh, delicious, healthy and one of the favorite Thai street food to eat. It’s best to be served with Thai chili sauce.


Spring Rolls


12. Thai Fried Chicken – Gai Tod

Street food type: A heavy snack

Every country has a passion for fried chicken. Asian countries are not different at all. And of course, step into Thailand and you’re going to see more fried chicken. But in Thailand, they give it that distinctly Thai twist that elevates the fried chicken eating experience to a totally new level. You’ll find plenty of street stalls as well as sit down restaurants with crispy fried chicken. What makes it so unique here is that it’s served with a slightly spicy sweet and sour dipping sauce. While you might be able to get fried chicken anywhere in the world, don’t pass it up in Thailand. You’ll love the juicy, crispy texture and the melding of flavors.


Thai Fried Chicken


13. Mango Sticky Rice – Khao Neeo Mamuang

Street food Type: A snack or light meal

The sweet ripe mango and the soft glutinous rice with elastic teeth make one of the favourite Thai street food, but this is still not enough. The authentic mango glutinous rice must be poured with fragrant fresh coconut milk. The glutinous rice soaked with coconut milk is sweet, together with the naturally sweet aroma of mango. Have a swallow, wow! You will be so amazed that a sweet snack like this doesn’t feel greasy at all! This is really the magic food that you can’t stop.


Mango Sticky Rice


14. Fried Insects – Ma Laeng Tod

Street food type: A snack

At first sight, you may be surprised but fried insects are regular at most Thai markets and are really beloved street food. Everything that creeps, crawls and hops is available. There are abundant insects to choose from while the common ones are crickets, worms, grasshoppers, and scorpions. Like Simba in the film-The Lion King, many people are disgusted at the thought of eating bugs, but at last find them really tasty when they dare to have a try. The insects themselves don’t have a lot of taste, but they’re crispy after the process of frying, full of protein and normally cooked with salt and chili to give them some richer flavors. Although not cheap snacks, fried insects are really worth your try when you are in Thailand.


Thai Fried Insects


15. Thai Green Curry (Gang Kiew Wan Gai)

Street food Type: A meal

One of the most famous and sought after street food in Thailand is Thai green curry. This curry with an unforgettable blend of delights include green curry paste, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chicken, Thai basil, Thai eggplant and the ever present herbs and roots of Thai cuisine (lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves etc.). It is usually prepared quite soupy so a plate of rice is necessary to sop up every delicious drop.


Thai Green Chicken Curry


Tips for Trying Street Food in Thailand

  • An ideal place to start for street food would be in the market, where you will find some of the most popular street food with delicious tastes.
  • Check the food stalls first when they prepare their food in order to judge which one makes the safest food. Stick with bubbling boiling soups, freshly fried Pad Thai, and meat that has been grilled right in front of you. But avoid anything that looks like it’s been sitting around in the sun and humidity for quite a long time.
  • It's a smart and reasonable to do in Rome as the Romans do. You go where the locals usually go. Always the locals know the food better than visitors.
  • Remember to bring cash! Only cash is acceptable. Small notes such as 20, 50 or 100 THB is preferable.
  • There are picture menus for most street stalls. You may also ask someone to help you since a lot of Thai speak decent English and are ready to help.
  • Facing street food made right in front of you, please feel free to customize your order while vendors will be happy to satisfy you request if you dislike certain ingredients or have allergies.
  • Last but not least, confirm the grade of spiciness. Remember some key words: spicy = pet, no spicy = mai pet, little bit spicy = pet nit noi.


Spicy Thai Street Food


Best Thai street food in Bangkok

Have you ever imagined that any street vendor can get a Michelin Star? Yes, it’s not a legend. You can find it in Bangkok! Named Raan Jay Fai, it is located a bit north of Chinatown and quite close to Grand Palace.Wanna to try some Thai street food awarded with a Michelin Star? You have to make a reservation at least 3 months in advance. Without a reservation, of course you can queue in line. However, the terrific Thai street food deserves your waiting.


Dishes of Raan Jay Fai


Please try the street food in Thailand!

Thai people are really food lovers and enjoy their yummy street food all the time. Their unique cuisine is one of the most shining treasures in the world. This is proved by so many Thai restaurants in different parts of the world. Thai food has achieved the perfect balance between spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and strong flavors due to natural and fresh ingredients used. We strongly hope that you try and enjoy the wide range of dishes we recommended.