Top 10 Street Foods in Bangkok
Bangkok is a city of contrasts. Walk down chaotic street and take a turn only to find a peaceful temple. Enjoy a pleasant conversation with a store owner one moment and then be harassed by men badgering you to buy counterfeit watches the next. It’s no surprise people tend to either love or hate Bangkok. One thing you will almost always hear people speak well of here is the price and quality of street foods in Bangkok. Though I could spend a year or more combing through all the street stalls, and tiny restaurants here are my top 10 street foods to try in Bangkok.
And the rumors about the street foods in Bangkok being cheap are true! Everything on this list is in the $1-3 range!
Som Tam Thai (Spicy Papaya Salad)
This signature Thai dish is sweet, sour, a little spicy and refreshing. Papaya, carrot, green beans, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes and other ingredients are served thinly sliced. The dressing tastes of ginger, lime, chili pepper and something sweet. For a snack or meal on a hot day, this $2-3 dish is exactly the perfect option to order.
Tom Yum Kung Soup
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This $2-3 spicy and sour soup is generally served with seafood but can also be ordered with chicken or pork. Rich with coconut milk, lemongrass, kafir lime, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro and chillis, this might quickly become your favorite soup in the world. One of the most memorable dishes I enjoyed in Bangkok.
Mango with Sticky Rice
One of the simplest dishes I came across was also one that blew my mind. The combination of mango served over sticky rice is perfection. It’s difficult to explain how and why this goes together so well but it’s just one of those beautiful culinary combinations like meat & cheese, garlic & butter, or tomatoes & basil. A magical dish and a must-try for anyone who visits Thailand. It goes for about $1
The obvious choice and one of the best deals around. For $2-$3 this can be found at nearly every food cart gathering and restaurant in sight. Simple, common and very good. Make sure to add some Thai basil, chili oil, and a squeeze of lime for added complexity.
Pad Si Eiew
Stir fry noodles, vegetables and a selection of meat or tofu. The sauce is heavier with sesame and soy sauce than it is with pad thai and makes for a richer and more savory dish. It can also be ordered with mixed vegetables only and makes a nice alternative to all the meat options, or for vegetarians. One of my favorite dishes with or without meat. Usually about $3.
Pad-pak-bung-fai-daeng (Stir Fried Morning Glory)
A local type of cabbage that grows primarily in swamps (it’s better than it sounds) is another great local option. With the flavor of bok choy and the appearance of an oversized green onion, these are a local veggie favorite. Great as a side dish, served over rice as a meal, and as a vegetarian selection. Usually around $1-3.
Fresh Fruits & Juices
Make sure to try some of the local fresh fruit for around $1. Specifically, the green papayas. They’re unripe and have the texture of an apple but a flavor profile that is well beyond that. Sweet, tart and delicious. Served with optional chili flakes and salt for added flavor. Make sure the fruit is peeled before you eat it so that it doesn’t inadvertently make you sick. Even if it’s washed, remember the Thai water is not drinkable.
Fresh juices include pomegranate, pineapple, orange and more. Usually in the $1-2 range, many are squeezed fresh in front of you and are well worth it. Delicious for a snack or on a hot day.
Grilled Meat Skewers
Chicken and pork skewers are the most common but whole fish, beef and other seafood are available as well. Grilled right in front of you, these are some of the juiciest and flavorful skewers you may ever have. An incredible deal starting around $1-2.
Make with condensed milk, sugar and sometimes a tiny bit of sweet corn, these are found all over the city. They’re made in tiny little circular grills. Great for breakfast or a snack later in the day, they usually run between $1-$2 for a half dozen or so.
A culinary masterpiece these are not, but they do serve a purpose.
If it’s very late (or very early) and no street food vendors or late-night restaurants can be found, convenience stores offer these tasty little sandwiches for less than $1 each called toasties. They’re good as a last resort option, especially if you’ve had too much to drink or have to head to the airport or bus and need something to eat. Order two, they’re small and most likely you’ll surely want another.
Though I surely have more street food to explore in Bangkok, this is a good list to get started.
READ MORE: 30 Best Vietnam Street Foods & Local Dishes
For a comprehensive list from the expert of street foods in Bangkok, check out Mark Wiens over at EatingThaiFood.com.
Enjoy your street foods in Bangkok!
Chiyo! (Cheers in Thai)
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