You may be surprised upon your arrival in Thailand to see the streets crowded with not only people and vendors, but also street stalls serving up hot dishes nearly all day long to hungry Thais. Street food is a great option in Thailand. Not only does it not cost very much, but it is constantly available, easy, fast and gives you a true taste of Thailand. For those travelers accustomed to strict food handling standards for hygiene, you will be in for a rude shock.

Here are some types of street food you may find at vendors:

  • Fried Chicken – Usually fried meats include a sweet and garlicky marinade, this is always fried in the local palm oil.
  • Moo Ping – Grilled pork skewers that are not only popular, but also one of the many grilled meat options you will find on the streets of Thailand. You will often find this on a charcoal BBQ precariously mounted on the back of a motorbike.
  • Fried Bananas – Just like vendors in the US, you will find many fried options at Thai street stalls.
  • Fruit – Although not a common street food in the US, fruit is always fresh, cheap, healthy and filling. Fruits offered may include mangoes, papaya, guava, jackfruit, breadfruit, star fruit and a variety of bananas. Typically a bad of fruit cost about 20 baht. Some carts only sell fruit!
  • Papaya Salad – Ask for a mild version unless you like things really spicy! This dish is a combination of garlic, shrimp, tomatoes, papayas, chilies, garlic, and peanuts. It is very popular among the locals, so you should at least try it once during your trip if you are game. It is best avoid at least 3 days prior to any flights, as this is a high risk one for diarrhea due to the bacteria in the wooden bowl from the raw crabs.
  • Thai Curries – These yummy curries incorporate ingredients like fresh herbs, coconut milk, veggies, fruits, meats, seafood, and of course curry paste.
  • Roti – Hot, fresh, unleavened flat-bread that is sometimes fried with eggs or drizzled with condensed milk and rolled while still hot.
  • Noodle soup – This dish is normally available with rice or egg noodles, a variety of condiments, and may include meat, vegetables, wontons, or more, normally served-up in chicken, beef or pork stock.
  • Pad ThaiPad Thai is popular with foreigners, so many street vendors also offer it. Look for a stall that offers stir-fry and you are sure to find pad Thai on the menu. It is customary for you to add your own chilli spice, sugar and fish sauce.
  • Uniquely Thai desserts-Many vendors offer not just something savory, but dishes to satisfy your sweet tooth, as well. Check out mango sticky rice for a traditional treat.

No matter what kind of breakfast, lunch, or dinner you are looking for, you can find it courtesy of Thai street vendors. Go ahead and truly experience Thai culture and eat like the locals do! You’ll be happy you did.

Featured images:

John Shoane lives and works in Bangkok, Thai street food is part of his everyday life. He contributes regularly to the Thailand information blog on the Gogo Florist site that can be found here.

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