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Bangkok street food – 12 of the most popular dishes – and 12 of the best places in Bangkok to find and eat them.

Bangkok street food is known worldwide, not only Bangkok is known as the outdoor dining capital of Asia for good reason, the street food you will find in Bangkok is nothing less than jaw-dropping, taste bud-popping and downright bloody amazing.

If you visit this fascinating city, your tour will not be complete if you don’t sit down on a plastic tool under the wide open sky and chow down on Thai street food on a makeshift table and experience an explosion of exciting flavors. Whether you’re a certified foodie or not.
What makes Thai cuisine special is the blend of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.  The spiciness of Thai dishes is balanced out by sweet basil, cilantro, lemongrass, galingale, roots, and grasses.
Bangkok street food can be found in various places: roadside carts, in market stalls, or in shops. Normally, the freshest and cleanest ones are in the busy areas.
We give you a guide to the most popular—and the best—street food in Bangkok, and the 12 best places to find them.

 

1.    Grilled fish (Pla Pao)

Bangkok Street Food Grilled fish (Pla Pao)Image courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Often served with a lime juice-based chili sauce, these barbecued fish are mostly sold in the early evenings. The three most common grilled fish are pla nin (tilapia), pla duk dam (catfish), and snakehead fish (pla duk yan).
The fish is gutted, stuffed with lemongrass and pandanus leaves, and then covered with rock salt and flour, then barbecued over charcoal. Just eat the meat and skip the skin.

2.    Fried Rice (Khao Pad)

This is one of the quintessential Thai dishes that you can buy in the streets of Bangkok. This very tasty fried rice is prepared with Jasmine rice, which is a long-grain variety of fragrant rice, and contains meat—either shrimp, chicken, or crab—egg, garlic, Chinese broccoli, and onions, sometimes tomatoes are added.
The fried rice is almost always served with a lime wedge on the side and chiles mixed with fish sauce.

3.    Grilled chicken/pork skewers (Gai/Moo Bing)

This delectable marinated street food threaded into a bamboo skewer is often served with a dipping sauce—with dried chili dipping sauce as the most common.
The marinade paste is a combo of cilantro roots, garlic, and peppercorn, making it slightly spicy. They are grilled with coconut milk to preserve the rich, succulent flavors.

4.    Noodles with shrimp (Pad Thai Kung)

Bangkok Street Food Noodles with shrimp (Pad Thai Kung)

Image courtesy of www.seriouseats.com

Pad Thai is Thailand’s signature dish and when it comes to finding it on your Bangkok street food tour it should take just moments to locate a vendor. This stir-fried rice noodle dish is made with soaked dried rice noodles, chopped tofu, eggs, which are flavored with dried shrimp, garlic, red chili pepper, tamarind pulp, and palm sugar. The dish is often served with a lime wedge and chopped roasted peanuts.
Other Pad Thai dishes may contain other vegetables, like coriander leaves, banana flowers, turnips, and bean sprouts.

5.    Papaya salad (Som Tam)

Bangkok Street Food Papaya salad (Som Tam)

Image courtesy of rasamalaysia.com

Made up of shredded unripe green papayas, shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, peanuts, fish sauce, palm sugar, and chili peppers, Papaya salad is a staple hot Bangkok street food. One taste is a succulent blend of crispy, sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Other versions also include Thai eggplant and long beans.
Papaya salad is not only delicious, but it’s also a very healthy dish! Thais love their Som Tam spicy, but you can specifically ask for a milder version if spicy food is not your thing.

6.    Sour Issan sausage (Sai Krok Isaan)

Bangkok Street Food Sour Issan sausage (Sai Krok Isaan)

Image courtesy shesimmers.com

A combo of fatty pork, salt, rice, and a few spices, this Northeastern Thai sausage is fermented for several days and then grilled, producing that distinctly delicious sour taste, its a staple of Bangkok street food offerings.
Pork lovers will, of course, delight in these sausages, which can be eaten as it is or accompanied with fresh chili or cabbage or sliced ginger—or lime and peanuts. Utterly mouth-watering.

7.    Steamed chicken on rice (Khao Mun Gai)

Bangkok Street Food Steamed chicken on rice (Khao Mun Gai)

Image courtesy of www.seriouseats.com

A Thai comfort food, it’s more like the Hainanese chicken and rice meal. Pieces of juicy and tender, boiled capon meat served with aromatic jasmine rice cooked in rich chicken broth with a sauce made with garlic, ginger, and chili. Then it’s topped with a garnish of cucumber slices and fresh cilantro leaves. Not every vendor offering street food in Bangkok will offer this, but if you find it it’s delicious.

8.    Stir-fried pork with holy basil (Pad krapao moo)

Bangkok Street Food Stir-fried pork with holy basil (Pad krapao moo)

Image courtesy of www.youtube.com

This Bangkok street food classic could also be stir-fried chicken, squid, chicken, or even tofu, instead of pork—but what makes the difference is the distinctly peppery taste of holy basil.  Substitute the holy basil with another kind of basil, like sweet basil, and it definitely won’t taste the same.
Thin strips of meat, or ground meat, with oyster sauce and soy sauce, and a dash of palm sugar.

9.    Oyster Omelette (hoy tod)

Bangkok Street Food Oyster Omelette (hoy tod)

Image courtesy of migrationology.com

It’s more like a heavenly crispy pancake—meant to convert the omelet haters. This unique, crunchy Thai delight is a succulent combination of oysters, eggs, green onions, chili, coriander, and a starchy solution.
The starchy solution is poured onto a flat grill, then fresh oysters are thrown into the center, then topped with an egg, then more starch is mixed in until it’s golden brown to crispy perfection. Then it’s chopped up with garlic, chill, then decorated with coriander (or cilantro), and bean sprouts. Then get a taste of this amazing treat—either plain or dipped in sweet chili sauce. Drool!!!!

10.    Hor Mok Pla (Thai curry fish custard)

Bangkok Street Food Hor Mok Pla (Thai curry fish custard)

Image courtesy of www.123rf.com

The Thai curry fish custard. It’s a multi-layered treat: the first layer is shredded Thai cabbage or basil; the second layer is chunks of fish; the third layer is curried fish custard; the fourth layer is coconut cream, then for the final touch, the pile is topped with slivers of red pepper and kaffir lime leaves in a banana-lead shaped like a bowl. And then steamed.
The curried fish custard is comprised of lemongrass, chili, galangal, garlic, lime leaves, coriander, shrimp paste, and some fish. These ingredients are blended into a mousse-like texture.

11.   Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niew Ma Muang)

Bangkok Street Food Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niew Ma Muang) Image courtesy of www.scene4.com

A highly popular Thai dessert, it’s also a world favorite. Fresh mango combined with coconut sticky rice, drizzled with coconut syrup and sprinkled with mung beans or sesame seeds.
To produce this delectable dessert, the rice is first soaked in water, then left overnight, then steamed and sweetened with coconut milk and sugar, then served with fresh mangoes. It is best served warm

12.    Thai crepe (Khanom Buang)

Bangkok Street Food Thai crepe (Khanom Buang)

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

A popular snack, the khanom bueang is a 600-year-old thin, crispy, and sweet street food. They look like tacos, but the thin taco shell is made not with corn flour but rice flour, pigeon pea flour, egg yolks, palm sugar and a tinsy bit of salt. The taco is first stuffed with coconut cream, then shredded coconut and chopped scallions.
Other versions have additional stuffed ingredients like slivers of egg, sweetened pork, chopped onions, and coriander leaves.

AND HERE ARE 12 OF THE BEST PLACES TO SCOUT FOR THE BEST BANGKOK STREET FOOD:

Take note that on Mondays, it’s Cleaning Day in Bangkok, so most of the street food vendors take the day off, so do not be surprised if, on this day, they are pretty scarce.
Although street food abounds everywhere in Bangkok, there are specific special places to go to to fully enjoy the gastronomical adventure the city has to offer:

1. CHINATOWN (YAOWARAT)

Known to be the birthplace of street food in Thailand, Yaowarat is a famous place for serious street food. Just follow the aroma of delectable treats. The evenings are more recommended for your street food tour.
HOW TO GET THERE: By taxi, or you can take the MRT to Hua Lamphong station, and then walk to Chinatown from there (10 mins) or take a tuk-tuk/motorbike.

2. CHAROEN KRUNG ROAD AND BANGRAK

Just passing through the road, the smell of Thai cuisine will hold you captive and hypnotized, you will soon find yourself in cloud 9 chowing on quality street food.
HOW TO GET THERE:  BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station and then just walk. Alternatively, by taxi.

3. PETCHABURI SOI 5

Also best in the evenings, after 5 in the afternoon, where the street comes alive with the sight and smell of Thai street food hidden in the midst of Siam and Victory Monument shopping malls.
HOW TO GET THERE:  BTS Skytrain to Ratchathewi Station, Exit #3, then cross over Petchaburi Road, make a left on Petchaburi, and walk until you get to Soi 5, and then turn right.

4. SUKHUMVIT 38

Among the high-end stuff, Sukhumvit is your affordable Bangkok street food sanctuary. The area is bursting with Thai food delights from 5 in the afternoon until 2 in the morning and is frequented by foodie tourists. Sukhumvit 38 has a reputation as a hub for the best street food in the entire Bangkok.
HOW TO GET THERE: BTS Skytrain to Thong Lo station, Exit #4, walk down the steps, then make an immediate U-turn, and voila!

5. WANG LANG MARKET BY SIRIRAJ HOSPITAL

Snack lovers, this is your paradise! Located across the Chao Phraya river is Wang Lang Market, which is teeming with mouth-watering street food snacks. Make sure you just sample a bit of everything so you can have more space in your tummy for more!
And emerge from Wang La Market, right across the Siriaj Hospital, then there’s an onslaught of street food vendors selling every popular delight. That’s why we said that you have to make room for more food to consume in the area.
HOW TO GET THERE: BTS to Saphan Taksin, then a public boat to Wang Lang Pier.

6. RATCHAWAT AND SRIYAN MARKETS

Two old and traditional markets, Ratchawat and Sriyan, hidden in the midst of the tranquil district of Dusit. Aside from street foods, the area has a lot of great restaurants, too. The best time to enjoy your Thai food in this area is during lunchtime.
HOW TO GET THERE:  By taxi. You can opt to take the BTS Skytrain, get off at Victory Monument, but it’s still a long way, like an approximately 10-minute taxi ride.

7. TALAT PHLU

Lining the train tracks from Wang Wian Yai is a traditional Bangkok street food area with exemplary Thai street food. So high quality and renowned for their expert preparation of the heavenly street food, one ancient snack cart has even received heaps of awards. Notice the plaques surrounding this cart. Definitely a must-visit.
This is also where you can get some of the best sticky rice durians on the planet!
HOW TO GET THERE: BTS Skytrain to Talat Phlu Station, then walk for about 10 minutes. By then you’ll be ravenous for great food.

8. VICTORY MONUMENT

As one of Bangkok’s main transportation areas, it’s naturally crowded with commuters, jam-packed with buses, and so you will inevitably find loads of street food here. Busy places are synonymous to bountiful street food in Bangkok.
And encompassing this giant roundabout, on adjacent tiny streets, and in neighboring areas, you’ll discover more stalls and restaurants and boat noodle restos, offering great street food.
Tasty food is abundant from 10 in the morning up to 8 in the evening.
HOW TO GET THERE: BTS Skytrain to Victory Monument Station, Exit #3 or #4.

9. RANGNAM

Nighttime is the best place to hit Rangnam’s street food stalls, including the famous rib noodles stall, which will haunt yours for weeks. At the end of Rangnam, directly opposite the seafood restaurant Kung Seafood, is where you can spot the terrific isan street food stall. Dangerously delicious. Lunch or dinner, you pick.
HOW TO GET THERE:  BTS Skytrain to Victory Monument Station, Exit #2, walk straight ahead, then turn left on Rangnam.

10. THA PRA CHAN/BANGLAMPHU

These old Bangkok street food districts offer the best of classic and old-school street food and where there’s an abundance of the sweet treat Khanum Buang, or Thai crepes.
Along Tha Pra Chan, next to the river, more street food carts and stalls tempt you to get lost in heavenly food choices.
HOW TO GET THERE: taxi or boat from Saphan Taksin to Phra Arthit Pier or Tha Pra Chan Pier.

11. BANG KHUN NONG

Another area to find seriously high-quality Thai street food. The place is riddled with stalls, carts, and restaurants serving awesome street food. Located in the Thonburi area, this is also where you can find one of the best Thai isan restaurants, Som Tam Boo Maa.
HOW TO GET THERE: By taxi. It’s near the Taling Chan floating market.

12. SOI ARI

Another famous hub for excellent Thai dishes, the area is a blend of trendy dining spots and street food carts.
If you’re a vegetarian, then you’d be delighted to find this cozy diner called Baan Suan Pai. It’s one of the best places to get awesomely healthy and scrumptious Thai dishes.
HOW TO GET THERE: BTS Skytrain, get off at Ari Station, Exit #3, then turn left onto Phahon Yothin Soi 7.

Helpful articles and blog posts on some of  Bangkok’s best street food.

We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles we think are worth reading for more reviews and information on some of Bangkok’s best street food!

Interested to check out more of Bangkok’s markets? You can check our guide: Bangkok Markets Guide – Bangkok’s Best Markets 2016
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Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.