Breakfast Curries and Rice Noodle Desserts: Thailand’s Best Kept Street Food Secrets
We all have our go-to Thai food orders. For some, it’s spicy Pad Ka-Prao, for others a soupy Khai Soi; some are green curry devotees while others seldom sway from their favourite fiery red; some may extol Pad Thai while others venerate Larb. The ease—and frequency—with which we order at Thai spots might lead us to believe we have a handle on the cuisine. (So much so that the New York Times concluded last year that we’re living in “a golden age for Thai food.”) But while global trade has made all the necessary ingredients available, the article also found that the Thai food available in western cities was sweeter and less spicy than authentic staples. So despite all those new Thai places on your street, or the favoured spot you declare as “the best in the city!”, Thailand still seems like your best bet for real Thai food, including plenty of dishes you might never have encountered before.
While we have plenty of advice for Thai cooking, 80% of people living in Bangkok admitted they eat at street food stalls more often than restaurants, so we’ve rounded up the best places to find the most popular street food options the country has to offer.
Despite its remote location, the island of Phuket has a diverse range of street food options. Branch out from the room service options at your resort, and head to the stalls and carts lining the streets where you can pick up fresh fruit, Thai pancakes, meatballs in hot sauce, coconut ice cream or a huge range of international cuisines like dim sum dumplings and steamed buns.
For authenticity, head to Bangkok’s Old Town, where hole-in-the-wall restaurants and food stands serve up both contemporary specialty and classic dishes that are hard to find anywhere else. Popular with both Thai locals and tourists, khao gang is a curry rice dish with your choice of meat popular for breakfast and lunch.
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If you’re looking for something other than traditional Thai street food, head to Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowarat. Considered to be the birthplace of street food in Thailand, you can find satay (skewered meat cooked over an open flame usually with onions, chillies, cucumbers and a sweet sauce), Thai-style sukiyaki (a glass noodle stir fry) or kanompang sankaya (toasted custard bread with your choice of fillings).
To satiate your sweet tooth, Bangkok has some of the most famous lod chong on the sub-continent. Popular in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and found throughout Thailand, the snack is made from green rice flour jelly noodles, sugar and coconut milk commonly served with shaved ice, ice cream, jackfruit, durian or red bean.