Street food is a delicacy that many people around the world enjoy. This type of food is always unique and reflects a lot about the culture and its hallmark ingredients. While fine dining has its enchantment, it is always street food that captures the essence of a country, so we deem these local dishes unmissable. Today, we’re shedding light on the most popular Thai street food.
This list will be quite beneficial if you’re planning on flying to explore Thailand, for we curated all the Thai street food you should try out. There will be so much to see and do, but you’ll also need to grab a bite or two on the go to keep your energy intact. Besides, no one says no to good food and Thai street food is a real delight where you’ll get to sense the authenticity of Thai cuisine firsthand.
Give your taste buds the culinary journey of a lifetime, exploring the fascinating aspects of Asian cuisines while unlocking parts of its interesting history. We promise they will leave you craving for more.
Satay is one of the most popular Thai street foods. You won’t help but notice its aromatic smell filling the corners of every street. This dish features grilled meat seasoned with fish sauce, coconut milk, and curry paste. Pork and chicken are the most commonly used meat, but beef and tofu are often used as well. The dish is served with a side of creamy peanut dip that adds even extra flavour to the dish.
Although satay is one of the typical Thai street food, it’s known to be originally Indonesian. It later travelled throughout Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Malaysia, so don’t be surprised when you come across this dish during your Asian adventure.
2. Som Tam (Thai Green Papaya Salad)
Salads are pretty refreshing during the scorching days of summer. And since Thailand is usually hot all year-round, grabbing a salad dish can help refresh your body and keep you hydrated. Som Tam, or Thai Papaya Salad, is one of the famous Thai street food. It’s also one of the most loved salads around the world.
This dish features savoury and spicy flavours that speak loudly of Thai cuisine. Unlike dull, flavourless salads, these ones entertain your taste buds with their combination of fish sauce, toasted peanuts, shredded papaya, dried shrimp, and lime juice. All those elements unite and take your taste buds on an unforgettable culinary journey.
3. Khao Pad (Fried Rice)
Rice is known for being a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine, and Thailand is no exception. It stars in several Thai street food dishes as the main element, blending with other items to offer a delectable meal. The plate features rich mixed egg, fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy, spring onion, garlic, lime, and chilli.
It is an authentic representation of Thai cuisine’s primary flavours, which are often salty, spicy, and sweet. While it’s often mistaken for the traditional Chinese fried rice dish, Khao Pad is prepared differently, whereas Thai Jasmine rice is used. It tops the list of the most popular Thai street food that captures the attention of tourists from all corners of the globe.
4. Gai Tod (Thai Fried Chicken)
Fried chicken is a delicacy enjoyed by people from every part of the world. Gai Tod features a deep-fried chicken dish that is sort of an obsession among Thai people. You will realise street vendors and carts scattered on every side, luring you with this aromatic Thai street food. The dish is laden with delectable flavours and has a crunchy feel that makes it even tastier.
What makes the taste of the chicken stand out is how it’s marinated. It combines oyster sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and basil. You surely have figured it by now that fish and oyster sauces are the secrets behind these flavour Thai dishes.
5. Khao Man Gai (Chicken and Rice)
Khao Man Gai is a popular Thai street food, yet it shares its origin with other Asian countries, including China, Malaysia, and Singapore. It’s commonly referred to as Hainanese chicken rice, believing that Hainan immigrants were the ones to bring it to China before it reached the rest of Asia.
It’s one of the local dishes that you can also see featured in fine restaurants, thanks to its unparalleled taste. Khao man gai is also among the few Thai dishes that don’t feature a blend of twisted spices or intense flavours. The delicious plate features seasoned rice with poached chicken along with cucumber and chilli sauce garnishes.
6. Kai Jeow (Thai Omelette)
Kai Jeow is an omelette, yet it’s not the regular omelette that you’re used to having for breakfast every day unless you are Thai. Kai Jeow, a delectable pan-fried omelette, tantalises the taste buds with its harmonious blend of captivating flavours. This Thai culinary delight traditionally accompanies fragrant rice, vibrant scallions, and a drizzle of zesty Sriracha sauce.
Explore the deliciousness of this dish that we promise is prepared with exceptional skill. Each bite of this Thai street food offers a symphony of sensations that will transport you to the bustling street markets of Thailand.
7. Pad See Ew (Wide Rice Noodles)
Pad See Ew is a delightful Thai street food and a true culinary gem cherished throughout Thailand. This dish has tantalising flavours and textures featuring a mouthwatering stir-fried noodle creation that has captured the hearts of food lovers around the world. Little do people know that its roots can be traced back to China, where the art of noodle stir-frying was first embraced.
It’s time you journey through the bustling streets of Thailand and indulge in the enchanting aromas as street food vendors skilfully craft this authentic and beloved dish. Alternatively, you can savour the delectable taste and rich history of Pad See Ew in Thai restaurants scattered all across the globe.
8. Moo Ping (Grilled Pork)
Pork is a prominent item used in many dishes as well as Thai street food. Moo, ping is one of the most popular foods you will see on the streets of Thailand. It features delicious skewers that embrace flavourful seasoned sliced pork that is grilled to perfection. The pork is marinated in a sauce featuring sweet and sour elements and cooked over an open flame.
The term “moo ping” translates to pork grilled over fire. You will get to see your meal freshly grilled before your eyes while its mouthwatering aroma fills the air, leaving your taste buds screaming in joy and begging for more.
9. Ma Laeng Tod (Fried Insects)
One of the main traits you should embrace before venturing into different cultures is being open and accepting. This Thai street food is an authentic representation of how cultures can be different, where some fear insects while others have them for dinner. Ma laeng tod is a local dish that is not for the faint-hearted.
It’s an unusual dish that is only found in Asian cuisine. Insects turn out to be a rich source of protein that many Thai people rely on to get their daily nutritional needs. This insecty goodness is served alongside salad and flavourful sauces.
10. Pad Kra Pao Moo (Thai Basil Chicken/Pork)
Pad Krapao Moo is a famous Thai street food that many people are, surprisingly, familiar with. It’s among those street foods that somehow gain popularity around the world. This flavourful dish is a breakfast staple in Thailand, featuring ground pork that is usually served with eggs and steamed rice.
Although it’s known in other Asian countries, it usually takes on a spicy turn in Thai style. Krapao is a Thai term that means Holy basil, which is one of the main ingredients in this dish. The herb is originally Hindu, and it’s deemed one of the sacred herbs used in ritual practices in Hindi Mythology.
11. Poh Pia Tod (Spring Rolls)
Spring rolls have always been known as Chinese delicacies that have gained massive popularity around the world. However, their Thai version is known to be filled with more vegetables inside a sheer thin pastry. You can either have the vegetables raw or deep-friend, depending on your own preferences.
This delicacy is one of the famous Thai street food that you can also see filling the streets of Vietnam. The delectable Poh Pia Tod is served with a flavourful dipping sauce that adds an extra distinctive taste to keep your taste buds happy.
12. Khao Ka Moo (Stewed Pork and Rice)
Khao Kha Mu, also known as Kha Mu, is a prevalent and delicious Thai street food that draws inspiration from the rich flavours of Chinese cuisine. This culinary masterpiece combines tender stewed pork with a sensational seasoning condensed hot pottage. The final touch includes thinly sliced portions of the mouthwatering pork perfectly laid on a bed of fragrant steamed rice.
The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavours that will tantalise your taste buds and transport you to the bustling streets of Thailand. This fascinating Thai street food will take you on a culinary adventure, where you’ll enjoy savouring an irresistible delicacy.
13. Khao Niao Mamuang (Sticky Rice and Mango)
Indulge in the delightful world of Thai street food with the ever-popular mango sticky rice, commonly known as Khao Niao Mamuang. This delectable dessert can be found on every corner, captivating both locals and tourists alike. It features a dish of steamed rice infused with creamy coconut milk, resulting in a wonderfully sticky texture that explains the dessert’s name.
Complementing this delightful concoction are succulent mango slices, served alongside a generous drizzle of coconut milk that blends harmoniously with the entire dish. While this fascinating dessert’s origins remain unsurprisingly, Thailand is widely regarded as its birthplace. It has since gained immense popularity throughout different Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Liven you your trip around Asian countries by indulging in some of these indulgent Thai street food. These unmissable treats will leave you attached to this magnificent land, eagerly waiting for the next time you return.