Thai Language Blog

Thai Street Food Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Culture, Travel

Bangkok made headlines recently when it was announced that the city would be banning street food. Citing hygiene and order as their primary concerns, the ruling military government has started to drive street food vendors away. There has been quite a backlash against this policy, from both locals and tourists alike. Indeed, the street food of Bangkok (and Thailand in general) is such an important and unique part of the culture. To honor the street food culture, here are some of the most common dishes that you can enjoy on plastic stools in a crowded Bangkok street.

Pad Thai

ผัดไทย pàt tai

Pad Thai

Perhaps the most famous Thai dish.

Let’s start out with what’s probably the most famous Thai dish around the world – Pad Thai. You may be able to find it in restaurants all across the globe, but there’s no comparison to the real thing. Wherever you are in Thailand, you’re never too far away from a tasty plate of Pad Thai.

Pad See Ew

ผัดซีอิ๊ว pàt-see-íw

Image by Ernesto Andrade from

This is a fried noodle dish that uses wide, thin rice noodles. The other key ingredients are bok choy, soy sauce, egg, and maybe some thinly sliced meat.

Papaya Salad

ส้มตำ sôm dtam

Image by Jessica Spengler from

Som tam is a classic Thai street food dish. It consists of shredded green papaya, dried shrimps, tomatoes, peanuts, beans, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, and lots of chilies. It covers all five tastes in one dish. Just be warned – it can be so spicy it makes you cry. See how it’s made on a Thai street in this short video:

Chicken/Pork Skewers

ไก่/หมูปิ้ง gài/mŏo bpîng

Image by bob walker from

When it comes to Thai food on the go, it’s hard to beat these tasty meat-sticks. They’re usually served with a dipping sauce that varies from vendor to vendor, along with a bit of sticky rice.

Sour Isaan Sausage

ไส้กรอกอีสาน sâi gròk ee săan

Image by Ron Dollete from

The northeast corner of Thailand known as Isaan is famous for its fermented sausages, which are a popular street food snack all throughout the country. They’re usually served with raw green chillies on the side along with some cabbage, garlic, and maybe ginger.

Fried Rice

ข้าวผัด kâao pàt

Image by jeffreyw from

Simple, cheap, and tasty, you can’t go wrong with some good ole’ fried rice. There are many different varieties, and it’s typically served with some garnishes like cucumber, green onion, and tomato.

Thai Omelette

ไข่เจียว kài jieow

Image by from

You’ll never look at an omelette the same again after trying one Thai style. It’s usually made with a bit of minced pork and soy sauce and then fried. Learn how to make one yourself by following this recipe from Thai food expert Mark Wiens:

Mango with Sticky Rice

ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง kâao nĭeow má-mûang

Image by Charles Haynes from

Whatever you eat, be sure to save some room for a classic Thai street food dessert. Adding coconut milk to the sticky rice and then topping it with mango makes for a delectable treat that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Let’s hope that these hard-working vendors who feed the masses are not forced to close up shop and that the government realizes how important street food is to the city. For more on the mouth-watering street food in Bangkok, check out this great video:

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.