Thai Street Food – The Best Of
Thai Street Food culture is a tourist attraction in itself. On almost every corner, masterful chefs sell fresh, made-to-order food, spiced and flavored to personal taste. Thai Street Food has so many options it can be impossible to decide what to choose from and where.
Eating Thai Street Food is one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok.
It’s not hard to find a street corner with a row of carts lined up dishing out Thai meals like noodle soup, BBQ pork, fish cakes and delicious curries.
The good news is that eating Thai street food has many benefits to you as a traveler. It’s generally safe (you can see what’s being cooked and it’s fresh). You also get to interact with the locals. It’s authentic, delicious and the best way to give back to the local economy.
Thai 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 Thai street food 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.
Originating from Northeastern Thailand, this is a Thai Street Food specialty. It is an immensely popular snack or appetizer that is crunchy, light, and cooling—with of course, a kick of heat. Shredded, unripe papaya is tossed with a dressing of fish sauce, garlic, lime, and hot chilies. Sometimes dried shrimps are sprinkled on top.
Som-tam is a sweet, sour, spicy, salty salad. It is usually made from shredded green papayas, tomatoes, garlic, shrimp, peanuts and chili peppers. This is one of the most popular Thai street foods in Thailand. It can be found in almost any area where street food is sold. 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.
Thai Street Food – Pad Thai
Arguably the most well recognized Thai street food dish in the world. This wok-fried noodle dish was introduced to the kingdom only about 60 years ago due to national rice shortages. Today, it’s found on nearly every street corner in Bangkok, made fresh and adjusted to personal tastes.
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. Most street food vendors that make stir fries also offer this delicious dish.
This Michelin rated street stall has been serving some of the city’s best Pad Thai since 1966. Easily recognizable from its near-permanent queue, Thais and tourists alike order its “Superb Pad Thai” en masse. Featuring enormous fresh prawns, crabmeat, squid, and mango. Its efficient chefs dole out portions quickly though, so don’t let the line put you off. Waiting times vary from 10 minutes to an hour, but the meal is worth it.
Thipsamai Pad Thai Restaurant
Location: 313 315 Maha Chai Rd, Khwaeng Samran Rat, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Bangkok, Thailand.
Contact: +66 2 226 6666
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, with eggs, Chinese broccoli or cabbage, and dark soy sauce are all added. The common meats used are beef, pork or chicken. Sometimes dried chili flakes, vinegar or both are added.
Try it in: Pia Restaurant (เปีย)
Located in: 21 Lat Phrao 64, Khwaeng Wang Thonglang, Khet Wang Thonglang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10310
Contact: 02-5390865, 02-9338131 or 02-5140958
Hoi Tod Chaw Lae
A regular Thai Street Food featured on a host of travel and food shows. This humble eatery keeps its quality high by focusing on two dishes: classic Pad Thai and the more Singaporean-styled oyster omelet. Located about 200 meters from the Thonglor BTS station. It’s easy to find and recently opened up an air-conditioned dining space to accommodate its sustained popularity.
8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Hoi Tod Chaw Lae Restaurant
Location: 25 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana Bangkok, Thailand
Kuay Teow, or noodle soup, is a very 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.
Toy Kuay Teow Reua Restaurant
Location: 108/3, Ratchawithi 18, Thung Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Doy Kuay Teow Reua Boat Noodles
Just a short walk from the famous boat noodle alley at Victory Monument is this humble eatery. Here you will be served high-quality, authentic boat noodles away from the throngs of tourists. Thick and rich, each bowl comes packed with meats and spices saturated in an intensely-flavored broth. Paired with fried pork skins and crispy wonton wrappers to soak up the remaining soup.
Doy Kuay Teow Reua Restaurant (ต้อยก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ)
Address: Ratchawithi Soi 18 (Wat Makok), Thanon Ratchawithi, Bangkok 10400
Open Hours: Daily from 8 am – 6 pm
In operation for more than 80 years, this establishment swears by its secret recipe handed down through generations. Used by the current owner’s mother-in-law during her time working in the royal kitchen. The shop sources its fresh ingredients from the best areas in Thailand. Like rice from Chiang Rai, coconuts from Chumphon, and sugar from Kanchanaburi.
Natthaphon Coconut Ice-cream Restaurant
Phraeng Phuthon Rd, Khwaeng San Chao Pho Sua, San Chaopho Suea
Contact: +66 89 826 5752
Moo ping, or grilled pork skewers, is another hugely popular Thai 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 Thai street food vendor has his or her own recipe for the marinade, but it’s usually sweet and garlicky.
Hidden among the labyrinth of food haven Chinatown, Chong Kee rose to the status of local legend as the kitchen of Vichai Lumlerokit. A chef who has barbecued for the royal family—so you know the quality spares no expense. Satay is available on almost any street corner in Bangkok. The dry meat and MSG-coated sticks pale in comparison to Chong Kee’s tender, smoky snacks. The pork or liver comes with a tart cucumber onion relish and sweet peanut sauce to deliver a uniquely Thai-Chinese taste. This Thai Street Food can certainly be found everywhere.
Chong Kee Restaurant
Location: 84, Soi Sukhon 1 Lane, Talat Noi Samphanthawong market, behind Yontrakit Showroom, Talat Noi Sub-District, Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, Thailand
Phone Number: +66 2 236 1171
Thaew Dam Gaeng Bawd
Going back to the sweet side for a minute, you might find this Thai dessert strange if you’ve not spent much time in Asia. Beans are often used as the dessert in this part of the world, from China to Thailand, to Malaysia and beyond.
Looking through a Western lens, however, Thaew Dam Gaeng Bawd, which literally means “Black Beans in Coconut Milk”. It is a far cry from your typical black bean soup, even if the preparation is essentially the same. Save for the skin of the beans in the Thai variation not being broken.
One point about this strange Thai street food is that it is important to note that it’s artificially sweetened.
Try it in: The Sixth Restaurant
Location: 6 Soi Tha Tien, Maharaj Road. Khet Phra Nakhon area near Wat Pho (reclining Buddha)
Opening hours: 10:30 – 17:30. Closed on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Called phanaeng curry in Thailand. This dish may be the most popular of the Thai curries and is known for its slightly sweeter and saltier taste. The curry paste is generally made with peanuts, salt, shrimp paste, shallot, chili peppers and galangal. It also includes lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime zest, cumin seeds, and coriander roots and seeds. They all provide this Thai Street Food its unique flavor.
Panang curry is a type of red curry and typically serves with beef (beef phanaeng) or chicken (panang gai). It is enjoyed with vegetables or tofu. When ordering, remember to specify your spice level. Although this Thai street food dish isn’t usually that spicy.
Try it in: Krua Apsorn Restaurant
Green Curry—Kaeng Khiao Wan
Literally translated as “sweet green curry,”. Kaeng Khiao wan is one of Thailand’s most interesting and unexpected curries. Perfect for those not accustomed to Thai street food flavors. The base flavors, in addition to the coconut milk and chilies, come from a combination of fresh cilantro and basil. Thai green curry is a little sweeter than most other Thai curries. It can be eaten with rice or a freshly cooked roti.
Hailing from central Thailand, green curry is made with coconut milk, palm sugar, green curry paste, and fish sauce. The main protein for green curry is usually fish balls, pork, beef, or chicken. Preparation for green curry varies slightly by region of Thailand. Some regions even use Thai eggplant, pea aubergine, or other green vegetables and fruits to add to the flavor palette of the dish.
Try it in: Smooth Curry Restaurant
Location: 61 โรงแรม ดิ แอทธินี Wireless Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand.
“Thai Street Food – The Best Of” – Written by My Anh
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