Posted by on 10 Jun 2022
The Land of Smiles is known for its rich culture, well-preserved historical sites, stunning natural landscapes and friendly locals. But Thailand’s wide assortment of street food makes it every foodie’s paradise.
Thai street food is rich, filling and worth it after a long day of sightseeing. From noodle soups best shared over intimate conversations to deep-fried snacks perfect for on-the-go munching, Thai street food can never go wrong.
The best part is it doesn’t cost much to satisfy your appetite. The average cost of street food in Thailand is around 30 to 100 baht, while desserts are a lot cheaper at 30 to 60 baht.
We’ve listed some of the most famous street foods you can find in Thailand. But don’t just take our word for it. Make sure to try them out on your next visit to the Land of Smiles.
13 Best Street Food in Thailand
- Pad Thai
- Pad See Ew
- Poh Pia Tod
- Kai Jeow
- Som Tam
- Khao Niew Ma Muang
- Gai Tod
- Guay Teow
- Sai Ooah
- Pad Kra Pao
- Kluay Tod
What better way to start your street food journey than with a serving of pad thai? This fried noodle dish is Thailand’s most famous street food and has become a global phenomenon. It is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy and is often served with shrimp, chicken or tofu as a vegetarian option.
Street food vendors prepare pad thai with different spices for additional flavour, such as chillies, palm sugar, lime juice and tamarind. Top your pad thai plate with some egg noodles and fried peanuts for additional richness.
Indulge in more Thai noodles by getting an order of pad see ew. This dish is made with wide rice noodles stir-fried in a slightly sweet dark soy sauce and garnished with Chinese broccoli or cabbage. You can then get it with pork, chicken, beef or tofu as your protein of choice.
Pad see ew is the perfect street food if you want to try pad thai but without the spiciness. You can always add vinegar or chilli flakes for that extra kick.
Thailand’s version of spring rolls is the famous poh pia tod. Vendors make the rolls with various fillings, such as meat, rice noodles and vegetables. They are then deep-fried before being chopped into small, bite-sized pieces and drenched in sweet chilli sauce as a finishing touch. You can munch on poh pia tods using a toothpick and eat them on the go.
Apart from the classic deep-fried version, travellers can also try a fresher option called pa pia sod. They are much healthier without the extra oil but are just as tasty.
Looking for a quick fill-me-up while exploring the country? Try the simple but delicious kai jeow, an omelette with a twist. These Thai omelettes are prepared a little differently compared to their western counterparts and have a fluffy interior encased in a golden, crispy exterior.
The locals eat kai jeow over some rice and enjoy it with fish sauce and chillies. Afterwards, they top the dish with chilli sauce for more flavour. While traditional omelettes are more of a breakfast meal, kai jeow can be enjoyed any time of the day.
Som tam is another famous street food in Thailand for those who prefer a light and fresh dish. Its main ingredients are shredded green papayas, carrots and tomatoes. These are then tossed in sugar, garlic, chillies, peanuts and lime juice.
The ingredients are mixed using a mortar and pestle to create a tongue-tingling blend of juiciness and the right amount of tang. Som tam can be spicy by default, so ask for “mai pet” to enjoy it without the chilli taste.
A visit to Thailand is never complete without trying their iconic mango sticky rice. Kao niew ma muang is made with sweet sticky rice, coconut cream and mango slices. The rice absorbs the delicious cream and creates a soft texture with a mild sweetness. You can find khao niew ma muang all year round, so you can enjoy it whenever you want during your visit to Thailand.
Gai Tod is Thailand’s twist on the simple yet iconic fried chicken. Locals made it distinctively Thai by marinating chicken wings and drumsticks in rice flour and some spices. The chicken ends up having a fluffy batter after being deep-fried.
Locals love to add some heat to everything they eat, so they finish gai tod with some chilli paste or give you a spicy dipping sauce on the side. Add in a bag of sticky rice, and you’ve got yourself a full meal.
Satay is meat skewers partnered with homemade peanut sauce for the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness. You can have chicken, pork, fish, beef, buffalo and tofu satay. You can also eat them as is or with some rice.
Grab a bowl of this popular rice noodle dish and satisfy your appetite. You can order some guay teow when you see a big, bubbling pot in Thailand's many street food markets.
Guay teow is easily customisable as you can get it with some pork, beef or chicken. You can also get your guay teow as rice noodles or egg noodles, depending on what you like. Top your noodles with vegetables, meatballs or wontons and finish it off with sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, or dried chilli peppers to taste.
Another street food in Thailand you must try is sai ooah. What looks like a simple sausage is much more than what it seems. It uses various aromatic ingredients for a burst of flavour. The pork is mixed with lemongrass, lime leaves and chilli paste. It also uses galangal, a spice similar to turmeric and ginger. Afterwards, it is wrapped in an intestine casing and grilled until golden orange-brown.
While it is more famous in the northern regions, especially in Chiang Mai, several street stalls across the country also serve this dish.
What gives pad kra pao its delicious taste is the sharp, peppery flavour of Thai basil. You can’t go wrong with the minced pork or chicken stir-fried and seasoned with chillies included in this dish. Enjoy your pad kra pao with a steamy bowl of white rice.
Pad kra pao might not be for everyone since its flavours can be pretty intense. While trying it out is worth it, you can have your pad kra pao made “pet nit noi” to take the spiciness level down a bit.
Craving for something sweet after all the spiciness and savoury? Treat yourself to a generous serving of kluay tod. This sweet snack consists of ripe bananas coated in a batter of desiccated coconut and sesame seeds before being deep-fried. It results in a golden brown exterior with a slightly crunchy texture. You can hear the crispiness as you take a bite, and you’ll be surprised by its warm and creamy centre.
Kluay tod is popular with children and travellers who want to munch on snacks while exploring the city. You don’t need to worry about eating it immediately as it can retain its crunchiness even after cooling off.
Another Thailand street food to include in your list is roti. While this snack didn’t originate in Thailand, it has become a street market staple loved by locals and tourists.
Roti looks like the traditional pancake or crepe dessert but uses a dough surrounding a banana filling of condensed milk and chocolate sauce. You would often see it being prepared by street vendors, stretching the roti’s dough thinly and frying it on a hotplate. Its edges are folded to create a square and chopped into snackable sizes.
Have a Taste of Thailand’s Cuisine
Nothing beats going out to the streets to taste the Land of Smile’s exciting street cuisines. Seeing people lining up in several stalls is no surprise. While the street food of Thailand is far from your usual restaurant experience, it makes up for it with its deliciousness perfected over the years and affordable price point! Sometimes, all it takes is just a simple cart for that complete and authentic Thai meal experience.