People from all over the world visit Thailand for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and welcoming hospitality. But when they return home, they often find themselves thinking that the country’s cuisine was the real highlight of their trip. And street food is Thai cuisine in its purest form.
You can find street vendors selling snacks and dishes on sidewalks all over the country. The following overview is a quick guide to the best and most interesting street food in Bangkok.
Noodle soup with either rice noodles or egg noodles is known in Thai as ‘Guay Teow’. The dish is without a doubt one of the most common and tasty types of Thai street food. Noodles originated in China, but have been wholly embraced by Thai culture. The soup broth is normally made from beef, chicken or pork stock. Vendors will sometimes put in locally-grown vegetables, meatballs or wontons in the soup. Noodle shops usually offer condiments in glass cups or small jars; these include dried chilli, vinegar, lemon, sugar, fish sauce, and pepper. The best part of this meal is that you can use the condiments to adjust it to your liking. The cost of a bowl of noodle soup is usually around 35-60 baht.
Here are some quick Thai language tips to help you with your order:
Egg noodles = Ba Mhee
Slim rice noodles = Sen Lek
Thick rice noodles = Sen Yai
Water = Nam
Pork = Moo
Chicken = Gai
Beef = Nuer
Meatballs = Look Chin
Vegetables = Pak
Wonton = Giew
Grilled meat is another popular type of street food in Thailand, and it is extremely satisfying as a snack. Grilled meat vendors usually sell various kinds of chicken and pork, but they may also prepare other animal parts such as the chicken heart, liver, and gizzard. Every food vendor has their own recipe for the marinade sauce, although it is normally a bit sweet. The grilled products are brushed with a layer of butter to add even more flavour. Sticky rice is sold alongside grilled meat, and is used to counteract the greasy taste of grilled and buttered meat. The price for a stick of grilled meat is usually 10-15 baht. The price of sticky rice is 5-10 baht.
Thai language tips:
Grilled chicken = Gai Yarng
Grilled pork = Moo Yarng
Liver = Tup
Gizzard = Gue-un
Sticky rice = Khao Niew
Stir-fried meat with basil
If you’re wandering the streets of Bangkok, you will likely see many open-air restaurants by the side of the road. These are known in Thai as ‘Rarn Tarm Sung’ or ‘Made to Order’ when translated to English. They sell street food that requires cooking utensils to make. Food from these restaurants is prepared very quickly, as all the ingredients are already carefully laid out and within easy reach of the cook. So, you can enjoy a steaming hot and delicious meal within moments of ordering. One of the most popular menu items amongst locals, expats, and travellers alike is stir-fried meat with basil – known in Thai as ‘Kra Pao’. The main ingredients are basil, garlic, meat, fish sauce, chilli flakes and, in some places, assorted vegetables. When you order Kra Pow, you can choose whatever meat you like – pork, chicken, shrimp, and sometimes beef. This delightful dish tastes spicy, sweet, and savoury, all at once.
Thai language tips:
Pad Kra Pao Moo = Stir-fried pork with basil
Pad Kra Pao Gai = Stir-fried chicken with basil
Pad Kra Pao Goong = Stir-fried shrimp with basil
Pad Kra Pao Nuer = Stir-fried beef with basil
Eat good, feel good
While you’re in the city, we recommend being adventurous. Have fun with the above list of street food in Bangkok – and try your best to place your order in the Thai language. Good luck with your next food-venture!