There are lots of Thai dishes that we all love, but some of our favourites are often found being sold by street vendors which you can find in nearly every soi. “Street Food” as it is often referred to, is popular not only amongst Thais but amongst foreigners too. It represents excellent value for money, is reasonably healthy (if you don’t add too much sugar!) and really tasty. Obviously, you can also find Shawarma kebabs, fruit and sushi, but we shall focus purely on authentic Thai food.
Somtam is made from green papaya, tomato and long beans and usually seasoned with fish sauce lime, garlic and sugar. Frequently, you will see peanuts and small shrimps added, making this one of the most popular dishes in Thailand and accompaniment for many other dishes. It is one of the most commonly sold street foods with stall be easy to recognise thanks to the large pestle and mortar, which is used to mix the ingredients together. Somtam, when served to Thai tastes, can be incredibly spicy so you may want to ask for it “mai ped” to suit your tastes.
Some Thais prefer Somtam Plu Pla, but this has a rather pungent aroma which tends to put most foreigners off, and they stick to the original.
2. Phad Thai
Phad Thai is often one of the dishes that are most closely associated with Thailand and is a noodle-based dish. It is usually made with prawns, although it is not uncommon for chicken or pork to be used. It is easy and quick to make and is traditionally flavoured with shallots, garlic, chillies and fish sauce and is served with fresh bean sprouts. It is a relatively mild dish, although the spice can be increased to suit tastes. It is served hot and should be eaten the same.
3. BBQ Food
Again, it is quite common to see barbeques on almost all street corners. While BBQ food is a vague description, with so many different types of food being barbequed, it is the best description. The most common forms are chicken satay, pork skewers, fish, other kinds of seafood such as prawns, chickens and ribs. Offal is often frequently cooked as well and proves to be very popular with Thais although it is maybe less appealing to western tastes!
Noodles are pretty much a staple in the Thai diet, so there is little surprise that street vendors often sell them. One common variant is Radna, a thick noodle that is usually served with chicken, pork or prawns. Another option is Kwei Tiao which is a form of noodle soup that can include quite literally anything! Almost all noodle dishes are seasoned with fish sauce, chillies, dry chillies, Thai vinegar and sugar. This dish should be eaten warm.
Bugs aren’t just sold as a novelty for tourists; they are a popular food for Thais and a great source of protein. The most commonly sold varieties include grasshoppers, red ants, silkworms, and if you are lucky, scorpions. They are deep-fried and can be eaten hot or cold, and if you can overcome the appearance, and knowing what they are, you will probably find them delicious.