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One of the highlights of Thailand is the cuisine, and there’s no better way to experience Thai food than eating from street stalls.
Street stalls, you say?
Yes. There’s no other way.
Here’s why you should eat street food in Thailand:
1. It’s safe. Quit worrying about hygiene. It’s fine. Eat from a popular place — the stall will be constantly churning out fresh food.
2. It’s cheap. Got a dollar (30 baht)? You’ve got a meal. You might pay 50 baht at the very most for a dish, but you’re probably getting ripped off if that’s the case.
3. It’s an experience. You point at a random dish, having no idea what it is, a hesitant look on your face. The old lady behind the cart smiles widely and gestures to a nearby stool. You sit, and she brings you a plate of the most delicious pork you’ve ever tasted. You still have no idea what it is, exactly, but you plan to dub it “awesome pork thing” on your blog. And you get to do this every day.
4. It’s surprising. Every city has specialties, every region has specialties, and some of them might surprise you. In Pai, you’ll find Chinese Muslim dishes! And who knew Chiang Mai teenagers were crazy about fried quail eggs, anyway?
5. It’s delicious. It could be something as simple as a green curry. And even though you’re pulling chicken bones out of your mouth, something you’d never do at home, this dish is somehow so salty, so sour, so sweet, and so deliciously spicy — and you’re in tears. Not spicy tears. Joyful tears.
Maybe it’s the emotions of travel with a smidgen of jet lag, but I’ve cried over my food here in Thailand.
Get yourself to a street stall. You won’t regret it.
26 thoughts on “Why You Should Eat Street Food in Thailand”
Oh I love Thai street food so much! I even wrote a number of food blogs about it! You should check mine out while you’re in Thailand!
Yummy, Yummy I’ve got bugs and more in my belly.
Street food is the best! Who needs health department when you have word of mouth 🙂 Can’t wait to go back home (Indonesia) in a month so I can gorge myself on street food (and hopefully my stomah has not been americanized too much).
I don’t think I’ll dare not knowing what I eat though… just in case I accidentally point to goats’ testie or something.
Mouth = watering.
Street food in Asia is one of my dreams. We’ll get there!
Agree 100%, there is no other way to eat in Thailand!
Agree 100%. People often stress over food poisoning, but with the quick turnover and packed street stalls, you’re far less likely to get sick eating street food than at a less popular restaurant. Please tell me you tried Pumpkin Lady when you were in Bangkok?
Sign me up for fried quail eggs!
Mmmmm, I dream of the day where I can eat falafel from a street vendor in Istanbul. That will be heaven.
falafel in istanbul… ? its not from there and isnt a traditional turkish food.any place doing falafel I consider not a good restaurant. (I’m turkish) in istanbul you will want roast chesnuts (in the winter) ,pretzels, hot tea, pide and lamachun!
This post is the reason I keep going back to Asia – I just have to once you are addicted to street food you are addicted for life!
Yet another reason to return to Thailand!
Thai street food is my fav! Only way to go 😉
Sounds delicious! I can understand the crying – a whole new taste sensation can make you cry. I do hope to try some when I come for a visit. Bring home some recipes! Mama
I am a huge fan of street food. I ate a lot of street food in Mexico and it was always so cheap and delicious. Here in Argentina I’m a little disappointed with the options, but they do have some amazing candied nuts that smell so amazing I want to cry when I walk past, forcing myself not to buy any. I think my issue in Thailand is I wouldn’t speak the language and I don’t eat any mammals, so the point and smile trick might not be as safe for me. Keep experimenting!
That’s the weird thing about Argentina. At first the food is amazing, and after a few days, you’re like, “Huh. Steak again. Or maybe pasta.”
I never liked the food here. I am sure that has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t eat red meat and I love vegetables, which are not too readily available here. Empanadas and medialunas are really the only Argentine foods that I enjoy, but they get old (and fatten you up!).
wherever i travel i prefer street food, there is something about it that makes it so delicious
With street food you see them cook it in front of you, if it’s dodgy you know right then and there. You can’t say the same about restaurant food.
I love street food too. I miss phad thai!
I absolutely agree after trying pad thai at a posh beachside resto and then the same dish at a street stall the day after. Same delicious spicy goodness but about 210THB difference! I can eat street food for every meal!
I am Thai and I’m very happy to hear that you guys like Thai food 😀
I live in Pattaya, the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand, and the street food are just sumptuous! Before, I lived in Chiang Mai and the street food there are just plenty. Especially on the rear street of Chiang Mai University(I was a student there), around 4pm and until 1am(5pm – 7pm is the prime time!) you will find many food stands there. It’s a long walk of food stands because on the sidewalk is covered with food stands and people like there is some event going on EVERDAY!!
Another impressive place to go for in Chiang Mai is Walking Street. 2 – 3 Kilometers in total(and may be more because it keeps extending every year). Not only you will find lots of delicious food and beverage stands there, you will also find lots of cool goods for shopping too.
There are a lot of delicious food stand spots here in Pattaya and I think I may need more replies to do. I wish I could see all of you guys here and show you around only for a TASTE TOUR!
Welcome to Thailand and have a terrific trip of eateries!
I just discovered your blog, Kate and I love it! I miss Thai street food so much and would always laugh when fellow travellers refused to eat it, choosing empty restaurants instead. I’m just planning my next adventure around South America and your website is giving me so much confidence and excitement. Thanks!
Andrea, I’m so happy to hear it! I miss Thai street food as well. I had a Panang curry in Barcelona a few months back and I nearly cried, it was so good. So I had mango sticky rice for dessert and nearly cried again…
I eat street food from my neighborhood pretty much every day while I live in Thailand. It is great food, for really cheap but I was really surprised the first time I went to a normal, nicer Thai restuarnt. The food is SOO much better! Don’t get me wrong, I love some cow man gai or pork noodle soup next to the 7/ll and I eat it most days but a really good Thai restaurant in Thailand is a nice treat too!
A very good point, Elizabeth!
I totally agree about Thai streetfood. I’m there 3 months a year and my fave meals are all <$1. On my walk home I always pass by a ton of noodle and mystery food stands. I'm a bit shy about just plonking down and pointing so I usually go to what I know — but it's always good. And my favorite, the pad gaprau gai with the egg — all for 30 baht with rice. Nothing's better!