Street Food Stories from Thailand
It feels that I have exhausted the world of street food in Thailand these days, which is understandable given it was the main focus of this site for a good three years. So Thai Street Food is something I’ve not really revisited in a while, however it will always be a huge part of my life in Thailand, given I eat street food pretty much daily. However my Thai street food favourites haven’t really changed much since back when I began sharing the staples of Bangkok Street Food although I occasionally go for Kana (Chinese broccoli) with my Moo Grob (Deep Fried Pork Belly) over the usual Kaprao Moo Grob (Deep Fried Pork Belly with Holy Basil). And while I will always love Khao Soi curry (curry noodle soup) I often opt instead for a Kuay Teow Tom Yum (Hot and Sour Noodles) with ‘Ba Mee’ egg noodles. Or at least when I’m not in the north eating Lanna food. Otherwise my love for Nam Tok Moo (Laab with grilled pork neck), and Isaan Sausages, or anything from Northeastern cuisine really, has not changed. Oh, and it’s almost always Khao Man Gai (Hainanese Chicken Rice) at the food courts.
Street Food Favourites
To find a new angle to my Thai Street Food obsession, I have recruited the help of fellow travel bloggers and food fanatics to share their own street food experiences from Thailand. So what started loosely with the topic of “Thai Street Food”, which aimed for descriptive food bits, evolved into a more interesting article sharing varied aspects and experiences of Thai street food, which are different from my own. And what have I learnt? Well, Pad Thai isn’t only for Khaosarn Road. There’s some farang selling noodles in Chinatown. But most importantly, I found that Thai street food is seemingly endless and continuously evolving (although I have touched on this before) and of this list I can say that I have never in my life tried Thai Rolled Ice Cream. I also realised why they call the backpacker routes of Southeast Asia “The Banana Pancake Trail” and, while I aimed to avoid any duplicates in Thai street food, the terms crepe, roti, and pancake are pretty much interchangeable at times. Meaning we have three banana pancakes.
By Darlene of Point and Shoot Wanderlust: There is no doubt that Pad Thai is the most famous Thai food. And while you can easily get a steaming hot plate in the streets, it is also worth it to splurge for it especially at the restaurant well-known for having the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. Don’t be dissuaded by the queue outside the restaurant before its opening at 5 PM for it moves quickly. Their Pad Thai is cooked near the roadside, in hot woks over a charcoal stove that gives the dish, its distinct smoky flavour. Order the Pad Thai Haw Kai Goong Sot and you’ll be served with a plate of egg-wrapped stir-fried rice noodles with prawns and tofu. Placed in the tables are additional condiments for you to dress up your Pad Thai as you wish. They use the same recipe that has been handed down from generations and fresh ingredients. They even have strict standards for the wok and charcoal that they use. That quality is what earned them a Bib Gourmand from Michelin in 2017. Location: Thip Samai (Pad Thai Pratu Pi), 313 313 Thanon Mahachai, Phra Nakorn. 
By Priyanko of a Constant Traveller: In Bangkok’s Chinatown, what you serve depends largely on your ethnicity. The Chinese immigrants serve their cuisine while Thai citizens stick to the dishes they’ve had for generations. Hence, finding Samuel Montassier at the main corner of Bangkok’s Chinatown was a surprise like nothing else. Sam, as he likes to be called, makes a mean local dish called Pad Woon Sen. He first started as cashier in chief for his wife Maem’s stall and then moved up to cooking local dishes with Pad Woon Sen becoming his signature dish. The dish incorporated Thai glass noodles along with some spices and hot sauces plus some crunchy elements all tossed together in a wok for you to watch Sam’s theatrical way of cooking the dish for you. Sam definitely stands out between the Chinese and Thai stall owners but he’s such a friendly bloke that his fellow stall owners are all ready to serve you beer and anything else that he can’t provide. They even call him Farang Woon Sen, farang being the Thai word for foreigner. The dish itself is a testament to your tolerance for spice with Sam watching your reaction. It is an otherwise magnificent way of having dinner without filling yourself up. The dish is also a welcome change from the generic shark fin soups from Chinese stalls and Mango Sticky Rice from Thai vendors.
By Paul of Chow Traveller: For nearly 40 years a tiny shophouse has been dishing out delicious Kuay Teow Moo. It lacks an official name. Google Maps identifies it simply as the “Local Noodle Shop“. Locally it’s called Kuay Teow Pin Reua which translates to “climb the wall to get your rice noodles” because you must cross over a guardrail from the major street to get to it. It’s worth it! For a reasonable 50 baht, they serve bowls of clear bone broth, with egg or rice noodles, minced garlicky pork balls, sliced pork loin, liver, and intestine. Adjust the flavour with fish sauce, chilli flakes, ground peanuts, and vinegar condiments. Their savoury meatballs and rich broth will have you climbing the walls for more!
By Rae of Wide Eyed Views: The brightest and iciest dessert in Thailand. If you find yourself in South East Asia during the hot season (or any season) the chances are that you will be in need of a cooling dessert to offset the sweat-inducing weather and chilli infused Thai foods. Nam Kang Sai is just such a dessert. Made of shaved ice and coconut milk, a 40baht bowl hits all the major food groups with its multicoloured accompaniments! Kidney beans, melon balls and gummy bears; taro, water chestnut and jammy squash; chia seeds, barley and lotus root … or any other combination of colourful, tasty and often unrecognisable fruits, sweets, pulses and veggies you can imagine can be found in dessert shops all over Thailand. The place of the moment as far as the Chiang Mai locals seem to be concerned is The K plus Nam Kang Sai Shop on Chang Moi Road, Amphoe Mueang. A nod to both vintage decor and UV colour schemes adds to the sweetness of the dessert and the unassuming, friendly vibe of the place. There are seats and tables inside the cafe as well as outside on the street and smiling young staff wearing green and red butchers aprons with straw hats will keep your iced tea cup topped up as you plough through your delicious bowl of this sugary, nutty and psychedelically visual feast!
By Racheal from Explorernations: If you ever had a Southern Thai friend, Khua Kling is probably their first recommendation for you to try. This dish is commonly known to the heart and soul of Southern Thai cuisine and it’s pretty commonly found in the South. Usually, this dish is made from minced pork but alternatively with beef. It’s meat stir-fried in high heat with homemade dry curry paste. Although this dish is distinctively different from green curries or red curries you’ll find all over Thailand, this dish is equally flavorful and definitely addictive too. The highlight of this dish is definitely the curry paste that incorporated a plethora of local herbs and spices. Unlike any other curries, the flavour mostly came from pounded local ingredients like galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, chillies, garlic, shrimp paste and ginger roots. It is strong in flavour and it’s a perfect combination to eat with a bowl of rice.
By Thomas Mathys of Trip Gourmets: During our 2 months in Chiang Mai, we discovered one of our absolute favourite Thai street snacks ever during a Thai market tour: Kap Moo Nam Prik Noom. This delicious and low-carb alternative to potato chips consists of two parts. First, there are the crispy deep-fried pork rinds (Kap Moo) which are full of rich pork flavour. Then there is also the spicy green chilli sauce (Nam Prik Noom), in which you dip the pork rinds. The chilli sauce consists mainly of green chillies, shallots, cilantro and garlic. The best way to get this delicious snack is from a market, where they are freshly made. If you’re in Chiang Mai, we recommend getting them from the Thanin Market or the Bumrung Buri Market.
By Kaila Yu of The Nom List: On a journey into Chinatown in Bangkok, I began to get a rumble in my belly. I knew I had to find something good to eat, and fast-I needed to explore with a clear head! The seafood here in Chinatown is super fresh, meaning you are setting yourself up for a great meal. I looked all over the streets as I strolled along and came upon a lovely place called R&L Seafood. I could smell the smell of chefs hard at work and fish cooking and it was basically heaven to me. I ordered some grilled prawns and immediately knew I had made the right choice. When the server handed them over it was all I could do to not eat like a wild animal.
By Alice of Teacake Travels: For the ultimate foodie street to go all out and whole hog on, I highly recommend heading to the local street of Phetchburi Soi 10 in Bangkok. There isn’t usually another foreigner in sight. As you enter the street, you’ll see plenty of pots and pans bubbling and steaming with spicy soups, delicious bites grilled on sticks and deep-fried goodies. And they are all hot, fresh and going quick as the locals come here swiftly to get their fill and sweep the food away on their bikes. For the ultimate mouth-popping experience here though, I recommend heading to a stall with the tiny deep-fried crabs. In Thai, these small succulent critters are called Poo-Kra-Toy. They’re crunchy, salty, and the perfect Thai answer to a Brit’s need for fish and chips. The key is not to nibble on them – just devour them individually in one go!
By Eileen from Pure Wander: While I fell in love with Thailand on whole and some of it’s more rural areas – I think the best food is found in Bangkok. This is especially true in the small markets found tucked away between narrow neighbourhoods, including the Nang Loeng Market. There you’ll find lots of old Thai specialities not seen on the main drags covered in food carts. My favourite is the fresh spring rolls – handmade every day. They’re soft and not fried like you usually find, stuffed with greens, carrots and pork sausage. You can get one that fills a whole take-out box for about $1 USD.
By Jen and Stevo from Two Can Travel: Hor Mok is a popular Thai dish that is as beautiful as it is delicious. It has roots in Khmer and Indian cuisine, but the flavours of Hor Mok are distinctly Thai. It is made with fish, coconut milk, red curry paste, and fresh herbs. The mixture is placed inside a cup made of banana leaves and steamed. It is topped with coconut cream and a pretty garnish of julienned red chilli and fresh coriander. You will see it all around Bangkok once you know to look for it! One place you can find it is in the Ruam Sab Market food court between the Sukhumvit and Petchaburi MRT stations. It costs around 40 Baht.
By Nicole from Travelgal Nicole: Sticky mango rice is a staple in Thailand and can be found in most street food markets around Thailand but my favourite was at the Chiang Mai Gate night food market. The classic Thai dessert khao niaow ma muang) can be described only one way, Heavenly. It’s the most famous of all Thai desserts, and so very scrumptious. It is made by cooking the rice in coconut milk and sugar and then adding mango on the side. The rice is a special type of sweet rice that turns sticky when you cook it hence the name.
By Nancy of enSquaredAired: Kanom Krok are delicious Thai coconut pancakes that will make your stomach happy while not leaving a big dent on your wallet. You can find these delicious treats in almost any night market in Thailand. What’s interesting is that texture of the pancake. You will find that these bite-sized snacks are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. In fact, the texture is akin to a coconut custard. You can find different varieties as well, such as green onion, corn or taro that’s used as toppings.
By Gina of Jet Set and Forget: One of the best (and spiciest) dishes you can find on the streets of Thailand is Khao Soi. This dish is typically found in the Northern part of Thailand. It is a soup-like dish made with a mix of deep-fried egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime and chilli which is all fried in a coconut curry sauce. The Khao Soi pictured was ordered with chicken. The portion of the meat is much smaller then you are used to in the States and Europe, as the star of the dish is the noodles and sauce. You can find this dish served on the street at Khao Soi Mae Sai in Chiang Mai served with chopsticks and free drinking water.
By Veronika of Travel Geekery: Behind the name Kuay Teow Kua Gai hides an amazing Thai noodle dish. Unlike e.g. Pad Thai, it’s quite unknown to tourists. Essentially it consists of stir-fried wide rice noodles with chicken and an egg cracked open in the last minute of frying. It may sound simple, but it’s one of the most delicious Thai street foods I’ve tried! Getting a good Kuay Teow Kua Gai might not be too easy, unless you know where to go. I had the dish on a food tour in Bangkok. In Phlap Phla Chai area in Bangkok just North of Yaowarat Road, there’s a back street so narrow that two people can hardly pass at the same time. That’s where local street chefs make Kuay Teow Kua Gai magic in their woks over an open fire. You have to come there in the evening, though.
By Sarah and Justin of Travel Breathe Repeat: Our favourite place to eat street food in Thailand was not actually on the street, but at the Pier 21 food court in the Terminal 21 mall in Bangkok. Terminal 21 is a great place for first-time visitors to try Thai street food because there are English translations and the (extremely reasonable) prices are clearly listed. One of the most interesting dishes we ate there was the Hoi Tod, which is essentially a fried pancake filled with mussels. We tried it at the stall bearing the same name, which is always a good sign. The mussels were juicy; the pancake was crispy; the egg and greens (onions and herbs) rounded out the dish. Be warned, it’s pretty greasy and quite filling, so either come hungry or get it to share. At the time of our visit in 2017, a plate of Hoi Tod was 50 THB.
By Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World: One of the unmissable things to do in Bangkok is gorging on all the delicious street food. When it comes to food, the Thai capital has a lot to offer. Besides, eating street food is a great way to learn more about the culture and way of life of the country and its people. The best place to visit for street food is Chinatown. Food that can be tried includes a couple of noodle dishes – the best one is a dish of egg and glass noodles with shrimps, chicken and eggs, which taste even better if accompanied by the local lager beer. Other must-tries are seafood such as grilled squid and scallop; and the unmissable stuffed ravioli.
By Gloria Apara of Nomadic Chica: Thailand is one of my favourite places to travel because is perhaps one of the best foodies destinations. Food is available everywhere and especially street food is safe, cheap and delicious! One of my favourite preparations is Roti, the Thai version of crepes. They can be found in several places around Bangkok, Chiang Mai and any major city. Despite not being the lightest preparation they are simple and so tasty that the extra calories are totally worth it. They prepare everything in the minute and the fried dough can be topped with sugar, eggs, banana, Nutella and many more depending on the chef’s preferences. They are soft and crispy at the same time, and very hot but I love to get them in the evening as a snack after a long walk at Chatuchak Market or whenever I see a Roti guy! I usually get them with egg and banana and they cost around 30bath.
By Michelle of Intentional Travellers: Fresh fruit smoothies are ubiquitous in Thai street markets. One of our favourites places to get them is from Miss Pa’s stand at the Chiang Mai Gate night market. The smoothies are just 20 or 25 baht (about 60 cents), depending on what fruit you get. You can choose from any combination of fruits that she has set out that day – mango, papaya, passion fruit, apple, banana, pineapple. Or ask her to surprise you with a combination she recommends. Be sure to specify if you want it without added sugar, as a scoop of simple syrup is a standard addition at most smoothie stalls. Either way, a fruit smoothie is a delicious way to cool off from the heat and enjoy the region’s tropical bounty!
By Rosalind Cuthbertson of Frequent Traveller: There are so many great shop house, street food and food court venues across Chiang Mai but one of my favourites would have to be on Sirimangkalajarn Road, just down from Nimmanhaemin Lane 5 in Chiang Mai. I can’t tell you the name of the restaurant because it is written in Thai but every morning the place is hopping with locals waiting to pick up their morning breakfast of Gao Lao soup and rice, a specialty of this family-run shophouse. Gao Lao soup is made with a pork broth, a range of pork products which include pork sausage, chopped crispy roast pork, pork meats and liver. The pork broth is ladled over a bed of Lettice and the pork meats and half a boiled egg are added. Chilli and sugar are served separately which is a plus for those who don’t like spicy food. Gao Lao is a filling soup and a great way to start the day.
By Patrick Horsfield of Adventographer: When thinking of Thai street food most people go directly to noodles or soups completely overlooking one of my favourite dishes. On offer in nearly any town or city in Thailand, this doughy cross between a crepe and an omelette, the Roti (or Thai Pancake) is a staple to locals and tourists alike! Topped with fresh fruit, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk or simply cinnamon and sugar the Roti is a crowd-pleaser. As an evening treat or the perfect breakfast on your way the best beaches in Thailand, the versatile Thai Pancake is something you must experience during your visit. Take it from a connoisseur, the Banana & Nutella Roti is to die for!
- ^ Bangkok Street Food (www.live-less-ordinary.com)
- ^ Lanna food (www.live-less-ordinary.com)
- ^ Northeastern cuisine (www.live-less-ordinary.com)
- ^ Khao Man Gai (Hainanese Chicken Rice) (www.live-less-ordinary.com)
- ^ although I have touched on this before (www.live-less-ordinary.com)
- ^ The Banana Pancake Trail (en.wikipedia.org)
- ^ best Pad Thai in Bangkok (pointandshootwanderlust.com)
- ^ Farang Woon Sen (www.constanttraveller.com)
- ^ Kuay Teow Moo (www.chowtraveller.com)
- ^ Wide Eyed Views (wideeyedviews.com)
- ^ celebrating New Year’s Eve in Bangkok with our toddler (www.flipflopglobetrotters.com)
- ^ Chiang Rai’s Night Bazaar (www.kaveyeats.com)
- ^ Explorernations (www.explorernations.com)
- ^ Thai market tour (tripgourmets.com)
- ^ The Nom List (www.nomlist.com)
- ^ Teacake Travels (www.teacaketravels.com)
- ^ best food is found in Bangkok (purewander.com)
- ^ Two Can Travel (twocantravel.com)
- ^ Travelgal Nicole (www.nicolelabarge.com)
- ^ Thailand (karolinapatryk.com)
- ^ enSquaredAired (www.ensquaredaired.com)
- ^ Northern part of Thailand (www.jetsetandforget.com)
- ^ Thai street foods (www.travelgeekery.com)
- ^ Terminal 21 mall in Bangkok (www.travelbreatherepeat.com)
- ^ things to do in Bangkok (www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com)
- ^ Chatuchak Market (www.nomadicchica.com)
- ^ Intentional Travellers (intentionaltravelers.com)
- ^ Travelynn Family (travelynnfamily.com)
- ^ Horizon Unknown (horizonunknown.com)
- ^ Frequent Traveller (www.frequenttraveller.com.au)
- ^ best beaches in Thailand (www.adventographer.com)