Thai Street Food
Thailand boasts one of the most important street food traditions in the world. Wherever you are strolling in a market, near a bus station or along a street, food will be everywhere and always around you, because the Thai people like enjoy food everywhere, every hour of the day and night and they do it with true passion. Street food in Thailand brings together a wide range of ready-to-eat meals, soups, meat or seafood snacks, exotic fruits and local drinks sold by vendors at food stalls situated on every street side or market through the whole country. It's amazing the endless variety of dishes, culinary combinations and flavours that the Thai's street food offers. Tastes are simple, harmonious and well mixed with each other, perhaps some of them unusually. Enjoying Thai street food at an open air market or in a floating market is a popular itinerary for visitors, as it offers a glance of Thai culinary tradition. The small stalls placed inside the markets sell all kinds of street food, including skewers of shrimp or squid cooked on small barbecues, shellfish and grilled fish, beef and pork snacks on sticks, other sellers offer noodle soups, sweet snacks and desserts. There is scarcely a dish of traditional Thai cuisine that is not sold by a street vendor in a market somewhere in Thailand. The culture of open-air market is rooted in the Thai people, as where there is a market there is food to eat. Most food markets in Thailand are large open air halls with permanent stalls that operate as a collection of street hawkers. Some vendors sell only pre-cooked foods, others make food to order. The dishes can be quickly cooked on small gas stoves or charcoal barbecues. Some small stalls specialize in one or two dishes, while the most supplied offer a nearly complete menu comparable to that of restaurants. These large stalls have their own set of tables and chairs, provide a limited service and resemble the food courts at shopping malls. Here, for a small sum of baht you can gorge yourself on everything in sight.
The most popular dishes of traditional Thai cuisine that you will find at food stalls on the street side or in the open-air markets are:
Som Tam Thai is a very spicy papaya salad made with lime juice, fish sauce, fresh chili, tamarind juice, sugar cane paste, garlic, dried shrimp, tomatoes, peanuts, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. The ingredients are tossed into mortar and pounded with a wooden pestle named Krok. Som Tam is eaten together Khao Niao, the sticky rice.
Pad Thai Kung is made with medium sized rice noodles that are stir-fried in a wok with shrimp or prawns, tofu, tamarind pulp, fish sauce, green onions, palm sugar, soybeans, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper, fish sauce and lime juice. A scrambled egg mixed into the noodles completes the dish and ensures deliciousness. Pad Thai Kung is great to eat with a squeeze of lime, chopped roast peanuts, a spoon of palm sugar, chili flakes and vinegar.
Tom Yam Kung is a Thai masterpiece soup characterised by its distinct spicy and sour flavours. A paste called Nam Prik Pao is prepared as a base of dish, to which water and other herbs and meat are added. The soup is teeming with shrimp or prawns, mushrooms, tomatoes and other fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chopped coriander leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed chili peppers.
Khao Pad is a variety of stir-fried rice typical of central Thai cuisine. It normally contains steamed jasmine rice, a meat or seafood protein, onions, garlic and sometimes tomatoes. The seasonings, including soy sauce, palm sugar, salt, some chili sauce or fresh chili pepper, and fish sauce are stir-fried together with the other ingredients into a wok. A scrambled egg mixed into the rice completes the dish. The fried rice is then plated and served with a squeeze of lime, slices of cucumber, tomato slices, sprigs of green onion and coriander.
Pad Kra Pao Moo Kai Dow is a dish of steamed rice and minced pork topped with a fried egg, kai dow. The minced pork is stir fried into a hot wok with garlic, small green vegetables like green beans, a little sugar, lots of fresh chilli, soy sauce, and lots of holy basil leaves that gives the dish its characteristic flavour.
Plah Tod Rad Prik is a simply whole fish fried until crispy and then topped with a spicy dipping sauce made with fresh chilli, garlic and shallot finely chopped, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, vegetable oil, tamarind paste and coriander leaves.
Plah Kapong Neung Manao is a steamed fish submerged into a spicy lime juice. Once steamed on high heat for 10-12 minutes, the fish is usually served in a metal fish-shaped pan above a flame or bed of charcoal to keep it steaming.
Larb Moo is a famous spicy salad with minced pork. The minced pork is boiled and then mixed into a wok with lime juice, fish sauce, shallots or onions, mint leaves, lots of fresh chilies and ground toasted rice.
Khao Man Gai is one of the most common and simple dishes of Thai cuisine. This Thai version of Hainanese chicken and rice is rarely included on the menus of most restaurants, though it is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand.
Khao Man Gai is one of the most common and simple dishes of Thai cuisine. This Thai version of Hainanese chicken and rice is rarely included on the menus of most restaurants, though it is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand. The chicken is boiled in a large pot at medium heat with water, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger and pandan leaves until the fat completely renders out. The fat that emerges must be saved. Boiled chicken is chopped onto a plate of steamed jasmine rice made from the fatty chicken stock and topped with coriander leaves.
Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng, also known as Stir-Fried Morning Glory, is one of the most popular vegetable dishes in Thailand. The dish has only one main ingredient, the Phak Bung Jin, which is the Chinese water spinach best known as morning glory. The vegetable is lightly stir-fried in a wok with yellow soybean paste, garlic, oyster sauce, light chicken broth, fish sauce and chilies on a high heat to remain crispy and retain its fresh flavor.