How to Order the Best Street Food in Thailand

Authored By:

Claudia M.

Ahan tee Muang Thai arroy maak maak!!! Food in Thailand is delicious. Dangerously delicious. A “how many meals a day is socially acceptable” level of delicious. One of my favorite things to do in Thailand is to go to a night market and try everything .

Not only is the food here delicious but it is abundant. And cheap. I told you , it’s dangerous! The moment I step outside my apartment I am surrounded by street food vendors,no matter the time of day. It seems like everyone is a small business owner in Thailand. 

Ordering off a cart is much easier than a restaurant because you can see exactly what they serve, no thai reading or speaking required. Carts are fun, easy, and delicious! In terms of ordering, have no fear, the finger pointing method is a sure fire way to success. It is helpful to be abe to say "this", "thank you", and number quantities but it is not a requirment! Until you gain comfortability with basic Thai you will commmunicate your food desires by pointing and holding up fingers to show quanity. Don't forget to smile! Thai people love when you love their food so make sure to seem especially appreciative and excited!

Most of the street vendors around me sell various meats on sticks. The grills are going at all hours. There is no difference in cuisine between meals in Thailand. Hotdogs can be for breakfast and an omelette can be for dinner. Most of these meats come with a side of sticky rice (so good!) and make for a handheld on the go meal. They range from 5-10 baht per stick.

Thai omelettes are cooked in a lot of oil but are a good way to get some veggies in. They are around 20 baht off the street (which is less than $1 USD) and served with rice. Eating an omelette with rice sounded strange at first but now I don’t think I can ever have it another way.

When you come across a food cart with a giant deep pot I need you to stop immediately. You are at a noodle cart. Prepare to have your taste buds explode with the noodle soup goodness. The broth is peanuty and flavorful. You can add in pork or chicken if you wish. I top mine with all the spicy peppers, bean sprouts, and peanuts.

Pad Thai: it’s delicious, it’s cheap (20-30 baht) , it comes wrapped in paper so you can eat it on the go. I know it’s the obvious “basic” answer here but it’s well known for a reason. Eat all the pad thai you can get, I am not judging you and am next in line for some as well.

Have you ever eaten soup out of a bag in 95 degrees? It’s not weird, it’s Thailand and it’s delicious! Tom Yum Goong is the red spicy seafood classic Thailand soup. Like Pad Thai it is pretty well known in America as well but it is so much better when it’s the real deal.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff: snacks and desserts. Snacks and desserts are confusing because they’re basically all referred to as “kanom” or “kanom Thai” which means “snack” or “Thai snack”. So I am going to take some liberties here and give them names of my own.

Thai Fluff Sandwich/Taco with Egg Yolk Confetti: I have not tried this but it seems to be a big hit so let me know if you do.

Fried Coconut Pancake: green correlates with coconut when it comes to Thai desserts. These little fried pancakes are so delicious when warm from a cart at a night market.

Fried Dough: the funnel cake of Thailand.

Mini Rice Cakes with Icing Drizzle (Quaker Oats who???)

Coconut Jelly Squares with Salted Coconut Flakes: the texture and appearance are kind of strange at first but the taste makes up for all of that.

Mango Sticky Rice (what did humankind do to deserve something so delicious) :  Fresh soft mango on top of sticky rice with coconut milk drizzle- drool.

Fruit: The fruit carts are my favorite. The fruit here is so fresh. There are so many fruits we don’t have in America (heres looking at you, yellow watermelon) and I suggest trying them all.

You’re in Thailand. Try it all. My favorite part of meals with Thai people is they order dishes to be eaten family style. Usually they are so excited for you to try all the dishes they will order a wide variety. I will say it again: try them all! This is how I learn what to order at restaurants and off the street. Thai people love this opportunity to share their culture with you- enjoy it!