The allure of Thailand with its unique culture and traditions is one of many reasons that encourages tourists to visit the country. But one thing that can’t be denied in the heart of foreigners is Thai cuisine with its renowned diverse flavours, colourful appearance, and mouth-watering savouriness. Plus, it’s easy to eat and comes at a reasonable price. So, most of us often call this a roadside restaurant or street food.
The street food of Thailand has a distinctiveness of its own and is very well-known for the taste. Its selective diversity ranges from hors d’oeuvres and snacks like grilled meat and fish balls, toast, and fruit shakes. Or if a main meal, then an easy a la carte dish like Phat Thai, Hoi Thot, or even dessert; such as, sticky rice with mango is sold by the footpath. All of this is street food that has won the hearts of Thais and foreigners.
WHY EAT STREET FOOD WHEN YOU COME TO THAILAND?
If you have to give a definition of the words “street food”, then you’d say … fast, colourful, full-flavoured, easy, reasonable price, and convenience by the side of the road that you and the Thai people have enjoyed for a long time. This is the easy eating culture of the Thais that can be found in an atmosphere for enjoying food in another way where you can find street side vendors, order to eat quickly, and pay your bill very easily at a price that won’t eat your pocket.
Today, Thai street food is very popular among foreigners and renowned worldwide. This is a result of 3 key factors:
1. Most food is like comfort food with quick snacks and drinks;
2. fast service in terms of cooking and not different to international fast food. So, after buying, you can order like ‘ grab and go’ then look for a place to sit and eat, and
3. when comparing the price and quality of the food, you have to admit that street food is very affordable to eat every day.
When in Thailand, whenever you feel hungry, you don’t need a large city like Bangkok. You only need street side vendors, who have a tasty food stall for you to order a meal where you can sit by the roadside or in a small shop like a shop house in a simple atmosphere of Thai street food. This is the charm that is found in the way of life of the local people, shops and street stalls, and locations that never have to change.
How does street food help to create an experience and happiness? The answer is the taste, deliciousness, easy to order, fast, and reasonable price. So, who wouldn’t like that!
20 NOT-TO-BE-MISSED STREET FOOD
1. KHAO PHAT PU (FRIED RICE WITH CRAB) Not your usual fried rice dish because it’s an a la carte menu that’s easy to find almost anywhere. This menu’s highlight is the crab meat, which is stir fried well together with rice and egg.
2. MU PING (GRILLED PORK) An enjoyable menu, which is easy to eat with a mellow taste from the marinated spices with the tender pork and the savoury aroma from the grilling. It’s usually eaten with hot sticky rice.
3. KHAO KAPHRAO KAI KHAI DAO (FRIED CHICKEN WITH BASIL AND FRIED EGG) An a la carte dish that is a big hit at restaurants. The spicy taste with the aromatic basil makes it a typical delicious Thai meal that’s easy to create.
4. KHAO MAN KAI (HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE) A very accepted a la carte dish that has an unusual taste, as this menu is aromatic from the ginger, bean paste, etc. that’s served together with rice and tender chicken.
5. KHAO KHAI CHIAO (OMELET WITH RICE) Home cooking that can be eaten anytime has created an a la carte dish that tourists can find everywhere. It’s one of the street foods in which the name is both delicious and economical.
6. PHAT THAI (THAI FRIED NOODLES) A delectable noodle dish that’s a hot hit with foreigners and renowned worldwide. Whoever tries it will fall in love with the soft fried noodles blended with sauce, various spices, as well as the savoury aroma and full-flavoured taste. The dish can also be complemented with fresh prawns.
7. HOI THOT (FRIED MUSSELS) Ranked the No. 1 street food, people all over the world say it’s very appetising because of the large mussels and egg that are topped with rice flour and fried in a large pan till soft and crispy. It’s served hot covered with bean sprouts together with a spicy sauce and garnished with coriander and chili.
8. MU SATAY (PORK SATAY) A very popular snack that’s delicious and easy to eat, the tasty pork with Thai herbs on a wooden skewer is grilled on a hot charcoal stove. Coconut milk is poured over the pork while being grilled till the sweet-smelling aroma arouses you to enjoy it with full-flavoured peanut sauce with side dishes of cucumber, chili, and vinegar.
9. KUAI TIAO KHUA KAI (ROAST NOODLES WITH CHICKEN) A big hit a la carte dish that has an outstanding taste from using a hot charcoal stove. The aromatic roasted noodles, which are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, are dressed with chicken meat, crispy squid and egg.
10. KUAI TIAO RUEA (BOAT NOODLES) Linked with the ancient Thai way of life when these noodles were sold on boats plying the canals and became the name, the spicy tasting small bowl comprises noodles with beef or pork. The soup will be colourful because of the garnish that’s different from other noodle dishes. It’s eaten with pork crackling and basil to give a nice aroma.
11. KHANOM CHIN NAM YA (RICE NOODLES WITH CURRY PASTE) A savoury dish with round clumps of noodles like vermicelli, it’s eaten with curry paste or chili paste and is an a la carte menu of all regions of the country. Most visitors know the Khanom Chin with coconut milk of the Central Region in which the main ingredient of the curry paste is fish and eaten with vegetables.
12. SOMTAM (GREEN PAPAYA SALAD) Another hot hit menu with a great taste that foreigners are impressed with. It’s a local Northeastern dish that uses green papaya as the main ingredient pounded with chili, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice, tomato, and long bean. It has 3 tastes: sour, sweet, and salty, which has been modified into various dishes.
13. KAI YANG (FRIED CHICKEN) The spicy chicken with herbs is grilled on a charcoal stove till cooked giving off a fragrant aroma. It’s eaten with sweet sauce of the Central Region or a sour sauce of the Northeast. The chicken is easy to eat as a snack or with hot steamed rice or sticky rice.
14. TOM YAM KUNG (SPICY PRAWN SOUP) A world renowned hot soup with a spicy hot taste from the Thai herbs, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and chili. It’s a full-flavoured local Thai dish that has a delicious taste of sour, salty, spicy and mellow. At present, it has been modified to add milk or coconut milk.
15. PHAT SI IO (FRIED NOODLES IN SOY SAUCE) A Chinese-style fast food that’s easy to eat with either large noodles or vermicelli, which are stir fried with tender pork, chicken, beef, or seafood. The fragrant aroma from the soy sauce as it is fried in the pan together with Chinese kale makes it popular.
16. KAENG KHIAO WAN (GREEN CURRY) Another local curry dish comprising meat, fish, chicken, or pork and vegetables, which is seasoned with coconut milk, eggplant, sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, and basil. It has a spicy, sweet, and mellow taste from the coconut milk, and can be eaten with hot steamed rice or Khanom Chin.
17. KHAO NIAO MAMUANG (STICKY RICE WITH MANGO) A Thai dessert of the hot season that’s popularly eaten and known around the world. The fragrant aroma of the sticky rice with the fresh coconut milk, which can be eaten with various toppings like custard, shrimp, or fish. The Thais will enjoy a ball of sticky rice with fruit like mango, durian, etc.
18. KHANOM KHROK (MORTAR SWEETS) Is an ancient Thai sweet that originally used plain coconut milk and is popular for its sweet, oily, salty taste sprinkled with spring onion, taro, corn, etc. It has a flat spherical shape with a crispy exterior and soft interior with a sweet aroma.
19. NAM SA MUNPHRAI (HERBAL DRINKS FOR HEALTH) A major part of Thai life, now herbs have been transformed into a beverage to quench the thirst through their delectable taste and therapeutic properties. These can be bought as a bottled health drink of various flavours like lemongrass, butterfly pea, passion fruit, roselle, bael fruit, etc.
20. NAM CHA YEN (ICED TEA) A world-class Thai-style iced tea that is a big hit focusing on the fullflavoured taste and aroma of Thai tea. Add sweetened condensed milk topped with fresh milk with young orange to give this beverage a soft taste that will refresh you from the heat.
There’s an abundance of standard roadside restaurants and food stalls in Thailand, as cuisine has always played a major role in the hospitality industry to encourage inbound tourism. They’re ready to amaze or delight you through their distinctive taste and style if you don’t mind the ambience when it comes to eating out.