Street food in Thailand is a major feature of any trip to Thailand, both for its variety, cost-effectiveness, and taste. Indigenous ingredients and relatively cheap prices attract people from all over the world. During a recent trip to Thailand, I had the privilege of experiencing this for myself.
Som Tam, Papaya Salad :
This is a special type of Thai salad that uses sliced green papaya as the main ingredient. The sourness of the lime juice, the fishy flavor of the fish sauce and shrimp paste, and the freshness of the herbs and spices will strike the spot. This, again, is a Thai specialty that is served either as a snack or with grilled beef or chicken and is readily available at stalls at Chatuchak Weekend Market or Sukhumvit Soi 103, both of which are Bangkok’s traffic. The clades are located in the city.
Prices start at around 50baht and vary depending on where you eat.
Coconut Smoothie :
At the gorgeous Kata Beach in Phuket, where sea water merges with the alluring blue sky above and the golden beach below, you’ll find these cute little smoothie stalls right next to the umbrella chairs where they make the most delicious coconut smoothies. The one I’ve ever tasted.
Now, they have a plethora of fruit options, but coconut was the winner. At least, for me it was. Almost as tall as my front glass, filled with a blended icy sweetness of ice that instantly refreshes from within, that too has the potential to be anyone’s favorite, for a cost of only 70 baht.
Khao Neow Mamuang, sticky rice and mango :
I remember boasting about the troubles of adult life and suddenly forgetting my speech as soon as a spoonful of heavenly sweets dissolve in my mouth. There are some dishes which do not reach our stomach, they reach our heart. Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Sherbet, also known as Khao Neo Mamuang, is definitely one of them.
The process itself is strangely relaxing as you pour coconut syrup over sweet sticky rice, sprinkle some crispy yellow moong beans on top, and effortlessly slice ripe mangoes. Finally, indulging in a spoonful of the whole combination will give you an amazing floating feeling, like you’re in seventh heaven or something.
The rich flavor of mango and coconut, wrapped around the sweet stickiness of rice and the crunchiness of mung beans, is my definition of a happy place, one of those desserts that leaves you saying, ‘Mmm… wow! ‘
Mango Sticky Rice can be found at most fruit stalls (and there are plenty of them), so it’s easy to find. I found mine at a fruit stall in Siam Paragon, one of the largest shopping malls in Thailand.
Stir-fries, Pad Thai & Khao Pad :
Stir-fries made it to my to-do list when I decided to vacation in Thailand. Stir-fried noodles, aka pad thai, and stir-fried rice, aka khao pad, are staples of Thai restaurants and the most popular street food of all.
The aroma of Wok Fried Rice Noodles fried with Prawns, Chicken, Tofu, Peanuts, Bean Sprouts, with their signature scrambled eggs on top, satisfy your stir-fry cravings. They are then tossed and turned into a skillet with a traditional pad thai sauce consisting of fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar and vinegar.
Khao pad is similar to Chinese fried rice. However, unlike the Chinese, the people of Thailand use flavored jasmine rice instead of white rice and fish and oyster sauce instead of soy sauce.
This dish is fried with prawns and chicken, scrambled eggs, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, green onions and other vegetables and spices, creating the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
The dish comes with a choice of other proteins such as crab meat or pork. There were several places from which I tried fries, but Laimai Courtyard Restaurant & Bar near Patong Beach in Phuket deserves a special mention. While a little more expensive than the street stalls (around 300 baht), it was well worth it. Plus, with the seaside breeze blowing in your face and the soothing live music, I’m sure you’ll feel guilty for exceeding your budget.
A crescent shape with crispness and chewiness with chicken/prawns/pork/vegetables stuffing inside and fried and steamed, gyoza is another Thai favourite. These delicious fried dumplings originated from the Chinese jiaozi and later their popularity spread to other parts of East Asia as well. I took mine from a restaurant called Teraoka Goza in Siam Paragon, again for 230 baht.
Tom Yum Soup :
This signature Thai soup needs no introduction. It is the king of all soups and is a must try in Thailand. The sweet and savory flavors infused with greens, tomatoes, prawns and chicken cubes make for an equally healthy and delicious broth. Plus, it’s so filling. Tom Yum is one of the very popular Thai foods and can be found in most restaurants. I hunted mine down from one of the many food stalls in Central Phuket for a price of around 80 baht. However, this varies on the size of the shrimp.
For the adventurous spirit foodie who is in the mood for an experience similar to Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love (I said ‘somewhat similar’), street food hunting in Thailand should definitely be on her wish list. Only the sound of the essence of sizzles and sauces roaming the Thai streets will be etched in your memories for a lifetime.