Top 20 Thailand Street Food You Should Try
Thailand is a paradise for food lovers, especially for those who enjoy street food. Street food is a quintessential part of Thai culture and cuisine, offering a variety of dishes that are delicious, affordable, and convenient. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know what to try first? To help you out, we have compiled a list of the top 20 Thai street food that you should try at least once in your life. These are some of the most popular and iconic dishes that represent the diversity and richness of Thai street food.
1. Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
Som Tam is a refreshing and spicy salad made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, green beans, garlic, chilies, peanuts, dried shrimp, lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It is pounded in a mortar and pestle to release the flavors and juices of the ingredients. Som Tam is a staple dish in northeastern Thailand (Isaan), but it is also popular throughout the country. It can be eaten as a side dish or as a main course with sticky rice and grilled chicken.
2. Pad Thai (Thai-Style Fried Noodles)
Pad Thai is probably the most famous and widely available street food dish in Thailand. It is a stir-fried noodle dish that can be made with chicken, shrimp, tofu, or vegetables, and seasoned with tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and chili. The noodles are topped with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and scallions, and served with a wedge of lime. Pad Thai is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors that will make you crave for more.
3. Moo Ping (Grilled Pork Skewers)
Moo Ping is one of the most common and delicious snacks that you can find on the streets of Thailand. It is made from thin slices of pork marinated in soy sauce, garlic, coriander roots, pepper, and sugar, and then grilled over charcoal until charred and juicy. Moo Ping is usually served with sticky rice and a spicy dipping sauce made from vinegar, sugar, chili flakes, and roasted rice powder.
4. Khao Soi (Curry Noodle Soup)
Khao Soi is a signature dish of northern Thailand (Chiang Mai), influenced by Burmese cuisine. It is a rich and creamy curry noodle soup made from coconut milk, red curry paste, chicken or beef, and egg noodles. The soup is garnished with crispy fried noodles, pickled mustard greens, red onions, lime wedges, and chili oil. Khao Soi is a hearty and satisfying dish that will warm you up on a cold day.
5. Pad Kra Pao (Stir-Fried Basil)
Pad Kra Pao is a simple but flavorful dish that consists of minced pork or chicken stir-fried with garlic, chilies, and holy basil leaves. It is seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar to create a savory and spicy sauce that coats the meat. Pad Kra Pao is usually served over rice with a fried egg on top. This dish is so popular that you can find it in almost every street stall or restaurant in Thailand.
7. Khanom Krok (Coconut Rice Pancakes)
Khanom Krok is a sweet and savory snack that is made from a batter of rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. The batter is cooked in a special cast-iron pan with small round indentations, creating bite-sized pancakes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Khanom Krok can be filled with various toppings, such as corn, taro, spring onion, or pumpkin. They are best eaten hot and fresh from the pan.
8. Sai Oua (Northern Thai Sausage)
Sai Oua is a type of grilled sausage that originates from northern Thailand (Chiang Mai). It is made from minced pork mixed with herbs and spices, such as lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, chili, and turmeric. The mixture is stuffed into hog casings and then grilled over charcoal until golden and aromatic. Sai Oua is usually served with sticky rice and fresh vegetables, or sliced and eaten as a snack.
9. Roti (Thai-Style Pancake)
Roti is a thin and flaky pancake that is influenced by Indian cuisine. It is made from wheat flour, water, oil, and salt, and cooked on a hot griddle until crispy and brown. Roti can be eaten plain or with various fillings, such as banana, chocolate, cheese, egg, or condensed milk. Roti is a popular dessert or breakfast item that can be found in many street stalls or carts.
10. Tom Yum (Hot and Sour Soup)
Tom Yum is one of the most famous and beloved soups in Thai cuisine. It is a hot and sour soup that can be made with chicken, shrimp, fish, or mushrooms, and flavored with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili paste. Tom Yum is a spicy and refreshing soup that can stimulate your appetite and clear your sinuses. It can be eaten as a starter or as a main course with rice or noodles.
11. Moo Tod (Deep-Fried Pork)
Moo Tod is a simple but tasty dish that consists of deep-fried pork pieces coated in flour and seasonings. The pork can be marinated in garlic, pepper, soy sauce, or oyster sauce before frying to add more flavor. Moo Tod is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and can be eaten with rice or sticky rice and a dipping sauce made from vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili.
12. Khao Pad (Thai Fried Rice)
Khao Pad is a simple but satisfying dish that consists of rice stir-fried with egg, onion, garlic, and your choice of meat or seafood. It is seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and sometimes ketchup or curry powder. Khao Pad is garnished with cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and cilantro, and served with a slice of lime and a small bowl of chili sauce. Khao Pad is a versatile dish that can be customized to your preference and taste.
13. Satay (Grilled Meat Skewers)
Satay is a popular snack that originated from Indonesia but has become a staple of Thai street food. It is made from thin strips of chicken, pork, beef, or tofu marinated in a mixture of coconut milk, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, and other spices, and then grilled over charcoal until tender and smoky. Satay is served with a peanut sauce that is sweet, spicy, and creamy, and a cucumber salad that is sour and refreshing.
14. Kanom Buang (Thai Crispy Pancake)
Kanom Buang is a traditional Thai dessert that resembles a thin and crispy crepe. It is made from a batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and eggs, and cooked on a hot griddle until golden and crisp. Kanom Buang can be topped with various fillings, such as shredded coconut mixed with sugar or salted egg yolk, whipped cream or custard, and chopped scallions or coriander. Kanom Buang is folded into a half-moon shape and eaten as a sweet or savory snack.
15. Tod Man Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)
Tod Man Pla is a delicious dish that consists of deep-fried fish cakes made from minced fish mixed with red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, green beans, and egg. The fish cakes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and have a spicy and fragrant flavor. Tod Man Pla is usually served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce made from vinegar, sugar, cucumber, shallots, peanuts, and chili.
16. Khao Niew Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice)
Khao Niew Ma Muang is one of the most popular and beloved desserts in Thai cuisine. It is made from sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar, topped with fresh mango slices and drizzled with coconut cream. The dessert is served warm or cold, depending on the season. Khao Niew Ma Muang is a perfect combination of sweet, creamy, and fruity flavors that will melt in your mouth.
17. Khao Kha Moo (Braised Pork Leg with Rice)
Khao Kha Moo is a succulent and flavorful dish that consists of pork leg braised in a broth of soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. The pork leg is cooked until the meat falls off the bone and the skin becomes gelatinous. Khao Kha Moo is served over rice with pickled mustard greens, boiled eggs, and chili vinegar. This dish is a favorite of many Thais, including the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
18. Khanom Jeen (Rice Noodles with Curry)
Khanom Jeen is a traditional Thai dish that consists of fresh or fermented rice noodles served with various types of curry. The curry can be made from fish, chicken, beef, or vegetables, and flavored with coconut milk, herbs, and spices. Some of the most common curries are nam ya (fish curry), nam ngiao (tomato and pork curry), and nam prik (chili paste). Khanom Jeen is usually eaten with fresh or pickled vegetables, such as bean sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, and long beans.
19. Khao Niew Ping (Grilled Sticky Rice)
Khao Niew Ping is a simple but satisfying snack that consists of sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and sugar, wrapped in banana leaves, and grilled over charcoal until fragrant and smoky. The sticky rice becomes slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Khao Niew Ping can be eaten plain or with various toppings, such as sesame seeds, peanuts, or dried fruits.
20. Khao Lam (Sticky Rice in Bamboo)
Khao Lam is a unique and delicious dessert that consists of sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes. The sticky rice is mixed with coconut milk, sugar, black beans, and salt, and then stuffed into bamboo sections that are sealed with banana leaves. The bamboo tubes are then roasted over fire until the rice is cooked and the bamboo is charred. Khao Lam can be eaten hot or cold by peeling off the bamboo and enjoying the sweet and sticky rice.