Say ‘Aroi’ as you stroll along the streets of Thailand while fixing your Thai cuisine cravings! Considered as a haven for foreign backpackers, Thailand is known for its cheap yet mouth-watering street food that is rich in its unique flavors and authenticity. From the highly-crowded and lively places such as the Khaosan Road in Bangkok to the mysterious and jaw-dropping architecture of several religious ruins in Pattaya, one can never resist making a stop at a street food stall or a vibrant food kiosk around Thailand. Curious about what you can devour on your visit to this Southeast Asian country? Here’s a list of satisfying Thai street food to keep you full while discovering 'The Land of Smile’.
1. Pad Kra Pao (Stir-Fry Basil)
This cuisine is usually served with steamed rice and a crispy sunny-side up egg. It is perfect for a lunchtime snack, if not for any meal of the day. A stir-fried dish colored and seasoned with soy sauce and mainly consisting of minced chicken or pork, red and green chilies, and the star of the recipe, Thai basil.
Top Tip: Type of minced meat changes from Pad Kra Pao (Thai basil chicken) to Pad Kra Pao Nua (Thai basil beef) or Pad Kra Pao Moo (Thai basil pork).
2. Khao Pad (Fried Rice)
Like most Asian countries, Thais can have rice for every meal and having Khao Pad is a staple. One can consume this dish from morning to dinner time. A simple dish with bits of everything from meat and veggies seasoned with herbs and spices to suit the common taste buds. It is usually served with cucumber and tomatoes on the side to complete an appetizing meal.
Top Tip: Know what mix you want for your rice. Khao Pad Poo for crab, Khao Pad Gai for chicken and so on.
3. Khao Kha Moo (Braised Pork Leg)
Boiled in a special broth for a juicy and tender texture, this stewed pig’s leg is a comfort food to consider when in Thailand. Pour it over steamed rice, a side dish of hard-boiled egg and green leafy veggies for one complete heavy meal.
Top Tip: Say “mai ow nang” to the vendor if you’re not a fan of fat and pork skin.
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4. Pad Thai Kung (Stir-Fry Noodles)
Stir-fry noodles are the national food of Thailand. It will always top the best street food when you visit the Land of Smile and your trip will never be complete without eating it. A combination of noodles, tofu, seafood, meat, and veggies makes a distinct fusion of taste in your mouth that is very unique in Pad Thai.
Top Tip: Central Thailand is home to the stir-fry noodles, including Pad Thai.
5. Kai Jeow (Thai-Style Omelet)
Browned and crispy omelet seasoned with fish sauce, chilies, and sprinkled with green onions and herbs creates the magic for this affordable street food in Thailand. It is perfect for any time of the day and is combined with rice for an easy meal.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to ask for the sweet chili sauce!
6. Sai Ooah (Northern Thai Sausage)
This iconic dish from Northern Thailand is a flavorful sausage with a mixture of minced pork, dried chilies, herbs and spices, and fermented shrimp paste. This mixture is stuffed in pork intestine and grilled. It is most likely salty to taste and you will surely ask for extra rice if you are having a meal.
Top Tip: The dish originated in Chiang Mai and is traditionally eaten with Nam Phrik Num, a combination of grilled chilies and eggplant salsa.
7. Kluay Tod (Fried Bananas)
Like any other South-East Asian country, Thailand is rich in banana plantations and plantain dishes are common street food. Coated in a special mixture of flour, deep-fried until golden brown, and sprinkled with sesame seeds and desiccated coconuts, Kluay Tod is perfect for an appetizer or snacks while walking around Thailand.
Top Tip: Burro Banana, which is the most common variety in Thailand, is the type of banana traditionally used for Kluay Tod.
8. Pla Pao (Salt-Grilled Fish)
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Stuffed with lemongrass and kafir lime leaves, white fish (usually snakehead fish) is coated with coarse salt and grilled to perfection. Combined with sticky rice, this dish is particularly wonderful with a spicy sauce. But just say “mai pet” to let the vendor know that you don’t want too spicy serving.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to take off the skin before digging in!
9. Pad Kra Pao Moo (Stir-Fry Pork with Thai Basil)
Pork lovers will surely go for this dish especially if they are not a picky eater and will not mind the sharp flavor of Thai basil. Seasoned with soy sauce and stir-fried with chilies and minced pork, this dish is served with steamed rice and a sunny-side up egg. It is a perfect meal for any time of the day.
Top Tip: The rich runny yolk brings magic to this dish.
10. Pad See Eiw (Stir-Fry Soy Sauce Noodles)
If you want to branch out from Pad Thai, this dish is an excellent option! With bits of pork, chicken or beef, flat rice noodles are stir-fried in a dark soy sauce together with vegetables, egg, herbs, and spices. Make sure to inform the vendor about how much spiciness you can handle, for you to really enjoy this comforting noodle dish.
Top Tip: It’s a Chinese food cooked in a Thai style.
Dare your taste buds for new flavors in Thailand!
Drooling over Thai cuisine? There are lots of things to do and see in The Land of Smile. A visit to this food haven is not complete without tasting their unique cuisine and the wide variety of exotic flavors. Be bold and discover some, if not all, of the street food that is readily available in every nook and cranny of Thailand’s streets. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you, the weather and the food will surely make you thirsty.
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