Eating Thai street food is part and parcel of the Thai holiday experience. There are numerous items to choose from, from full on meals to tasty snacks. Many people have an aversion to street food, believing it to be unsanitary. This is not the case at all – street food is enjoyed by many foreigners and almost all locals on a daily basis. It is tasty and one of the cheapest ways to eat in Thailand. Some vendors have a few plastic tables and chairs set up near to their stall for customers to use. They will often provide plastic cutlery if you want to take your food away. Thai street food is part of the Thai culture, is widely available, and offers a delectable variety of cheap eats.
Some golden rules to observe when it comes to any street food is to avoid raw fruit and vegetables that you do not peel yourself, or that you have not seen being washed, do not eat at places that are quiet, and if somewhere looks grubby don’t bother. Whilst there are many offerings that are already prepared, and the temptation may be to grab a quick eat, be patient and choose somewhere that cooks food fresh. You don’t want to eat something that has been sat around for a while. Watch where the locals are eating – a busy place will always be a good place!
As well as the obvious fried rice and pad Thai, and the ever present meat on a stick, here are some examples of the treats you can try when dining off Thai street food:
Somtam is a fresh, crisp, and spicy papaya salad. It is made using a mortar and pestle, whereby the unripe papaya is bruised and softened. Long green beans, peanuts, fresh lime, garlic, and red chilis are also key elements in somtam. It is possible to have it made vegetarian, but usually somtam is made with fish sauce and dried shrimp, crab, or other sea foods. It is usually served with a small side order of raw cabbage. This is to chew on to help combat the spiciness. Somtam may be eaten with rice, or alone.
Pad Si Ew
Pad Si Ew is a noodle dish. The noodles are pan fried in a dark soy sauce. It usually also contains egg, meat, and a few vegetables. You can usually choose which meat to have, with the two main options being pork and chicken.
There are many roti sellers across Thailand. It is more of a snack or desert than a main meal. It is a type of thin, flat, bread. No yeast is added. There are various different flavours available – egg and banana are very popular options, but vendors will often happily smear chocolate spread or jam on a roti, as well as including various different fruits. It is usually served chopped into small bite sized squares, with lashings of condensed milk on top.
Cooked in small round holders, khanon krok is a coconut flavoured gelatinous half circle. It is fairly sweet, though spring onion givens it a different kick.
Tom Yam Gung
One of the most popular dishes in Thailand, Tom Yam Gung is a type of watery shrimp soup. It contains lime, lemongrass and chili, as well as a few chunks of various vegetables.
These are five things to try in Thailand. You will, however, discover many more Thai street food delicacies during your stay.