Thailand needs no introduction when it comes to serving the most amazing street foods. This world-renowned food paradise is considered to be one of the best places to try out some of the traditional street food dishes for an unforgettable gastronomic experience. It doesn’t really matter what brings you to Thailand but your visit wouldn’t be complete without trying some of their street food.
There are so many street food options in Thailand and sometimes it can get a little overwhelming on where to get started. If you truly are a foodie at heart, then you might want to check out my list of the 25 best must-try Thailand foods. Below I have added a printable (A4 format) Thailand street food checklist. Super easy when you get out on the streets. If you like it, please pin it to Pinterest for me. Massive thanks!
BE AWARE: Thai street food contains a lot of MSG. It tastes delicious but MSG is not healthy! Learn to know how to order without MSG in Thai language: ‘mai sai phong churot’. This way you will let the street vendors know you don’t want to add any MSG to your street food dish.
What makes the street food in Thailand special?
When you walk down the street of any major city in Thailand, you can’t help but notice numerous food carts or stalls that sell yummy-looking and delicious smelling food.
The street foods are quick and convenient fixes and give you the real Thai experience. Although the food and surroundings don’t offer an ambient or elegant restaurant setting, the vendors have spent years mastering the dishes which guarantee no disappointment. What’s even better is that the dishes are available at incredibly cheap prices.
For the reasons stated above, you will see multitudes of both locals and foreigners at the food carts. This is the cheapest and best way to try these classic Thai street foods.
In the below lists of all the famous Thai street food dishes I added the prices you should normally pay on the streets. Thai restaurants also serve most dishes but are obviously more expensive.
Is street food safe in Thailand?
A lot of foreigners are a bit hesitant about trying the street food. This apprehensiveness is totally understandable considering that they’ve never tried it before. Their biggest fear is that street food could give them a stomach upset which would make their stay so miserable that they aren’t able to enjoy their Thailand trip.
Even though the sight of food hanging in open air may not seem like a good idea, rest assured that the street food in Thailand is clean and safe to eat. A comforting aspect of the street food is that it’s cooked right in front of you. This will give you some form of security knowing that no corners are cut in the cooking.
Another way to at least be sure about the safety of the food is to try out the most popular and crowded joints as this is almost a sure bet that the street food is fresh and, therefore, safe to eat. Again, considering that competition is pretty stiff, vendors wouldn’t want to compromise their reputation by serving unsafe food. They highly depend on return customers.
Third, after traveling in Thailand for almost 1 year in total on 17 different trips I have only 1 time gotten sick and it wasn’t even from a street food stall. Most days I ate street food 3x a day, simply because it is delicious and affordable.
Let’s now look at some of the most mouthwatering Thai dishes being served on the streets.
25 Best Thailand street foods
Thailand’s capital – Bangkok – alone has more than 500,000 street vendors. The sight of all the delicious food might be tempting but it’s close to impossible to try out everything. That’s why we have put together a list of the crème de la crème to make things easier for you. Here’s is our list of the 20 best Thailand street foods that you need to try out:
1. Green Papaya Salad – Som Tum
This is one of the most famous street food dishes in Thailand, originating in the northern part during the time of the ancient Lao citizens, now available everywhere in Thailand. The main ingredients of this street food dish are green unripe papaya, spices, garlic, chilies, lime juice, carrots, tomatoes, peanuts, string beans, and fish sauce. Instead of fish sauce, you may use a condiment of fermented fish.
All the ingredients are crushed together in a mortar and pestle allowing the flavors together. Som Tum from different regions has different tastes due to the varying amount of the ingredients. A Green Papaya Salad is mostly quite spicy , but delicious. It is a must-try for anyone on a quest to try all the different Thai cuisine. Costs usually 50 THB.
2. Thai Sausage – Sai Krok Isan
The Sai Krok Isan is a sausage that has a unique sour and salty taste. The meat filling in the sausages is made from ground pork that’s mixed with rice. These heavenly sausages originated from the northern provinces of Thailand.
Vendors typically serve the sausages with vegetables like raw cabbage, whole bird’s-eye chilies, and sliced ginger. The sausages may be chopped into bite-size pieces before serving. If you’re a sausage lover, these will come to the rescue. Be aware that Sai Krok Isan sausages can be super garlicky! Costs usually 20 THB.
3. Grilled/Deep-fried Pork Skewers – Moo Ping / Moo Tod
These pork dishes are freshly-cooked and easy to take away. They’re commonly seen in markets and food streets in Thailand and look like the emoticon on your smartphone. :)
Moo Ping or Moo Tod is best relished with the spicy “Nam Jim Jeaw” sauce. Different vendors make their marinade differently but somehow they’re all sweet, spicy and garlicky. These simple dishes also taste delicious when grilled with pepper.
If you are looking to cure that little craving that you’ve been having, then Moo Ping is an absolute must-try street food dish in Thailand. One skewer costs usually 20 THB.
4. Thai-Style Fried Noodles – Pad Thai
There’s no single restaurant in Thailand that doesn’t serve these internationally famous noodles. Pad Thai has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy taste. This stir-fried noodle dish is easy to make, convenient to serve, and impossible to relish just once. It’s mostly made with shrimp, chicken or egg plus a combination of chilies, palm sugar, tamarind, lime juice, egg noodles, and fried peanuts on top.
You can find this Thai street food on literally every corner and have the option of choosing between vegetarian and seafood Pad Thai as well. Costs usually 50 THB.
Pad Thai is by far my favorite Thai street food and I often ate it multiple times a day. For me it was like what a sandwich is in Europe, but then much better!
5. Fried Insects – Ma Laeng Tod
You may not be familiar with this but fried insects are an actual thing in Thailand. But let me tell you it is more of a touristy thing than that you will see locals getting in line. Ma Laeng Tod is an adventurous experience rather than a famous Thai street food dish. There is an abundance of insect choices to choose from such as crickets, worms, grasshoppers, and scorpions. Fried insects in Thailand are pricey and expect to pay 300 THB for a portion.
When you travel to Thailand, give it a try. The fried insects actually taste like crisps. They are grilled with pepper, salt, chilies, and lime. This is me eating insects in Bangkok many years ago.
Looking for more funny and unusual things to do in Bangkok than check out this list.
6. Banana Pancake – Banana Roti
The banana pancake is a hugely popular Thailand street food dish that we guarantee you’re going to fall in love with. The fried pancakes/roti’s are crispy and crunchy with slices of banana inside it.
Banana roti is served with condensed milk dressing on top. It’s no surprise that both the locals and travelers from across the world find the Thailand Banana Pancakes fascinating.
These roti’s come in multiple different variations: ice cream, nutella, coconut, honey. lemon, sugar, pineapple, mango, cheese, peanut butter and much more. Costs usually 50 THB.
It is such an iconic snack among Thailand backpackers that actually the most famous backpacking route in Southeast Asia is named after it: The Banana Backpack Trail.
7. Grilled Mushroom - Hed Yang
All vegetarians and veggie-fans must not miss out on this delicious Thai street food. You place an order then choose your favorite mushrooms and watch as they’re grilled. The vendors may use either soya sauce or peppers. This dish may sound basic but it’s delicious. You don’t see Hed Yang too much, but ask around and people will point you in the right direction for some great vegetarian Thai street food. Costs usually 60 THB
8. Mango Sticky Rice – Khao Neeo Mamuang
This is one of every local’s favorite desserts. The famous and authentic tasting Khao Neeo Mamuang is made using very soft sticky glutinous rice, fresh coconut milk, and a ripe Nam Dok Mai - sweet mango.
The dessert is incredibly tasty and sweet-smelling. If you happen to be in Thailand when the mangoes are in season (between April and May), you ought to try this dessert which is readily available from the street vendors. Costs usually 80 THB
9. Grilled squid skewer - Pla Meuk Yang
One of my favorite Thai street foods, a grilled squid on a stick. Mostly grilled on a little barbeque on the side of the road. You don’t see it so regularly as Pad Thai, but on food markets Im sure you will see it everywhere. It is simply just a squid, grilled to perfection and you choose the sauce that comes with it. Costs 30 THB.
10. Grilled Beef – Neua Satay
Neua means beef. The fresh meat is marinated with a couple of herbs and spices then it is grilled. Besides the fantastic taste, the grilled beef has a strong enticing aroma that will have you drooling even as you pass by.
Neua Satay has a lovely smoky taste. Neua Satay is best served with a variety of hot sauces or peanut sauce, either as a starter or as part of the main meal. Costs usually 60 THB.
11. Thai Fried Chicken – Gai Tod
To many people, the Gai Tod looks just any other ordinary chicken that you can get anywhere else. However, this tastes so much better. It’s usually dipped in a mixture of shallots and oil causing it to have an incredibly light and fluffy batter without all the grease that is common in fried chicken in the west.
Sweet soya sauce on the Thai street food classic makes it a delicious dish. Gai Tod goes very well with the sticky rice. Usually costs 80 THB.
12. Thai Spring Rolls – Poh Pia Tod
There’s no excuse for you to go to Thailand and miss out on their spring rolls. These are a reliable snack and an all-time favorite for the locals. They can be found in most food markets and streets as they’re easy to eat on the go.
The rolls are made with different fillings like meat, veggies, rice noodles, etc. They may be deep-fried or served fresh in rice paper depending on the customer’s preferences. Also, if you like you can have yours covered in chili sauce. Thai spring rolls range but should not cost more than 20 THB.
RELATED: Island Hopping Thailand Guide.
13. Thai Omelet – Kai Jeow
This is a typical example of how Thai street foods are given fancy names to make them sound yummy. This simple dish is a great source of energy, especially in the mornings. The omelet is cooked with just fish sauce and herbs. If you like, you can ask for vegetables to be added to your omelet.
Kai Jeow was another of my to go to breakfasts when traveling in Thailand. Costs of a Kai Jeow is not more than 30 THB and I always order with extra vegetables.
14. Noodle Soup – Guay Tiew
Guay Tiew is a popular everyday dish that is served in most homes in Thailand. It can be any type of noodle soup and is often made with chicken, beef or pork. The noodles may either be rice noodles or egg noodles.
Some vendors add wontons or meatballs to the soup to give it some extra flare. The soup is left to simmer for long giving an overall flavor of a sweet delicate taste. Costs 50 THB.
15. Thai Soup - Tom Yum Soup
Another very famous street food dish in Thailand is the Tom Yum Soup. A simple but delicious and very tasty soup made of lemongrass, Thai chili peppers, garlic, coconut oil, ginger, mushroom and usually served with shrimp. You can also order it vegetarian or with chicken.
Tom Yum Soup is a delicious treat to spice up your evening. Costs not more than 50 THB.
16. Thai Basil Chicken/Pork - Pad Kra Pao
This dish is made with minced chicken or pork that is stir-fried with basil and chilies. These ingredients give the dish a very strong flavor. Thai basil on its own usually has a harsh flavor that’s turned into a peppery flavor by the chilies. If you can’t take all the strong flavors of this dish, ask the vendor to add only a few spices.
The Thai basil chicken or pork is then served over plain white rice. Costs 80 THB.
17. Massaman Curry
A Massaman Curry originates from the South of Thailand and is a slightly thicker sauce with a rich flavor of cumin, coriander, nutmeg, roasted peanuts and several other spices. It is usually not spicy and therefore a backpackers favorite.
It kind of reminds me of a satay sauce or peanut butter sauce. Massaman Curry is mostly served in a bowl with a cooked potato in it and rice. Im a fan! Costs around 80 THB.
18. Thai Green Curry
We arrived at the rich street food dishes that are more like a meal than a snack. A Green Curry is another famous Thailand street food dish that needs no introduction. I could eat it for days, so yummy! You can choose your variation of this creamy rich street food dish: vegetarian, chicken, beef, prawn.
Be aware that a Thai Green Curry is considered the hottest curry in Thailand so learn to order ‘a little bit spicy in Thai = pet nit noi’. Costs usually around 80 THB.
19. Thai Red Curry
A little less spicy than a Thai Green Curry, but still spicy for most foreigners. The main difference is the base of the curry paste, which makes one curry green and the other red. A Thai Green Curry is a bit sweeter than a Red Curry. Green comes from the coriander roots ingredient and the green chillies of course.
Both are delicious but I like the rich creamy coconut sauce of a Thai Green Curry just a little more. Curries are served with rice mostly and costs around 80 THB usually.
20. Thai Fish Cake – Tod Mun Pla
Tod Mun Pla is sold in almost all the food stalls in Thailand. The cakes’ ingredients are fish, Thai basil, lime leaves, and long beans. The fish cakes are then deep-fried before serving with a sweet, spicy, and savory dipping sauce.
These fish cakes are considered to be a typical Thailand street food so if you’re visiting it’s advisable that you partake of this delicacy. Costs around 40 THB.
21. Oyster Omelet – Hoi Tod
Hoi Tod is an irresistible Thailand street food made by frying oysters that are dipped in rice flour and egg batters. The resulting delicacy has a texture that is both crispy and slightly soft, with a slithery component between the crisp edges, the eggs, and the oysters.
For an even more unbelievable taste, serve the oysters alongside a touch of fish sauce. Costs not more than 30 THB.
22. Grilled Fish – Pla Pao
The tantalizing smell of grilled fish along the streets of Thailand will call from afar and you will not be able to resist it. Yes, that’s how good the fish is. It’s stuffed with fresh lime leaves, basil, lemongrass, and then coated with a thick layer of salt that acts as a seasoning and also protects the fish from being overcooked.
When the dish is served, remove the crusty skin first after which you can dive into the juicy meat that tastes heavenly thanks to the spices used when cooking it. Costs ranging from 80-120 THB.
23. Deep-Fried Bananas – Kluay Tod
Who said that big delicious surprises can’t come in small packages? Kluay Tod is a really popular Thai street food, especially among children. This Thai version of banana fritters is easy to make as a quick snack or dessert and is also easy to eat on the go.
These deep-fried bananas are deliciously tasty; they’re crunchy on the outside but warm and creamy on the inside. Costs 30 THB.
24. Thai Crepes – Khanom Beuang
Basically, this is a traditional Thai dessert that looks like a small pancake. It is different from the Banana Pancake. It’s crispy and has a sweet filling. The crepe is made from mung bean starch, rice flour, eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder which serves as a delicious crunchy case to contain the creamy filling. Costs 40 THB.
The method of cooking these pancakes is quite complex. The sugar and egg yolk are used to make the cream which is mixed with a topping. The topping can be strands of egg, shrimp, or pork. This gives the crepes different flavors ranging from sweet to savory.
25. I Tim Ka Ti – Ice cream
This is coconut milk ice-cream that is a creamy, thick, and smooth ice-cream with an intense aromatic smell of coconut milk. Costs 30 THB.
The ice-cream is fresh as it’s usually made daily; the ingredients are coconut milk, coconut water, palm sugar, and white sugar to give the ice-cream texture. It makes a refreshing treat that no coconut fan would want to miss out on. It’s a great snack for cooling down your throat in hot weather and would also function perfectly as dessert after you’ve had your meal. To serve, scoop the ice-cream into a coconut shell as balls with roasted nuts on top.
7 Tips for Trying Street Food in Thailand
- A good place to start looking would be in the market. Here you will find some of the most popular food stalls that sell delicious food.
- Observe the stalls first as they prepare their food to have a better judgment of which one makes the safest food. How do they store the ingredients and the ready food?
- It’s advisable that you go where the locals usually go. Since they live in that area, they know the food better.
- Bring cash! The food is very cheap, and you can only pay by cash. Please have small notes, preferably 20, 50 or 100 THB.
- Most street stalls have picture menus. Ask for these or ask someone to help you. Loads of Thai speak decent English and are eager to help out a stranger.
- It is street food made right in front of you, so if you feel like customizing your order then do so. Vendors happily do as you which when you don’t like certain ingredients or have allergies.
- Lastly, confirm the level of spiciness. Very important! Remember: spicy = pet, no spicy = mai pet, little bit spicy = pet nit noi.
Best Thai street food in bangkok
Ever heard about the first street vendor who earned a Michelin Star? Yes that is in Bangkok! It is called Raan Jay Fai, located a little North of Chinatown and not far from Grand Palace. Fancy to try some Thai street food awarded with a Michelin Star then reserve a table minimum 3 months in advanced. But without reservation you can also rock up. Be prepared to wait in line, but the mouthwatering traditional Thai street food you will be served is worth it.
Raan Jay Fai is only 5 minutes walking from Wat Saket, one of my favorite things to do in Bangkok.
Conclusion: please try the street food in Thailand!
Thai people love to eat and enjoy their delicious street food the most. Their cuisine is one of the most diverse across the globe. This explains why it’s so easy to find Thai restaurants in different parts of the world. The food has just the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and strong flavors thanks to the fresh ingredients that are used. We hope that you consider the wide variety of dishes we recommended which are no doubt, some of the locals’ favorites.
Let me know if all the tips about eating street food in Thailand were helpful, I would love to hear from you. Send me a DM on my Instagram @traveltomtom. Here you can also follow my journey to every country in the world.
More Thailand travel blogs can be found in the link, in total more than 50. As I said Thailand has been a favorite for many years and I spent more than a year in the country. I also designed you the best Thailand itineraries, a long list of everything you need to know before you travel to Thailand, how much does a trip to Thailand cost and many more blogs full of tips.
Bon appetit and enjoy your Thailand holiday!