As a food lover’s paradise, you’ll find some incredible dishes in Thailand… all you have to do is take to the streets! From bubbling pots of noodle soups and curries that you can sit down with the locals to enjoy, to sweet desserts you can munch on the go, the hardest part is choosing what to eat first! To get you started on your Thai culinary adventure, we’ve rounded up 13 of the most delicious street food dishes you have to try in Thailand.
Warning: Reading this will make you hungry!
1. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s most iconic dishes – and for good reason. The famous stir-fried dish is a culinary work of art that combines the sweet and savoury flavours of tamarind, peanuts, bean sprouts, fried egg and lime, all wok-tossed with noodles.
You can have it with meat like shrimp, or tofu for a vegetarian option, and you’ll find street food vendors whipping up this mouthwatering creation across the country. This is one divine dish you’ll crave long after you leave Thailand.
2. Som Tam
This popular salad is found in street food carts all over Thailand, and will quickly become your favourite option for a light, fresh dish. It’s made with shredded green papaya, carrots and tomatoes, then tossed in a flavour explosion of sugar, garlic, lime juice, peanuts and plenty of chillies.
The ingredients are mixed together using a pestle and mortar to create a juicy blend of tongue-tingling flavours. Be warned that this dish can get very spicy, so be sure to ask for it ‘mai pet’ (not spicy) if you can’t handle the heat.
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3. Khao Pad
Fried rice is a classic dish found from India to China to Indonesia – but the Thai version gives them all a run for their money. The main ingredient in khao pad (Thai fried rice) is fragrant jasmine rice that’s tossed with vegetables and a scrumptious mix of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and salt.
The best part? You can customise it however you like. Add a fried egg, or protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu. However you like it, you’re sure to keep coming back for more of this addictive dish.
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4. Massaman curry
Thailand is famed for its curries, and massaman has got to be one of the best. It’s a blend of Persian and Thai influences, made with coconut milk, potatoes, and protein like chicken, beef or tofu, all flavoured with bay leaves, tamarind sauce, cinnamon, sugar and roasted peanuts. It’s hearty and flavourful and there’s nothing better than eating it from the huge steaming pot of a street food vendor.
5. Khao Soi
You can’t miss trying out this Northern Thai culinary masterpiece on the streets of Chiang Mai. This rich curry noodle dish traditionally combines braised chicken in a coconut curry broth, with boiled egg noodles, shrimp paste, lashings of aromatics like chillies and lime, all topped with crispy noodles and pickled shallots. It’s utterly delicious and sure to be one of your most memorable foodie experiences.
6. Guay Teow
Guay teow, or noodle soup, is the most popular street food dish in Thailand. You’ll find big bubbling pots in Bangkok street food markets and across the country, with vendors ready to dish up a hot bowl of noodles, meat and broth. Like many Thai foods, there are many variations so it’s a bit different everywhere you eat it.
You can try it with rice noodles, egg noodles, chicken, pork or beef, and even wontons, vegetables or meatballs. However you like it, it’s always best topped with the classic Thai flavour combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and dried chillies. Warm and satisfying, guay teow is simply good for the soul.
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As you walk around the streets of Thailand, you’ll often see locals dropping in to food stalls or whizzing by on scooters to grab something to eat and go. One of the most popular takeaway foods is satay.
These mouthwatering skewers of meat are served with homemade peanut sauce that’s the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. You can choose from chicken, beef, pork, fish and even buffalo meat or tofu. One of the local favourites is Moo Ping, grilled pork satay.
8. Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai
Warm and hearty, Thai green curry is one of our favourite Thai comfort foods. It’s made with a coconut milk base and gets its gorgeous green hue from green peppers, green chillies, kaffir lime leaves, basil and coriander.
You can add your choice of meat like chicken and it’s usually dished up on a steaming bed of rice. If you’re looking for a variation, why not try yellow curry or red curry, made with colourful aromatics like turmeric or red chillies.
9. Poh Pia Tod
Spring rolls are famous all over the world, but they get even better on the streets of Thailand. You’ll find street vendors all over the country selling these tasty snacks. They usually chop up the long deep-fried rolls into bite-sized pieces, before placing them in a bag, drenching them in sweet chilli sauce, and serving with a toothpick to eat.
They’re made with all kinds of different fillings, such as crunchy vegetables, meat or tofu and rice noodles. If you’re after something a little lighter, you can also try fresh spring rolls (pa pia sod) that also come in bite-sized pieces with a dipping sauce. They’re sure to put a spring in your step!
10. Kai Jeow
You’ll see kai jeow served at most food stalls around Thailand and you’ve got to try this omelette with a difference! Thai omelettes are fluffy on the inside and holden and crispy on the outside, and it’s usually cooked with fish sauce, chillies and chilli sauce then served over rice. It’s typically a delicious street-style breakfast but you can eat it any time of the day you get a craving!
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11. Pad See Ew
If you can’t get enough of Thai noodles, you’ve got to try pad see ew. It’s made with wide rice noodles, stir-fried in a slightly sweet dark soy sauce with Chinese broccoli or cabbage and protein like chicken, pork, beef or tofu.
If you want to branch out from Pad Thai but can’t handle the spicier dishes, this is the perfect option. You can always add chili flakes or vinegar if you like a little extra kick.
12. Kao Niew Ma Muang
You can’t come to Thailand and not try their iconic mango sticky rice! Made with sweet sticky rice, coconut cream and fresh mango slices, this dish is the perfect snack or dessert. It’s best from April to May when mangos are in season, but you can get it all year round.
If you love fruits, Thailand is the place to be! Just be sure to go for fruits with a peel as these are generally safe from bacteria. Some of our favourite Thai fruits are the creamy mangosteen (Mang-Kut), juicy rambutan (Ngor), bright pink dragonfruit (Gao Mung Gorn), and the infamous durian (Tu-Rian). Love your fruits fried? Then get your hands on the famous fried bananas you’ll see all over the streets of Thailand.
Although roti originated in India, this sweet dish has become a Thai street food staple over the years. It’s like a thin pancake or crepe, lined with delicious fillings like bananas, chocolate sauce and condensed milk.
Half the fun is watching the vendor preparing your roti. They expertly stretch out the dough very thin then fry it on a large hotplate. It’s then quickly folded around the fillings and chopped into bite-sized pieces for you to enjoy. Irresistible!
What is your favourite Thailand street food? Let us know in the comments below!