As with every list of best Thai street food, it’s a lot to do with personal preference, and when it comes to personal preference I just want big flavours to punch me in the face. Lots of heat, lots of spice, and I’m a sucker for a proper fiery curry. I also have a penchant for regional eats, like Isaan and Lanna cuisine, and who can say no to a proper charcoal-flamed barbecue? Lots of food, nibble food, just a whole lot of food and flavours to play with at the table.
Anyway, here I share my top 50 Thai street food list, the addictive and inexpensive Thai food I eat on a regular basis throughout Thailand. And while many people think of street food as being some specific food set, it’s really more to do with locale. It is the food that is more commonly sold on streets and at food markets rather than in restaurants and resorts. Anyway, here are our top 50 Thai street food ranked and rated.
01. Laab Moo Spicy Pork Salad (ลาบหมู/น้ำตก)
A fresh and fiery pork salad synonymous with Isaan and neighbouring Laos. The signature ‘Laab’ flavours include red chillies, spring onion, shallot, and ground/toasted rice. Complimented with fresh sweet basil, cabbage and long beans, and perfect with sticky rice. There are two common Laab options with either minced pork or grilled pork neck (Namtok) as pictured below.
02. Khao Soi Curry Noodle Soup (ข้าวซอย)
Synonymous with Northern Thailand, Khao Soi is a rich and fiery coconut curry noodle soup served with chewy egg noodles and topped with crispy fried noodles. Commonly cooked with chicken legs but great any meat (beef please). Complimented with optional additions of pickled cabbage, a cut of lime, and chopped shallots. Khao Soi Below is at Khao Soi Mae Sai (Michelin Bib Gourmand) in Chiang Mai.
03. Pla Pao Grilled Freshwater Fish (ปลาเผา)
Freshwater tilapia (Pla Nin) caked with salt and stuffed with lemongrass before grilling over flaming charcoals. Pla Pao is served with fresh herbs including sweet basil leaves and coriander, fresh Khanom Jeen rice noodles, and a fiery Nam Jim Pla Pao chilli sauce. All ingredients are wrapped together and eaten in fresh cabbage leaves.
04. Pad Kaprao Holy Basil Stir Fry (กระเพราหมูกรอบ)
A simple stir-fry of chillies, garlic, oyster sauce and soy sauce makes the ‘Pad Kaprao’ holy basil one of the common street foods in Thailand for local workers and lunch breaks. While Moo Saap minced pork is a favourite it is hard to beat ‘Moo Grob’ crispy pork belly (Kaprao Moo Grob). The holy basil stir fry is best served topped with a fried egg and on rice.
05. Som Tam Papaya Salad (ส้มตำ)
Thailand’s National Dish? Som Tam is a somewhat extreme salad combining the sweet, sour, salty and hot signatures of Thai street food. Pounded together in a mortar and pestle, ingredients include (in order) garlic, chilli, and peanuts, then tomato, tamarind juice, lime and fish sauce, before the crunchy green papaya at the end. Som Tam Thai for beginners, and Som Tam Pla Ra, using pickled fish sauce, for the more adventurous. Here for our guide to the best Som Tam salad.
06. Mala Kebab Skewers (หมาล่า)
A newcomer to Thai street food and likely one of the fastest growing. Better known for its origins in Sichuan, China, Mala is a spice blend of fiery red chillies, cumin and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. The common kebabs are pork skewers but grills often offer all sorts with various cuts/meats, as well as vegetarian-friendly options with morning glory, oringi mushrooms, and okra. Below Mala is pictured at the original Funky Grill Chiang Mai.
07. Sai Oua Northern Sausage (ไส้อั่ว)
This serious pork sausage fuses together the iconic hot and sour ‘Tom Yum’ flavours with a blend of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, and dry chillies. Sai Oua is commonly known as Chiang Mai Sausage or herbal sausages and is a staple in Northern Thai street food and Lanna cuisine. Eat with Nam Prik Noom and Nam Prik Ong chilli dips, and sticky rice. Some of Thailand’s best Sai Oua is found at Mae Hia Market in Chiang Mai.
08. Durian the Stinky Fruit (ทุเรียน)
Both feared and revered in equal measure, the infamous stinky fruit of Southeast Asia is quite probably the most expensive street food in Thailand costing roughly 120 Baht per kilo. But it is no doubt worth it as this sweet, creamy custardy fruit is seriously addictive. In Thailand, the most common durian is ‘Mong Thong’ (Golden Pillow).
09. Kuay Teow Tom Yum Noodle Soup (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ)
Tom Yum Noodle Soup fuses a traditional pork bone stock broth with a Prik Pao toasted chilli jam, ground peanuts and other spices to create a noodle soup packed with fiery flavours (not the same as the more famous Tom Yum Soup). The noodle soups comes best with chewy ‘Bah Mee’ egg noodles is commonly served with pork balls.
10. Yum Kor Moo Yang Pork Neck Salad (ยำคอหมูย่าง)
‘Yum’ is one of Thailand’s staple salads combining hot/sweet/sour flavours with fresh and vibrant ingredients including tomato, coriander and peanuts. There are famous variations of this salad including Yum Talay with fresh seafood, or Yum Moo Yor with steamed pork sausage, but it’s hard to beat the Isaan version with ‘Kor Moo Yang’ grilled pork neck. Eat with sticky rice.
11. Laeng Sour Pork Bone Soup (เล้ง)
This sour pork bone soup brings the same fiery chilli heat expected of Thai cuisine, only with a focus on the sour flavours and the fresh aromatic herbs. Laeng is a take on Isaan’s staple ‘Tom Saep’ soup and is a newcomer to Thai street food when made increasingly popular when sold as ‘mountains’ at Thailand’s more contemporary night markets.
12. Gai Yang Grilled Chicken (ไก่ย่าง)
Whole chickens in a rich soy marinade grilled over flaming hot charcoals. As with many Thai foods Gai Yang is perfected with a dipping sauce where it’s commonly served with a fiery hot and sour Nam Jim Jaew chilli dip. There are also regional variations including the southern Gai Yang Kamin using a marinade spiced with turmeric.
13. Roti Flatbread with Curry (โรตีกับแกงกระหรี่)
Golden griddled flat bread served with a rich and spicy Indian-inspired curry on the side. This Thai street food is not overly common outside of Muslim areas in Thailand where it is commonly served as beef or occasionally mutton curry (Muslims do not eat pork). While Curry with Roti can hard to find, it is definitely worth tracking down. Pictured below at Roti Taew Nam (Michelin Bib Gourmand) in Phuket Old Town.
14. Mamuang Khao Niao Mango Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง)
Fresh sweet mango cut and quartered and served on a bed of sticky rice soaked in coconut milk. Perfected with a sprinkling of roasted mungbeans and a drizzling of a sweet and salty coconut syrup. Mango Sticky Rice would be the most popular sweet dessert in Thailand. Also, keep an eye out for Durian Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Durian).
15. Saigrok Isaan Sausages (ไส้กรอกอีสาน)
Fermented pork sausage fuses a mix of pork, garlic, and sticky rice to give a uniquely sour flavour. Isaan sausages are commonly sold at roadside grills and where they are sold along with fresh green chillies and cuts of ginger to be eaten wrapped in Galam cabbage for an extreme explosion of flavours. Here for our full guide to Isaan sausages.
16. Moo Ping Pork Skewers (หมูปิ้ง)
Tasty, fatty bite-sized pieces of pork, marinated in a mix of garlic, palm sugar, soy and oyster, and skewered before barbecuing for a sticky delicious coating. Moo Ping is one of Thailand’s favourite breakfasts where it is sold at street food grills along with sticky rice to eat on the go. So delightful we named our cat after it.
17. Khao Man Gai Chicken Rice (ข้าวมันไก่)
Often compared to Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken Rice, Khao Man Gai takes a whole chicken, boils it with fresh herbs and flavourings, and then serves it on rice that has been cooked in its own chicken stock. Perfecting this ridiculously flavoursome shop house staple is a garlic, ginger and soy bean chilli dip (Nam Jim Khao Man Gai) and a side bowl of chicken stock soup.
18. Khao Mok Gai Chicken Biryani (ข้าวหมกไก่)
This southern, Muslim interpretation of Thai chicken rice brings some additional spice with a mix of curry powder and turmeric cooked with the chicken and yellow rice. Aka Thai biryani this southern Thai street food staple comes served with a hot and tangy Thai green chilli dip and a soup stock on the side. Below pictured at Pier 21 Food court at Terminal 21 mall in Bangkok.
19. Yen Tafo Pink Noodle Soup (เย็นตาโฟ)
A sharp and tangy noodle soup, with a distinct pink colour from the mixing of fermented red soybean. Traditionally Yen Tafo uses a simple pork stock broth and comes served with thick Sen Yai rice noodles. They also commonly come with pork balls, shrimp wonton dumplings, and are topped with crispy-fried wonton casing.
20. Sate Moo Pork Satay Skewers (หมูสะเต๊ะ)
Delightful bite-sized meat pieces (typically pork), marinated and skewered, and grilled over flaming hot charcoals. Served with a creamy, spiced peanut sauce and cool cuts of cucumber. While best known for their more southern origins in Malaysia and Indonesia, satay occasionally makes an appearance as street food in Thailand.
21. Yum Naem Sour Pork Salad (ยำแหนม)
On its own, Naem, a sour fermented sausage, probably deserves a place on this list alone. But ultimately it is so much better in a spicy yum salad, mixed together with crispy curried fried rice balls and fresh rice noodles, and the signature fresh flavours of a ‘yum’ salad which includes shallots, coriander, lime juice and chilli flakes.
22. Kuay Teow Reau Boat Noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ)
Originally sold between boats on Bangkok’s river canals (khlongs), this hugely popular noodle dish consists of simple rice noodles in a brown soup stock made from a mix of pork stock and pig’s blood. Typically comes with pork balls, fresh sweet basil and greens, and maybe a side dish of ‘kap moo‘ crispy pork rinds.
23. Khanom Jeep Dumplings (ขนมจีบ)
Minced pork, prawn, or both, wrapped in a wonton casing and steamed in portable steaming trays. These delightful bite-sized dumplings are similar to the better-known shumai of Chinese dim sum fame (Siu Mai). At Thai street food however Khanom Jeeb are served with a soy/vinegar sauce and sprinkled with crispy fried garlic. Eat with a wooden stick skewer.
24. Beer Chang (เบียร์ช้าง)
There are three big beers in Thailand, Leo would be the local favourite, Singha, a premium beer, is popular with the tourists, then there is Chang. Personally, I find Chang to be the better of the three, partly because it’s widely available in busier street food areas, and it is commonly sold in ‘towers’ at Thailand’s night markets.
25. Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao Noodle Soup (ขนมจีนน้ำเงี้ยว)
Affectionately known as Thai Spagbol, this staple street food in Northern Thailand serves fresh ‘Khanom Jeen’ rice noodles in a spicy tomato-infused broth known as ‘Nam Ngiao’. Typically this noodle soup comes with minced pork, pork bone, and generous chunks of jellified pig’s blood. Mix with additional options of beansprouts, pickled cabbage, and toasted red chillies.
26. Pad Thai Stir Fry Noodles (ผัดไทย)
This Chinese-inspired staple of Thai street food is a simple noodle stir-fry with eggs, beansprouts, and your choice of meat or tofu. Pad Thai is commonly served with fresh beansprouts and scallions and for some added heat/zing with optional additions of chilli flakes, a fresh cut of lime, and a sprinkle of ground peanuts. Best found on Khaosarn Road.
27. Kana Moo Grob Crispy Pork Belly Stir Fry (คะน้าหมูกรอบ)
Similar to the famous Pad Kaprao (holy basil stir-fry) this simple garlic, chilli, oyster sauce, and soy sauce combination replaces the holy basil of Pad Kaprao with crunchy Kana Chinese Broccoli. This street food staple is most commonly made with crispy ‘Moo Grob’ pork belly and is best served on rice with a crispy fried egg on top.
28. Kha Moo Braised Pork Leg (ข้าวขาหมู)
A whole leg of a pig braised in a Thai-inspired five-spice, served on rice, along with pickled cabbage and a rich fiery chilli dip on the side. As with most slow-cooked dishes Kha Moo is best found at shophouses and food courts, pre-prepared and served over rice. It is also famous from our Isaan base in Nang Rong, Buriram.
29. Sangsom Rum (แสงโสม)
Outdoor eating is often paired with outdoor drinking, and food is commonly served alongside booze and banter. One of the more popular alcohols at street food in Thailand is Sangsom, a Thai rum, with a bucket of ice and mixers of fizzy water and Pepsi/coke. Occasional alternatives include Blend 285 whisky and Hong Thong which is a sweeter rum popular in the more rural regions.
30. Pla Muk Yang Grilled Squid (ปลาหมึกย่าง)
Roadside barbecues are a common sight at Thai street food, with all sorts of meats and treats grilled over flaming hot charcoals. A huge favourite however is grilled squid which is served with a fiery ‘Nam Jim Talay’ chilli sauce and a wooden skewer to eat on the go. Grilled squid is hugely famous in Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat Road) pictured below at Guy Gao Grilled Squid.
31. Rad Na Noodles in Gravy (ราดหน้า)
A bit like a noodle soup, only the noodles are thick ‘Sen Yai’ noodles and the soup is thick like a gravy. Although there’s also often the crispy ‘Mee Grob’ fried egg noodle alternative. Rad Na is normally made with a pork gravy with pork meat and it is common to most food courts in Thailand.
32. Hoi Tod Crispy Mussel Pancake (หอยทอด)
Often found side-by-side with Pad Thai, and making a more adventurous alternative to Thailand’s ‘National Dish’, ‘Hoi Tod’ is a simple griddled mussel pancake flavoured with garlic, scallions, and beansprouts. An occasional, fancier alternative swaps the mussels with oysters in Hoi Tod. Eat with a sweet and fiery chilli sauce.
33. Ped Yang Roast Duck (เป็ดย่าง)
Roast duck is a common Sino-Thai street food made from whole ducks glazed in a rich red marinade in large metal kilns. There are typically two options for Ped Yang, offered either in a noodle soup (Kuay Teow Ped) or served on rice (Khao Na Ped) with optional drizzles of a rich and sticky soy sauce. Check our post on snooping in a duck shop.
34. Itim Maprao Coconut Ice-Cream (ไอติมมะพร้าว)
One of the more popular desserts at Thai street food, coconut ice cream is served in coconut shells, topped with cuts of coconut flesh and delightful additions of nuts, jelly pieces, mung beans, fruit or sweetcorn. There are two generally two coconut alternatives here with either young ripe coconuts (Maprao Awn) or the sweeter roasted coconut (Maprao Pao).
35. Khao Rad Gaeng Curry Canteens (ข้าวราดแกง)
Khao Rad Gaeng‘s pre-made ‘curry canteens’ are the ideal place for a diverse mix of Thai foods at next-to-nothing prices. Generally, dishes will range from curries to stir-fries with some of the more common dishes including red and green curries, Palo 5-spice Pork Belly soup, and… the list is really endless. Choose 1-2 options served with rice.
36. Banana Roti (โรตีกล้วย)
Griddled roti flatbreads wrapped over banana and egg with the optional topping of sugar and condensed milk. Synonymous with backpackers and the ‘Banana Pancake Trails’ of Southeast Asia, this Indian-inspired sweet flatbread is one of the most common dessert carts in Thailand and is sold mostly by southern/Muslim street food vendors.
37. Tod Man Pla Fish Cakes (ทอดมันปลากราย)
Often seen sizzling in giant woks of boiling oil on Thailand’s roadsides, Thai fish cakes consist of a pounded fish paste mixed with a red curry paste and more than not speckles of green long-bean (not green chilli). Typically they come served with cucumber and a sweet/fiery chilli and are eaten on the go with a wooden skewer.
38. Mamuang Shake Mango Smoothie (มะม่วงปั่น)
In Thailand, a ‘shake’ is more or less a smoothie, made from a mix of fresh fruit, ice, and a syrup sweetener for those with a sweet tooth (or ask for ‘mai wan’ if without). Of course the list of potential fruit shakes is as long as the list of fruit in Thailand but likely the most common/best fruit shake is the mango shake.
39. Kai Jeow Omelette (ไข่เจียว)
Unlike the traditional western-style omelette, Thai Kai Jeow is cooked at very high heats with the egg mix floating and bubbling on the surface of the boiling wok of oil, creating a fluffier, crispy fried texture. Often Thai omelettes come with a meat filling such as minced pork or prawn and are served on rice with a rich and fiery Thai chilli dip.
40. Pad Pong Kari Curry Powder Stir Fry (ผัดผงกระหรี่)
A simple stir-fry option at the made-to-order street food stalls, Pad Kari, or ‘curry powder stir-fry’, brings together a standard curry powder with egg/milk and cuts of celery for crunch. Normally Pad Kari can be ordered with any meat, but it is probably most famous in Chinatown/Chinese where it is commonly served with steamed crab ‘Poo Pad Pong Kari’.
41. Pak Tan Ko Deep Fried Donuts (ปลาท่องโก๋)
Made from a thick dough of flour, yeast, and baking soda, deep fried in giant woks, Pa Thong Ko is a favourite breakfast snack in Thailand. Also known as Thai doughnuts, but with more obvious Chinese influences (Youtiao), Pa Thong Ko is commonly served with either a dip of condensed milk or pandan custard, and is often paired with a hot soy milk drink. The creative Pa Thong Ko pictured is from Patongo Ko Neng in Chiang Mai.
42. Moo Katiem Crispy Garlic Stir Fry (หมูกระเทียม)
One of the simplest staples at the made-to-order Thai street food stalls is Moo Katiem, a pork and garlic stir fry, flavoured with soy sauce and oyster sauce, and flash-fried until the garlic is well-toasted and crispy. As with most made-to-order stir-fries Moo Katiem is best topped with a crispy fried egg.
43. Kafe Yen Iced Coffee (กาแฟเย็น)
Best found in morning hours in Thailand, Kafe Yen typically mixes a strong blend of instant coffee with powdered milk and an unhealthy dose of condensed milk, then poured over ice in a plastic cup. Iced coffee stalls are a cheap alternative to the multiple chain brands found throughout the country. Just don’t venture too far from a bathroom.
44. Kai Tod Fried Chicken (ไก่ทอด)
Fried chicken is likely one of the most popular foods worldwide, and the same goes for Thailand where it is a hugely popular street food served with a fiery chilli dip and sticky rice. There are also regional variations including a favourite from the southern city called Kai Tod Hat Yai. Fried chicken is also great chopped up and tossed in a ‘Yum’ salad (Yum Gai Tod).
45. Jim Jum Hot Pot (จิ้มจุ่ม)
An unlikely street food, yet commonly found served in mini clay hot pots at Isaan-style grills. Jim Jum is a DIY hot pot soup fusing the signature Thai flavours of shallot, lemongrass, garlic, chilli and sweet basil. Eaters cook their own ingredients with meats, veg, vermicelli glass noodles… before serving it with a hot, sour, tangy ‘Nam Jim Jim Jum’ chilli sauce.
46. Yaa Dong Street Liquor (ยาดอง)
Yaa Dong is an infused alcohol made from potent local Lao Khao rice whiskey and ‘health enhancing’ herbs. Once sold by pharmacies as a medicine, and is rumoured to enhance libido and boost strength, but most people just drink it to get drunk. Yaa Dong is served with a salt and chilli dip (Prik Glua) and sour, unripe mango (Mamuang Priew) to dip.
47. Khao Pad Fried Rice (ข้าวผัด)
A staple in most Asian cuisines, fried rice in Thailand takes a handful of fresh ingredients including well-chopped tomato, onion and kana broccoli and tosses it with a simple egg fried rice. Perfect with a shake of pepper and a squeeze of lime. Khao Pad can be ordered with any available meat and is another cheap and filling option at the made-to-order street food stalls in Thailand.
48. Salapao Moo Daeng Roast Pork Dumplings (ซาลาเปาหมูแดง)
With obvious Chinese influences, Salapao is the Thai interpretation of the famous baozi buns of China. At Thai street food they commonly come with various types of meat and even sweet custard fillings, but it’s hard to beat the classic Salapao Moo Daeng with barbecued red pork filling similar again to China’s Char Siu Pork.
49. Polomai Fresh Fruit (ผลไม้)
Bringing vibrant colours to the streets of Thailand are the bright, exotic fresh fruits chilling in ice-filled street food carts. While Thailand has a wide array of exciting fruits, some of the more common include pineapple, watermelon, guava and maybe papayas. For a sour kick, there’s also unripe mango served with a ‘Prik Glua’ salt and chilli dip.
50. Kuay Chap Rolled Noodle Soup (ก๋วยจั๊บ)
Kuay Chap is a Chinese-inspired noodle soup consisting of thick rice noodles rolled into tubes and a rich and peppery pork stock soup. Kuay chap is commonly served with crispy ‘Moo Grob’ pork belly, a spiced pork sausage, and, if lucky, half a boiled egg. The Kuay Chap pictured is from Nai Ek Rolled Noodle, a Michelin Bib Gourmand shop house in Bangkok Chinatown.