Street food is everywhere in Thailand. Vendors set up stalls where you can get something to go or you can stop to enjoy a meal at the nearby tables and chairs. If you don’t know what street foods to order, it can be a little overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous though — you just might find a new favorite dish to make back home. Here are some popular Thai street food dishes to look for during your trip.
1. Som Tam
Somtam, a sweet, sour, spicy, salty salad made from shredded green papayas, tomatoes, garlic, shrimp, peanuts and chili peppers is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand. You can find it in almost any area with street food. The flavor combination might not be familiar, but it’s delicious, refreshing and healthy. Most Thais like their som tam spicy, so when ordering, make sure to ask for a mild version if needed.
2. Noodle Soup
Guay Teow, or noodle soup, is the most popular Thai street food dish. It comes from China (hence the Chinese name) but has become uniquely Thai through the years. The soup is made from a chicken, pork or beef stock, and the noodles are either rice noodles or egg noodles (you get to pick). Most vendors throw in some vegetables and either sliced meat, meatballs or wontons. So how is it uniquely Thai? Condiments such as dried chili peppers, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce are added.
3. Pad Thai
Everyone knows pad Thai, the country’s famous stir-fried noodle dish with shrimp, tofu and a hint of tamarind. Pad Thai isn’t as popular in Thailand as it is abroad, but most street food vendors that make stir fries also offer the dish.
4. Pad See Ew
Like pad Thai, pad see ew is a safe choice. It’s also not that spicy and actually has a bit of sweetness to it. Wide rice noodles are stir-fried, and then eggs, Chinese broccoli or cabbage, and dark soy sauce are added. The common meats used are beef, pork or chicken. Sometimes dried chili flakes, vinegar or both are added.
5. Kai Jeow
Kai jeow is one of the most common and cheapest items at Thai street food vendors. It’s an omelet served over rice with a fluffy inside and crispy outside that’s a great option for breakfast. Fish sauce, chili sauce, and chilies are added to it.
6. Grilled Meats
Moo ping, or grilled pork skewers, is another hugely popular street food, but it’s not just skewers of pork you’ll find being grilled on the street. There’s also grilled chicken and even sometimes grilled buffalo. Every street food vendor has his or her own recipe for the marinade, but it’s usually sweet and garlicky.
7. Poh Pia Tod
One food you may have tried back home are spring rolls. Vendors usually cut them into smaller pieces making them easier to eat while on the go. Depending on the vendor, different ingredients used include meat, rice noodles or vegetables. Fresh spring rolls (pa pia sod) are also delicious but much healthier because they’re not deep fried.
8. Thai Desserts
Thai street food is convenient, but it can be indulgent, too. You’ll find plenty of sweets and desserts being sold alongside the noodles and grilled meats. Mango sticky rice is only available in busy areas, but you can always find fresh fruit, fried bananas, and Thai sweets.