8 Thai Street Snacks You Shouldn't Miss on Your Next Trip to Thailand

A guide to some of the best dishes in Thailand that will delight any gourmand or foodie.

Roxanne Bamboat

Asian countries always tend to have an abundance of street food and Thailand might be the king of exciting eats off the street. Whether you are in the bustling capital of Bangkok or on a remote island, you will always be able to find a vendor rustling up a delicious treat in his street cart by the side of the road and no matter what he serves you, it will be packed with flavour.

Thai cuisine is a harmonious mixture of sweet, spicy, and acidic flavours that are primarily derived from staple ingredients such as bird's eye chilli, Thai basil, galangal (Thai ginger), fish sauce and garlic. You'll find at least one if not a combination of these ingredients in any Thai dish. Other common ingredients that make their way into Thai dishes are coconut milk and cream, tamarind, palm sugar and of course the very popular lemongrass.

People will rave about restaurants that have won stars, hats and all sorts of accolades. They will insist you fight for a reservation to dine at these but the real charm of Thai food is on the streets and that's where you need to eat.

Som Tam

This light but spicy salad is extremely popular all over Thailand and easily found. The base recipe consists of finely grated or shredded green papaya mixed together with fish sauce, peanuts, chilli, string beans, dried baby shrimp, garlic and lime juice. All the ingredients are tossed in a mortar and pestle and is a fiery delight. You can tone down the level of spice accordingly to your taste.

Pad Thai

A trip to Thailand is incomplete without trying their national dish. Pad Thai is a noodle dish cooked in the signature sauce made of fish sauce and tamarind pulp. The noodles are then garnished with shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, chilli, lime garlic and egg. You can find many versions of this dish but it's a local treasure that thrives on the streets and in restaurants of Thailand. Some of the best Pad Thai can be found in Bangkok on Khao San Road, which is renowned for its street food.

Thai Sausage

These pork and sticky rice sausages filled with garlic, lemon grass and other aromatic herbs and spices, are a speciality from Northern Thailand but found all over the country. It's called 
Sai Ooah and are a spicy Thai pork sausage that is unlike any you've tried before. You can eat them as is or with bird's eye chilli cabbage and sometimes rice.

Pad See Eiw

The only resemblance to the Pad Thai is that this is also cooked with rice noodles and a choice of meat, preferably chicken or pork. In terms of flavour it's completely different. It's far milder that the fiery Pad Thai and doesn't have any tamarind pulp in it. It's tossed with the bits of meat and people like to joke that it's the Thai version of spaghetti and meatballs but it's not even close to it. You can add more chilli to it but it's got its own distinct flavour and doesn't need the heat.

Grilled Meats

A common sight at any street hawker is the mini grill or bbq full of bamboo skewers loaded with marinated pieces of meat. The most popular is Moo Ping or grilled pork that is served with a portion of sticky rice in a plastic bag to eat on the go. The marinade depends on each vendor but often a simple mix of soy or fish sauce with chilli garlic and ginger is the go-to. You'll also just as easily find plenty of Satay chicken or pork served with a peanut sauce.

Mango and Sticky Rice

A staple dessert you'll find all across Thailand is a plate of sliced local mango served with sticky rice and a light coconut cream syrup. The syrup gets absorbed in the rice giving it a softer texture and sweeter taste that pairs well with the mangoes. It's prepared in minutes and devoured in even lesser time.

Fried Bananas

Traditional Thai desserts tend to be fruit based and this simple treat of deep fried bananas is what the locals love. The bananas are coated with desiccated coconut, sugar and sesame seeds. They use smaller bananas and once fried and caramelised they get this lovely crunchy exterior but are sweetened, soft and creamy inside.

Thai Crepe

These taco-shaped crisp crepes uses a mixture of eggs, flour and sugar that is cooked on a griddle till golden brown. They're filled with a soft meringue, which is then topped with a sweet or savoury filling of your choice. The sweet version has strands of egg yolk and sugar and the savoury ones tend to have pork strands or sometimes even shrimp. They end up resembling a mini taco but it's anything but that.

Handy Hints

  • Bangkok is easily accessible from India with direct flights on Thai airways or Bangkok Airways from most major cities. From Bangkok to get to any of the islands or even go up north to Chiang Mai is a simple connecting flight mostly via Bangkok Airways.
  • You can opt for Visa on arrival, it's currently free for Indians.
  • The exchange rate is a humble 2 INR for 1 Thai Bhat which makes shopping and eating relatively affordable.
  • If you're in the mood to splurge then head to Siam Paragon for some luxury retail therapy. If you're looking to stretch your Thai Baht as far as it can go then MBK Mall or Prathunam Mall have more budget friendly shopping options.
  • Bangkok is congested with snarling traffic at any time of the day or night so skip the taxis or even tuk tuks and opt for the metro it's convenient and cheap.

Images: Shutterstock.com


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