Every destination in the world comes with its own experiences and Thailand is no exception. We’ve all tasted Thai food at some point in our lives, but there is so much more to it than just the standard curries.

Thailand is a food lover’s paradise and the best part is, budget street food eats are always close at hand everywhere in the country. In fact, if you haven’t had your fill during the day, there are abundant night markets for you to satiate that raging appetite!

If you’re planning a visit to Thailand, sampling street food amidst the locals is an important element of its culture. Bangkok is one of the most notable food hubs in the country and serves up a variety of classic and modern Thai dishes that locals and visitors line up for.

We’re helping you out on your food journey with this curated list of some of the best local street food items and where to try them in Thailand.

1. Som Tam: Green Papaya Salad

The one dish you’ll find at almost every street food cart in Thailand is Som Tam. A popular dish that is the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy, this salad is based around the primary ingredient of green Papaya.

Tip: Som Tam can be very spicy, but you can ask for a milder version with fewer chillis.

The fruit is unripe and shredded, and then tossed with sugar, lime juice, chilli peppers, shrimp, peanuts, and veggies like tomatoes and green beans to create a juicy, tongue-tingling mixture. It’s truly worth a try!

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Where to try: Soi 19 on Udomsuk Road in Bangkok, Somtum Der on Silom in Bangkok, and Cherng Doi in Chiang Mai.

2. Pad Thai: Stir-Fried Noodles

Another one of Thailand’s popular culinary inventions is the mouth-watering Pad Thai. It has been named the country’s national dish for a reason!

Tip: You can get the vegetarian version of Pad Thai with tofu, which is equally delicious.

Stir-fried noodles are wok-tossed with an array of vegetables, choice of meat, and additions like tamarind pulp, crushed nuts, egg, bean sprouts, and lime. The dish is cheap and filling, and pretty healthy too.

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Where to try: Thipsamai Pad Thai on Maha Chai Road, and Pad Thai Goong Sod Nai Sa Nga in Surawong; both in Bangkok.

3. Satay: Grilled Meat Skewers

As you walk around the streets of Thailand, you’ll find a ton of people eating on-the-go. A popular takeaway item is satay, which are basically skewers of meat served with peanut sauce. The marinade differs with every street vendor, but it’s usually a good balance of sweet and spicy.

Tip: Moo Ping or grilled pork skewer is one of the more popular local dishes.

You can pick from chicken, pork, beef as well as buffalo meat, fish balls, and even intestines. A variety of hot sauces are slathered on the meat while it’s grilled, making it extra juicy. Just grab a stick and go.

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Where to try: The stall on the corner of Soi Convent and Silom Soi 4, Chong Kee in Chinatown; both in Bangkok.

4. Guay Teow: Noodle Soup

A common, easy to eat street food item is Guay Teow or Noodle Soup. The base is common – noodles, but everything else can vary. Rice or egg noodles are served in a thick, aromatic stock with meat, wontons or vegetables.

Tip: Guay Teow is one of the most customisable Thai dishes. You can choose everything from the type and width of the noodle to the condiments.

The standard components of chilli, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce are a given. Don’t forget to chew and slurp as you work your way through this dish.

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Where to try: Sawang Noodle in Bangkok, Ko Yoon Noodle Shop in Phuket, Ruan Mai Noodle Shop in Chiang Mai.

5. Pad See Ew: Soy Sauce Noodles

A darker variation of Pad Thai, Pad See Ew is a dish of flat rice noodles doused in soy sauce for a bold, punchy flavour. It’s mixed with meats, veggies like Chinese cabbage and broccoli, and a hit of chilli, and vinegar. The flavour is titillating and thoroughly enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

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Where to try: Radna Yodpak Sud 40 Bi in Bangkok, Suda on Soi Sukumvit 22 in Bangkok, Pad See Ew at Ratchawat in Bangkok.

6. Khao Pad: Fried Rice

Thai fried rice is a commonly eaten dish in India, but the Thai street version is something else. The base is a cup of fragrant jasmine rice which gives it a strong, heady aroma when cooked with vegetables. As with every Thai dish, it starts with a bubbling mix of salt, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and the cooked rice is then tossed with vegetables, and sometimes shrimp and egg.

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Where to try: Any stall in Petchaburi Soi 5 and street food stalls along Ari Soi in Bangkok.

7. Pa Pia Sod: Steamed Spring Rolls

The street version of Thailand’s Pa Pia Sod is guaranteed to put a ‘spring’ in your step! These freshly rolled appetisers come in bite size pieces with a dipping sauce. A sheet of wheat or rice dough is filled with crunchy vegetable and soft marinated meat strips, and then rolled.

Tip: There is also a deep fried version called Poh Pia Tod, which comes with similar ingredients that are rolled and fried for crispiness.

Different vendors may offer different stuffings for the roll, including vegetarian options. This is another great pick if you’re in a hurry and need a quick bite to eat.

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Where to try: Any stall in Petchaburi Soi 5 and the corner of Silom Road in Bangkok.

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8: Kai Jeow: Thai-style Omelette

Breakfast is served! Thailand’s street-style omelette is a soft fluffy version served with rice and a chilli sauce. It’s made using only eggs, fish sauce, chillies, and herbs.

Tip: Street-style breakfasts are quite common among hurrying locals on their way to work. It’s best to make your way to the stalls a little early to get the freshest dishes.

It is one of the cheapest among the street food items. It’s the perfect way to start your day.

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Where to try: Raan Jay Fai on Maha Chai Road in Bangkok.

9. Gai Tod: Fried Chicken

Although not a traditional Thai dish, the locals have made it their own with a dash of spices and of course, chilli. This popular street item is crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, and is served with a spicy dipping sauce. The wings are coated in flour and spices and then deep-fried until golden brown and crunchy.

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Where to try: Today Steak at Sam Yan and street food stalls along Ari Soi in Bangkok.

10. Khao Man Gai: Steamed Chicken and Rice

Simple yet packed with flavour, Khao Man Gai is comfort food for the soul. The chicken is poached with sugar and spices and this unadorned flavour-infused piece of tender meat is served with steamed rice, Chinese broccoli, and chilli sauce.

Tip: You can also try Khao Kha Moo, which is essentially steamed pork with rice. It’s equally delicious, and the meat is poached for hours to pack it with flavour.

It’s a humble dish that’s light and easy to eat.

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Where to try: Ko-Ang Khao Man Gai on Phetburi Soi 30 and Tang Meng Noodle on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok.

11: Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai: Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry is internationally popular and reasonably so. However, the concoction is extremely spicy on the streets of Thailand.

Tip: Variations include a Yellow Curry and a Red Curry. The former has a balance of yellow chillis and turmeric, whereas the latter is entirely made of red chillies. Know your spice threshold and choose carefully!

A coconut milk-based curry, this item get its vibrant hue from a bunch of green chillies, green peppers, coriander, kaffir lime leaves, and basil. The result is a smashing delicacy usually served on a bed of rice.

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Where to try: Any stall on Petchaburi Soi 5 and Khao Gaeng Ruttana in Nang Loeng in Bangkok.

12. Kluay Tod: Fried Banana

An appetizer, a dessert, or even a breakfast dish – make what you want of the Klauy Tod. This popular snack has a crunchy outside and a gooey centre, owing to unripe or just ripened bananas that are coated in coconut batter and sesame seeds, and deep-fried.

Tip: It’s best to eat Klauy Tod when it’s hot. Cold fritters can be soggy and unpalatable.

A sprinkling of powdered sugar adds a touch of sweetness, but you can go all out with a drizzle of chocolate sauce too.

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Where to try: Ratchawat Market on Nakhon Chaisi and Wang Lang Market in Bangkok.

13. Khao Niew Ma Muang: Mango Sticky Rice

Thailand’s most popular dessert item, Mango Sticky Rice is a street food highlight. Sweetened sticky rice is served alongside slices of sweet mango, and drizzled with coconut cream, and a smattering of sesame seeds.

Tip: Fresh cut fruit is easily available in Thailand’s street food markets, so you can try an array of different fruits with the sticky rice. This isn’t the conventional way of eating it, but each fruit lends a different taste to the dish.

The dish is sweet and heavenly and a good variation from the more standard, chocolate dessert options.

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Where to try: Boonsap Thai Desserts, Kor Panich on San Chao Pho Sua and Bua Loy Nam King in Chinatown; all in Bangkok.

14: Kafae Yen and Cha Yen: Iced Thai Coffee and Tea

Cool iced coffees and teas, Thai style, are a popular drink in the country, especially during the hot summer months. Tourists can be seen relishing these drinks, which are made using a blend of cream and condensed milk. Consequently, the drinks can be extremely sweet, but they do help when you need to cool off after a spicy green curry or Pad Thai.

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Where to try: Tealicious on Soi Charoen Krung in Bangkok, Most gas stations, standalone stalls and street food markets in Bangkok.

Things to keep in mind when eating from street vendors:

  • Most street vendors speak basic English, but if they don’t, you have to be very clear with the kind of meat you want with your food. Be extra careful with vegetarian dishes. Point to the actual dishes or the menu items on the board to give your order.
  • Every part of Thailand makes each dish differently, so the food may vary from one stall to the next. Eating at the popular stalls is the best way to ensure that your food is tasty and hygienic, especially if you wish to try some unusual items.
  • Always eat food that’s been prepared fresh in front of you.
  • Thai food can be extremely spicy. Ask for a mild version if you can’t handle the heat.
  • Drink only bottled water.
  • Street food is not always healthy and is most often deep-fried or brushed with oil. If you don’t have a strong stomach, eat slowly and in small quantities.

The Free Trip Planning App for Thailand!

Highest Rated Travel Planning App on Android & iOS

If you want to avoid reading hundreds of articles like these to plan your trip, download Ithaka.

It is a fun way to discover Thailand and plan your entire trip by talking to someone who’s already been there and done that!

From helping you discover the coolest destinations to recommending activities, your travel buddy on Ithaka will help you plan your entire trip.

Download the App Now:

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